Senior volleyball player Maddie Hiers was eating lunch in the cafeteria Friday with the rest of her peers when the fire alarm went off, and in came the cameras and familiar faces.
Cathy and Brian Haugen, along with members from the All Sports Association surprised Maddie Friday, presenting her as the ninth Taylor Haugen Trophy winner.
The award's named after the Niceville freshman who passed away from an on-field football injury in 2008 at just 15-years-old.
This trophy and scholarship's a way for Brian and Cathy Haugen to memorilize their son.
The Taylor Haugen Trophy is a competitive one to win, with just one nominee per high school in Bay, Walton and Okaloosa Counties.
Maddie's the third female to win this award and the first from South Walton.
Brian Haugen says Maddie was chosen for her "sheer strength of character and her wonderful integrity", embodying Taylor's characteristics of selflessness, leadership and an air of charisma and confidence.
"I was sitting next to all of my friends at lunch, and I was outside and the basketball team was like, 'Maddie, what's going on,' and I had no idea because I'm usually the one people turn to about what's going on," Maddie Hiers, South Walton senior said. "So I saw everyone walk in and my friend Emma was like, 'Trust me, it's fine,' and my heart rate shot up to probably an unhealthy number. I was freaking out. I was drinking water, trying to figure out what I was going to say already, because I saw them walk in and I was like oh my goodness. It was a big deal. I mean, I tried to keep myself contained but it was really exciting."
"It's very hard on Kathy and I to go through the process, but it's also very refreshing for us because we're keeping T's legacy alive and we're adding family members," Brian Haugen, Taylor's father/Foundation Vice President said. "So for that part of it we're very grateful."
"I think it was cooler to win this award because it wasn't something that I could work for, and fill out an application and make myself sound better than anyone else that applied for it," Hiers said. "It was something that the people around me took notice to which made it that much special because it wasn't something where I could go out and compete to make myself look like the better applicant. It was something that just was kind of earned through what I've been doing and what people noticed. So it made it really neat."
"Maddie just stood out seperately from the rest, and above the rest only because of her sheer strength of character and her wonderful integrity. But I tell you, it's a tough award to win and we often say that we're not sure that Taylor Haugen could win the Taylor Haugen Trophy these days."
Hiers plans on going to Florida State where she'll major in marketing and child development. She says this scholarship will help.