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Scholar-Athlete Award Scholarship Recipients Announced In Class A

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Feb. 21 – The Michigan High School Athletic Association has selected 13 student-athletes from Class A member schools to receive scholarships through its Scholar-Athlete Award program.

Farm Bureau Insurance, in its 23rd year of sponsoring the award, will give a $1,000 college scholarship to 32 individuals who represent their member school in at least one sport in which the Association sponsors a postseason tournament. The first 30 scholarships are awarded proportionately by school classification and the number of student-athletes involved in those classes; also, there are two at-large honorees which can come from any classification. Of Class A honorees, seven are girls and six are boys – with the seventh girl an at-large selection.

Each scholarship recipient will be honored during a halftime ceremony at the Class C Boys Basketball Final game March 24 at the Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing. Commemorative medallions will be given to other finalists in recognition of their accomplishments.The Class A Scholar-Athlete Award honorees are:  Amanda Marie Fodera, Fraser; Hannah Marie Howarth, Gibraltar Carlson; Abigail Rawling, Rochester; Dana Schrauben, Lake Orion; Heather Smith, Farmington Hills Mercy; Alexis Stanton, Jenison; Jessica Turner, Birmingham Groves; Brendon Clover, White Lake Lakeland; Christopher Robert Hagan, East Lansing; Alexander Hassan, Ann Arbor Huron; Josh Hoogendoorn, Jenison; Nick Iacobellis, DeWitt; and Garret Zuk, White Lake Lakeland.

Overviews of the scholarship recipients of the Class A Scholar-Athlete Award follow. A quote from each recipient's essay also is included:

Amanda Marie Fodera, Fraser. Anticipates playing her third season of varsity softball this spring and graduating with seven varsity letters, including three in softball and two each for volleyball and basketball. Received all-state academic and all-county honors for volleyball and all-conference academic recognition in all three sports. Has also served as captain in volleyball and basketball and earned athletic awards in both. Ranks No. 1 academically in her graduating class and is a two-year member of the National Honor Society. Also is a section leader and four-year varsity member of the marching band.  Participates in her school’s 4 As Leadership program and a number of community and church volunteer efforts, including work with autistic students and tutoring/mentoring of freshmen. Plans to attend the University of Michigan to pursue a degree in biomedical engineering. 

Essay Quote – “As a young child, I thrived on challenging my physical abilities and the success that resulted. Not until years later did I realize that athletics also challenged my character. They tested my confidence, determination, discipline, leadership, honor and much more. The way I have responded to those challenges has defined me as a person.”

Hannah Marie Howarth, Gibraltar Carlson. Will play her fourth season of varsity softball this spring and played four years of varsity volleyball; she also played varsity basketball as a sophomore. Is a four-year starter in softball and volleyball and has been a captain of both teams since her sophomore seasons. Also has earned all-league and all-region honors in both of those sports. Holds a 4.2 grade-point average and serves as president of her school’s National Honor Society chapter. Elected class president all four years of high school and is serving as vice president of the Student Council Executive Board this school year. Also was selected as her school’s Homecoming Queen in the fall and has participated in various volunteer efforts. Will attend Wayne State University and intends to study biology.

Essay Quote – “Integrity is the heart of good sportsmanship. I have never performed flawlessly, or won a game with a guilty conscience. Although I had no control over the line judge’s call, I had control over myself. …. This understanding guided me through the toughest games, and winning became more rewarding.”

Abigail Rawling, Rochester. Will play her third season of varsity soccer this spring, and also played two varsity seasons of basketball and two sub-varsity seasons of volleyball. Selected as captain of the basketball and soccer teams. Made her league’s scholar athlete list each of her varsity seasons. Is a three-member of the National Honor Society and has earned her school’s perfect attendance award. Earned honors from her school’s pre-calculus and German departments. Tutors at-risk students and mentors freshmen among volunteer efforts. Serves as a Level 8 soccer referee and also recently obtained Red Cross lifeguard certification. Will attend Michigan State University’s Eli Broad School of Business, and intends to major in accounting with a minor in sociology.

Essay Quote – “The lessons of self-control and courtesy, even when angry or frustrated, develop the skills to become a person of character. The simple things, like a handshake or a verbal ‘good job’ allow opponents and teammates to respect the effort put forth by both sides. The same thing is true everywhere, including school or work. The lessons of good sportsmanship are meant to be carried on into life beyond athletics.”

Dana Schrauben, Lake Orion. Will play her fourth season of varsity soccer this spring, and played three each of volleyball and basketball after joining both of those teams midway through her sophomore seasons. Played on District championship teams in all three sports, and her volleyball team was the Class A Finals runner-up this fall. Earned her league’s Sportsmanship Award during volleyball season. Also has earned academic all-state recognition and is a member of the National Honor Society. Chaired various school and community volunteer projects, and also volunteered two years with the Special Olympics. Will attend Michigan State University and intends to study secondary education, mathematics and Spanish.

Essay Quote – “Sportsmanship is about being truly unselfish and playing the game for more than winning or championship titles. It’s about doing what you love, surrounded by people you love, playing for the joy that the game brings you.”

Heather Smith, Farmington Hills Mercy. Will run her fourth season of track and field this spring, and ran four varsity seasons of cross country. Earned all-league and all-region recognition and made the MHSAA Finals for cross country her final two seasons. Served as captain of the cross country team for three seasons and will serve as track and field captain for the second year. Is a member of both the National Honor Society and French Honor Society. Received an Outstanding Service Award in 2011 and was elected vice president of the Co-Ette Club, Inc. Plays both the piano and violin. Will attend the University of Pennsylvania and study biology.

Essay Quote – “You stand at the starting line with expectations in mind. You visualize the polished medal waiting on your arrival at the finish line. When the gun is fired, you race to showcase your talent. Anticipating victory, you begin increasing speed. Once you pass the finish line, you have won. However, it was not by place or time that you became a champion. A true winner exhibits qualities of sportsmanship.”

Alexis Stanton, Jenison. Will run her fourth season of track and field this spring, played three years of varsity basketball and also ran cross country for the first time this fall. Also played two years of volleyball at sub-varsity levels, and earned student athlete awards in that sport, basketball and track. Served as captain of cross country and track teams. Is a two-year member of the National Honor Society and serves as an officer. Has served as a United Way Schools of Hope reading tutor all four years of high school and is secretary of the Greater Grand Rapids Jack and Jill teen group. Serves on the Ottawa County Youth Advisory Committee. Is undecided which college she will attend, but will study biology or chemistry as part of a major in pre-med.

Essay Quote – “My parents, my community and my school are all huge proponents in fostering respect by having a good attitude when playing sports. Realistically though, there are many people who have a poor attitude when it comes to picking your team and other teams up. I believe that respecting your opponent is infectious. And once you see one person or team practicing it, you will feel compelled to do it.”

Jessica Turner, Birmingham Groves. Anticipates finishing high school with 12 varsity letters – four each for golf, basketball and softball. Served as captain for two seasons each in golf and basketball and will be her softball team’s captain this spring. Named Division 2 all-state in golf and holds her school’s 9-hole match record with an even-par 35. Played on league champion basketball and softball teams and earned all-country recognition in the latter. Received scholar athlete recognition in all three sports and her golf program’s Parents’ Award for leadership, attitude, athletic ability, character and scholastic standing. Serving as president of her school’s National Honor Society and has been designated a National Merit Scholarship Finalist. Also serves in student congress and volunteers in a variety of efforts including as a tutor and mentor. Will attend the University of Michigan and has been accepted to its Honors College, and will study brain and cognitive sciences.

Essay Quote – “It is the moments when no one else is watching that an athlete’s principles are truly tested, and sportsmanship lies most deeply in the hearts of the athletes themselves. Sportsmanship means more to me than being a winner on a scoreboard.”

Brendon Clover, White Lake Lakeland. Finishing his fourth season of varsity skiing and also competed in varsity cross country for four seasons and varsity track and field for two. Recently named all-region for skiing and has served as team captain while also winning the Eagle of the Year award as his program’s most complete athlete. Twice ran at the MHSAA Cross Country Finals, and three times was recognized as one of his league’s scholar athletes. Has attained the rank of Eagle Scout and is a member of the Order of the Arrow scouting honor society and a senior leader within his troop. Named AP Scholar with honors and won the Lawrence Technological Award for excellence in science and math. Participates in community and church volunteer efforts. Undecided where he will attend college, but plans to study mechanical engineering.

Essay Quote – “Athletes are a unique breed of people, one whose determination and dedication are unmatched by any other group. We are loyal to ourselves, our teams, our friends, family and even our fiercest opponents. … Sportsmanship is the glue which holds athletes together as a community, and this is its most important function: to connect and encourage connection, between athletes of today, tomorrow and forever.”

Christopher Robert Hagan, East Lansing. Expects to graduate with 10 varsity letters, including four in hockey and three each for football and baseball. Earned all-area honors in all three sports and set his school’s career tackles record of 401. Served as captain of both the football and hockey teams and has received academic all-league awards for all three sports. Received Distinguished Scholar Awards the last three years for students with a grade-point average of 3.7 or above, and also recognition from five academic departments at his school. Participates in a number of school and community volunteer efforts, including the Special Olympics. Will attend the University of Dayton, where he also will play football, and plans to study mathematics.

Essay Quote – “Sportsmanship in athletics is a lot like life. We want to do our best in any endeavor, but be humble and accomplish it with class. I am truly happy for all emotions that I have experienced from my high school athletic career because it has helped me to become a better person, and I have experienced the importance of sportsmanship in educational athletics.”

Alexander Hassan, Ann Arbor Huron. Finished his second season as the football team’s quarterback this fall, and also served as team captain. Earned all-league honorable mention after both varsity seasons and his league’s sportsmanship award as a senior. Is serving his second year as his school’s National Honors Society president and also is president of his class’ Executive Board. Named both an AP Scholar with honors and National Merit Scholarship semifinalist. Serving as voting member of Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum board of trustees. Made finals of state and national mathematics contests. Participates in various volunteer efforts both in his school and community. Undecided where he will attend college, but will study biomedical and biochemical engineering.

Essay Quote – “Sportsmanship and competition do not have to clash. Rather, when working in concert, they enhance each other, which leads to learning important lessons. To participate in competitive athletics is to enter into an unwritten pact, agreeing that by demonstrating excellent sportsmanship, one will respect an opponent’s character as much as try to defeat him.”

Josh Hoogendoorn, Jenison. Will play his second season of varsity baseball this spring, to go with two seasons of varsity football. Also participated on his school’s power lifting varsity team for two seasons. Served as captain of the football team and on that team’s leadership council, and also won that team’s Character Matters Award. Named academic all-state in baseball. Serves as co-leader of his school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes and is active in a variety of church and community volunteer efforts including Kids Hope USA. Participates in DECA business program and qualified for the 2010 and 2012 state competitions. Will attend Michigan State University and intends to study business and accounting.

Essay Quote – “For all of the reasons an athlete is honored, I believe sportsmanship is the one quality that truly defines a great athlete as a great person. The lessons of sportsmanship are the characteristics we learn in athletics that walk with us every day for the rest of our lives. As they hang my picture on the wall for my athletic accomplishments, I hope that I am remembered as an inspiration of character and sportsmanship for others to follow when they start high school.”

Nick Iacobellis, DeWitt. Will finish his three-sport career on the baseball team this spring after joining the soccer, basketball and baseball varsities all during his sophomore year of high school. Named to the Division 2 all-state first team in soccer as a goalkeeper this fall after making the second team as a junior, and is among MHSAA all-time leaders with 18 shutouts for one season. Also earned all-league honors for basketball, and served as a captain for both of those teams. Earned all-academic honors for all three of his sports. Is a member of his school’s National Honor Society and student government and qualified for the national conference for Business Professionals of America. Volunteers as an official, coach and scoreboard operator among other school, church and community efforts. Undecided where he will attend college, but will study pre-med.

Essay Quote – “The reality is that you cannot always win every game, but there is one constant. You can have great sportsmanship in every game. … I used to get down through my early years after losses. But in time, I have put it all in perspective. You are going to lose games, but how you deal with it is most important.”

Garret Zuk, White Lake Lakeland. Finished his fourth season of varsity cross country this fall by winning the MHSAA Division 1 Final, and also has run varsity track and field since his freshman year of high school. Named all-state in two events in track last spring and was a Regional champion. Served as team captain in both sports. Has achieved Life Rank in Boy Scouts and is working toward becoming an Eagle Scout. Is a member of his school’s National Honor Society, serves as his class’ student government secretary, and is a two-time state finalist as part of Lakeland’s Future Problem Solvers team. Has participated in various forms of volunteer and community service. Is undecided where he will attend college, but plans to study engineering.

Essay Quote – “The one thing that my coach preached to my cross country team this entire year, from the beginning of June until the beginning of November, was to be a class act. Whether we won, lost, tied or ended up anywhere in the middle, we were going to leave the course with our heads held high after making a good impression to all that were there.”

Other Class A girls finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Kelsey Adamski, Richland Gull Lake; Ellery Alexander, Caledonia; Kortnie L. Bush, Southgate Anderson; Jaymie Dyer, Hartland; Bethany Easom, Saline; Yara Nidal Fakhoury, Dearborn; Alexa Giovanatti, Rochester Adams; Morgan Hawver, Grand Haven; Kelsey Kerin, St Clair; Hannah Lee, Rochester Adams; Maria Lepore, Rochester; Kelly Lunghamer, Birmingham Marian; Nicole McDermott, Mason; Gina Marie McNamara, Northville; Katelyn Alexandra Pekala, Midland; Alexandra Trecha, East Lansing; and Abigail Wilson, Trenton.

Other Class A boys finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Matthew Alexander Beem, Traverse City West; Ryan Denison, Dearborn; Saeed El Saghir, Bay City Central; Steven Alexander Fox, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central; Joshua M. Heinze, Plymouth; Knute Hoffman, Midland; Hunter Holtrop, Okemos; Jeremy Kozler, Livonia Stevenson; Conrad Arthur Lather, Midland Dow; Alec Latta, Northville; Gabriel Martinez, Livonia Franklin; Robert Paul, Bay City Central; Andrew Poterala, Northville; Nick Rao, Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice; Christopher Sesi, Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice; Blaine Stannard, Birmingham Groves; Alex Taylor, Rochester Adams; and Daniel Tzou, Midland Dow.

Class C and D scholarship award recipients were announced Feb. 7, and the Class B honorees were announced Feb. 14.

Farm Bureau Insurance, one of Michigan's major insurers, has a statewide force of more than 400 agents serving more than 380,000 Michigan policyholders. Besides providing life, home, auto, farm, business and retirement insurance, the company also sponsors life-saving, real-time Doppler weather tracking systems in several Michigan communities.              

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,600 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract approximately 1.6 million spectators each year.

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