FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark) - Tera Bradham, a member of the University of Arkansas swimming and diving program, was named a semifinalist for the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup. The award honors collegiate and professional athletes who best display character, teamwork and citizenship. Bradham was among 31 semifinalists to be honored.
"Being a semifinalist for the Wooden Cup is the biggest honor I've ever received because you can get academic honors and you can get athletic honors, but something that encompasses your character and who you are means more to me than anything," Bradham said.
Bradham's semifinalist honor marks the second consecutive year that an Arkansas student-athlete has been recognized by the Wooden Cup. Last year, Nathanael Franks won the Cup for his performances on and off the track.
Bradham was chosen to be nominated for the award by the University of Arkansas' Office of Student-Athlete Scholarships & Awards Committee out of nearly 50 other Razorback student-athletes who met the minimum criteria for the award.
To complete her application for the award, Bradham submitted several different components, including an essay detailing her struggle to recover from arm surgery, an impressive résumé of more than 30 different community service events she has attended, and three letters of recommendation from coaches.
"I worked with (Career Development Coordinator) Alison (Nail) a lot," Bradham said. "We worked on it for probably a month or two. She had me write that essay that's five pages or so. Then, we had a list. I tried to remember, and couldn't even begin to remember, all of the individual community service events that I had done. Then, I had three recommendations."
Each nominee was asked to demonstrate athletic ability, including training behavior and relationships with teammates and coaches, and contributions to the campus or community. For Bradham, her resilience to continue rehabilitation and training in the wake of recovering from surgery was met with her dedication to serving the community.
"Being involved in things outside of yourself means so much to me," Bradham said. "I worked last year a lot with Horses for Healing. It's in Bentonville, which is a 40-minute drive. A lot of times I would catch myself thinking, 'Oh my gosh, I have so much due. I can't take four hours out of my day every week to go help.' Then I would get there and I would see a girl who took thirty minutes to get on a horse. I thought, 'Okay, I'm going to be more productive with the few hours I have left in my day than I ever would have been before I had gone there.' It's such a perspective shift. I think that's the most essential thing for me. By serving others, it's what makes life worth living."