Rayana Burns, a member of the Washington High School Class of 2020, has been named the winner of the 52nd-annual Clarence A. Christman Award.
The award has been presented each year since 1969. It began as the Record-Herald Award and was soon named in honor of Mr. Christman.
The award, consisting of a commemorative plaque and a $500 scholarship, goes to a local high school senior who best exemplifies excellence in the areas of athletics, academics and leadership.
The award is being sponsored by the Record-Herald and Court House & St. Catherine’s Manor.
Burns was selected for the award from a large group of 30 nominees. There were 17 nominees from Miami Trace High School, 11 from Washington High School, and, for the first time, Fayette Christian School seniors were included and there were two nominees from there.
“Once again this year, there was an amazing group of local student-athletes nominated for this prestigious award,” said Ryan Carter, Record-Herald Editor. “However, we felt that Rayana stood out from the pack due to her incredible athletic and academic achievements. Congratulations to Rayana, her family and the Washington Court House City School District.”
Burns excelled in every sport in which she competed over the last four years.
She played basketball for three years, volleyball for three years, ran on the cross country team for one year and was a four-year member of the Washington track team. Over the years, Burns earned 10 varsity letters.
She was a member of the Lady Lion basketball team that won just the second District championship in the program’s history in 2019. She was injured in the District title game and was able to come back during the track season and qualify to State in the 400-meter dash.
Burns leaves Washington as the school record-holder in the 200-meter dash, the 400-meter dash and the high jump.
She qualified to State in track and field for three years in a total of eight events, placing third as a sophomore in the 400-meter dash in 57.08 and third in the high jump (also in 2018) with a height of 5’ 4”.
“I’m very thankful and grateful to the Record-Herald and St. Catherine’s for the opportunity to be recognized for this award and to receive it,” Burns said. “I’m grateful for my parents and my family and everyone who has pushed me to be the person I am. I’m grateful for God for everything I’m capable and able to do.
“I just want to congratulate everyone else that was nominated for the award,” Burns said. “There are a lot of different athletes who have a lot of potential and great things to do in their future careers and what they’ve done in high school.
“It’s really sad that, with everything going on, that the season was cut short,” Burns said. “But, I just want to congratulate everyone else.”
“Rayana is a phenomenal athlete that has excelled on all the athletic fields she has ever competed on,” Washington High School head volleyball coach Ashley DeAtley said. “I was introduced to her during her sophomore year and I quickly was able to see what kind of athlete was joining my team as was evident through her phenomenal work ethic.”
Burns, the daughter of Richard and Shawna Burns, was also nominated for the Christman Award by Washington head track coach, Louis Reid.
“Rayana has been an excellent leader for our track team both on and off the track,” Reid said. “She leads both vocally by pushing the other athletes to do their best and while at the same time making sure she gives her best effort so others will follow. Her work ethic and leadership skills have allowed her to compete at the highest level, competing at the State track meet three times in eight events and being All-State in two events.
“While excelling on the track, Rayana has excelled in the classroom as well, carrying a high (grade point average),” Reid said. “She has worked with many of our youth programs in all the sports she has competed for Washington High School, being a positive role model for future Blue Lion athletes. The passion she brought every day to practice made it a joy to coach Rayana these past four years during the season.”
On Nov. 15, 2019, Burns signed a letter of intent to continue her education and her track and field career at the University of Dayton.