Pair of Seniors Honored as Top Graduating Athletes During Annual WHS Awards Event
WATERTOWN — Two Watertown High School seniors were honored Thursday evening as the top graduating athletes and recipients of the William I. Graf Award. Tatum Overton was selected as the women’s recipient, and Deante Hall was named as the men’s honoree this year.
The William I. Graf Award was created in 1954 by the Italian-American Civic Association to honor Mr. Graf’s leadership and civic engagement in the community. The Northern New York Community Foundation was selected to help continue the Graf family legacy by administering the fund in perpetuity and raising awareness of the award for students who strive to earn the prestigious honor.
Mr. Graf was a multi-sport coach and athletic director at Watertown High School. Graf Award honorees are expected to have participated in at least two or more varsity sports in their senior year and demonstrate exceptional character and sportsmanship, discipline, fair play, training, athletic ability, and academics.
Tatum Overton is a standout three-sport athlete, competing for five years in varsity soccer and varsity lacrosse, and for three years as a varsity basketball player. She is a New York State Public High School Athletic Association Scholar Athlete.
As a Cyclones soccer player, she was a five-year starter; a team captain her sophomore, junior, and senior years; five-time Frontier League All-Star and a Section 3 First Team All-Star during her sophomore, junior, and senior years. She was also named to the All-North First Team in her sophomore, junior, and senior years. Tatum set a new career scoring record for girls’ soccer at Watertown, scoring 63 goals during her career, breaking a previous record of 55 despite a shortened playing season during her junior year. In 2021, she was named the Watertown Savings Bank/7 News North Country Athlete of the Week.
On the varsity lacrosse team, she was a five-year starter, advancing to the varsity squad in eighth grade, and team captain her senior year.
As a varsity Watertown basketball player, Tatum was a three-year starter, team captain in her junior and senior years, and a senior year Frontier League All-Star. She also played one year of junior varsity volleyball.
Off the athletic field, Tatum is a top-ranked honor student and two-year National Honor Society member who also served as a member of the Student Council as Class President for four years. She participated in numerous extracurricular clubs and activities, including Audio Visual Club, the Youth Advisory Council, and service on the student-teacher committee Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). Tatum also volunteered with the Backpack Program, the annual Angel Tree, and Homecoming Committee.
Tatum will attend Nazareth College, Rochester, this fall where she plans to study political science and business administration and has committed to play Division III women’s soccer. She aspires to work in politics or a related field in the North Country. Tatum is the daughter of Leslie and Travis Overton, Watertown.
Deante Hall is an accomplished two-sport athlete, competing for four years in varsity track and field and three years in varsity football. On the Cyclones’ track team, he was a Frontier League Champion and All-Star who competed in the long jump and the 4-by-100 relay. He also competed in Sectionals and State Qualifiers in long jump and the 4-by-100 and 4-by-400 relays.
Deante was named to the All-State football team in 2019 and 2021 as a running back and was Team Captain in 2021. In 2019 and 2021, he was named to the All-North Team and the Section X First Team as a running back. He was twice named the Watertown Savings Bank/7 News North Country Athlete of the Week, once in 2019 and again in 2021.
Off the athletic field, Deante has participated in numerous extracurricular clubs and activities, including Prom Committee, Yearbook and Yearbook Club, FFA, and service on the student-teacher committee Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) as a reading buddy.
Deante will attend SUNY Cortland this fall where he plans to major in physical education. He aspires to become a physical education teacher and coach. He is the son of Kristy and Michael Hall, Watertown.
More than 100 graduating high school seniors have received the Graf Award. Watertown High School’s athletics staff selects the recipients each year, and the Italian American Civic Association presents the award.
Following the death of Mr. Graf’s son, William A. Graf, in 2013, the family decided to honor him by funding a $1,000 financial award for recipients. William A. Graf, who also embodied the traits of the award, attended Watertown High School, and played several varsity sports coached by his father, William I.
About the Northern New York Community Foundation
Since 1929, the Northern New York Community Foundation has invested in improving and enriching the quality of life for all in communities across Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties.
Through partnerships with businesses and organizations, charitable foundations, and generous families and individual donors, the Community Foundation awards grants and scholarships from an endowment and collection of funds that benefit the region. Its commitment to donors helps individuals achieve their charitable objectives now and for generations to come by preserving and honoring legacies of community philanthropy while inspiring others.
The Community Foundation is a resource for local charitable organizations, donors, professional advisors and nonprofit organizations. It also works to bring people together at its permanent home in the Northern New York Philanthropy Center to discuss challenges our communities face and find creative solutions that strengthen the region and make it a great place to live, work, and play.