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The Ledger Recognizes LCS Student Knox Gibson as a 2020 Silver Garland Winner

Lakeland Christian School

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Lakeland Christian School

One of the core values of LCS is the belief that we are partnering with parents in the Christian education of their children. We believe that mutual respect, communication and involvement by all partners is essential for success of our mission.LCS is a school. We believe that being a Christian school and being a top-flight academic institution should not be mutually exclusive. On the contrary, we take the mandate of Colossians 3:23 that calls us to strive to be the best. We provide a variety of rigorous, engaging, academic and co-curricular activities that enable students to identify and express the full range of their unique gifts and abilities.

The Ledger Article by: Kimberly C. Moore, posted May 2. 2020

The Ledger’s Silver Garland Awards are given annually to the high school seniors who display exemplary community service in 11 categories.

The Ledger’s Silver Garland Awards are given annually to the high school seniors who display exemplary community service in 11 categories. The program, in its 44th year, isn’t a talent search or an academic competition, but a nod to students who show leadership in contributing to the community.

ATHLETICS: Knox Daxton Gibson, Lakeland Christian School

For Knox Daxton Gibson, soccer isn’t just a game he plays, it’s the sport that has taught him the greatest of life’s lessons: Every person has value.

The Lakeland Christian School senior class president, soccer team captain, homecoming king and National Honor Society member spent many Saturdays as a TOPS Soccer field buddy for Nolan, a Lakeland Christian schoolmate who is autistic.

“He is always full of energy and life every Saturday,” Gibson said. “His attitude of joy and excitement spreads to everyone else on the field, especially me. My relationship with him has revealed to me how much joy can impact others. I strive to affect others at school, soccer, and all areas of my life with an attitude of lighthearted joy that reflects the happiness that Nolan always displays.”

The judges who selected Gibson as this year’s Athletics Silver Garland Award recipient said his community involvement was staggering, not just in the number of hours (240), but in his genuine spirit.

“This nominee gains great personal strength and knowledge by learning that kindness can redefine a person’s world,” they said.

Gibson’s parents are Dax and Michelle Gibson.

His involvement with TOPS Soccer propelled him to become its director last year and continue through this school year. TOPS Soccer serves athletes with a range of challenges, from autism to multiple sclerosis. Field buddies work with each athlete to help them with their skills and games. As director, he helps lead up to 50 athletes and buddies at each session by organizing drills while maintaining a positive working environment.

“It has required me to put both my hands and feet into service by becoming emotionally and physically present with the kids each Saturday,” Gibson said. “Although it is easier at times to serve through donating money, food or buying gifts, the personal investment of time and energy into the lives of these children has proven to be an act of service that I plan to continue. My small sacrifice of time on the weekends not only makes an impact on the athletes but also gives me life as well.”

In addition to TOPS Soccer, he was also captain of the LCS Vikings soccer team and served as a referee for youth games a local soccer club, the Lakeland Tropics Futbol Club. That gave him the chance to train with and occasionally play for a semi-pro team, the Florida Tropics.

He took his athletic skills international through mission trips to Nicaragua with his church, Christ Community Church (where he also serves as a janitor). In the Central American country, he led soccer camps for underprivileged children in 2016 and 2017. Closer to home, he also participated in the Jugo Bonito summer soccer camp for underprivileged children in Polk County at Crystal Lake Middle School and led vacation Bible school outdoor games at Christ Community each summer. He also served at Noah’s Ark, which is a community for adults that are mentally handicapped. And, finally, he led activities for four years for foster children within Polk Counties Heartland for Kids while their parents enjoyed a date night.

“Knox is an outstanding young man and community representative,” said Darren Copeland, LCS high school assistant principal in his nomination letter. “Knox is a gifted athlete, student and leader who has a heart for others and uses these gifts in the area of service. Knox demonstrates tremendous character and a high level of integrity. He has exhibited a positive attitude along with a very social and friendly demeanor. Knox’s cooperative spirit has earned him the respect of his peers and adults alike.”

Gibson said he plans to continue volunteering throughout his college years.

“No matter where I go to college, I know I will be able to find a local program that I can serve,” Gibson said. “My time with the TOPS community did not only end with service hours gained, but it gifted me with people that I was able to love and enjoy and relationships that I hope to continue.”