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By JON WILSON
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 25, 2001
ST. PETERSBURG -- Twelve-year-old Tracy Johnson was named the Police Athletic League's PAL of the Year at last week's 41st annual awards banquet.
Police Chief Goliath Davis presented the award. He described Johnson as "almost the tiniest bundle in the pool" when he first knew her as a member of the Lake Vista Recreation Center swim team.
Johnson maintains a 3.8 GPA at Southside Fundamental School. She continues to swim, is a consistent honor roll or principal's list designee, plays the piano and serves as a youth usher and in the youth choir at church.
This year's breakfast banquet was held at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club. PAL board member Ed Schatzman also announced that executive director Jerry Babcock will retire in April after 14 years as the organization's executive director. Babcock has 30 years total with the St. Petersburg Police Department.
PAL of the Year is one of several awards given each year to outstanding participants in PAL programs.
Other honorees were Jade Franklin, a first-grader at Pasadena Elementary, PAL student of the year; Tom Sweeney, 15-year-old Dixie Hollins High School freshman, Boy Scout of the year; and Corinne Bulla, volunteer of the year.
Officer Tyler Butler, assistant Scoutmaster of PAL Troop 312, was honored for outstanding service and leadership, and the PAL corporate award went to JMC Communities.
The PAL started in St. Petersburg in 1960. It offers after-school activities for youngsters 6 through 17. Its headquarters are at 1450 16th St. N.