Pell City High School seniors Breanna Wyatt and Joseph Lacy have spent countless hours together in a boat. They’ve been friends since sixth grade, but as sophomores in high school they decided to become fishing partners on the school team. Since then, they’ve fished along the trails in Alabama, all the while deciding what would come next in life.
Turns out, they’ll keep sharing a boat.
Breanna and Joseph, joined by friends and family at the Pell City Center for Education and the Performing Arts on Tuesday, May 5, both signed scholarships to fish competitively for Faulkner University in Montgomery beginning this fall.
For Joseph, it’s a step toward a dream he’s had most of his life. He wants to be a professional fisherman, and he said he’s been working toward it since he caught his first fish at 5 years old.
Breanna, though, came into the sport later. Heading into their 10th-grade years, Joseph asked her to help him prepare to move up in the world of competitive fishing — to train for college and professional contests. She agreed.
“I ended up enjoying it and decided to make a career of it,” Breanna said.
Competitive fishing is a male-dominated sport, which is what makes Breanna’s scholarship all the more significant. She and Joseph the first two students from Pell City High to accept scholarships for fishing, but Breanna is one of the few females in the history of the country who has signed to fish as the college level, said her coach, Curtis Gossett.
“I’m going to have a lot of pressure on me as the only girl on high school team and now at the college level,” Breanna said. “I’m just going to continue to do my best and make sure I’m always working toward my goal.”
That goal, she said, is to someday act as a fishing tournament director. She said she’d like to work for a national organization like Bassmasters. Joseph said he’d pursue a business degree in college and intents to one day open a bait shop and guide service.
Both students received additional scholarship funding. At the signing, Faulkner representative Lane Kelly said Joseph was awarded a Dean’s Scholarship, and Breanna interviewed and was chosen for a Presidential Scholarship.
“You’re not only working hard when you’re out fishing,” Kelly told the students. “You’re working hard in the classroom, and that’s wonderful.”