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EAST LANSING, Mich. – Feb. 9 – The Michigan High School Athletic Association has selected ten student-athletes from Class C and D member schools to receive scholarships through its Scholar-Athlete Award program.
Farm Bureau Insurance, in its 22nd 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 post-season tournament. The first 30 scholarships are awarded proportionately by school classification and the number of student-athletes involved in those classes; and there are two at-large honorees which can come from any classification.
Each of the scholarship recipients will be honored at halftime ceremonies of the Class C Boys Basketball final game at the Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing on March 26. Commemorative medallions will be given to other finalists in recognition of their accomplishments.
The Class C Scholar-Athlete Award honorees are: Collin A Breit, Muskegon Western Michigan Christian; Sam Davis, Potterville; Michael Thomas Elliott, Traverse City St Francis; Chelsey Ewald, Unionville-Sebewaing; Alexandra Spaulding, Watervliet; and Jenna Whipple, Potterville.
The Class D Scholar-Athlete Award scholarship recipients are: Kelsie Lyn Blamer, Mio; Heather Lantis, Hillsdale Academy; Eric Anthony Lisznyai, Hillsdale Academy; and Garrett Slavik, Fulton.
Overviews of the scholarship recipients of the Class C Scholar-Athlete Award follow. A quote from each recipient's essay is also included:
Collin A. Breit, Muskegon Western Michigan Christian. Four-year varsity letter winner in golf, two letters in soccer, and one in basketball. All-state, all-area, and all-conference in golf for past three years. Came in second at Michigan Junior PGA Golf Championship 2010. Soccer all-state, all-area, all-conference and captain senior year. 2007 and 2010 MHSAA Soccer Division 4 champions. 2010 MHSAA Boys Basketball Class D champions. Four-year concert and jazz band member, first chair trombone. Three years participation in student government, class president as junior and vice-president as a senior, and fall plays. Three years with church youth group and activities such as Child Abuse Council and International Aid. Will attend Hope College in the Fall and planning on studying math and science.
Essay Quote: “We can choose to focus on the bad things or try and make a difference by having a positive attitude.”
Sam Davis, Potterville. Two varsity letters in football and baseball. First-team all-area wide receiver junior year. Football first-team all-conference junior and senior year, honorable mention all-state as a senior. Football co-captain. Baseball academic all-district. Four-year class president and student council member. Two years in National Honor Society. Four year member of the Youth Advisory Council, Teens Against Tobacco Use, and runs his own video production company. Runner-up for the 2010 National MusiCares and Grammy Foundation Teen Substance Abuse Awareness through Music Contest. 2010 Meijer Great Choices Student Film Festival Grand Prize Winner. Planning to attend Grand Valley State University and major in film and video production.
Essay Quote: “I am passionate about the art of film-making. The satisfaction of successfully completing a film is comparable to the satisfaction of winning a football game or getting straight A’s on a report card.”
Michael Thomas Elliott, Traverse City St. Francis. Tennis and hockey varsity letters all four years, track and baseball varsity letters for two years. Tennis conference champion and scholar-athlete four years, MHSAA Regional champion for three. Hockey all-conference, conference and MHSAA Regional team champions, team captain for two years. Two-year MITCA team champions in track. Conference Academic and Athletic Excellence Award in baseball. Two-year National Honor Society and student government member. Volunteer organizations: Young Men's Discipleship, Glad Friends, Father Fred Canned Food Drive, Sled Hockey for Handicapped Students, Goodwill Thrift Shop, and Winter Special Olympics. Will attend the University of Michigan and study medicine or business.
Essay Quote: “As I got older, I became more aware of the importance of mental discipline. Without a positive attitude, preparation could only take a person so far. I learned that the difference between being a good athlete and a champion was usually determined by attitude and mental discipline.”
Chelsey Ewald, Unionville-Sebewaing. Earned varsity letters in volleyball, basketball, and softball. Scholar-athlete in all three sports four years in a row. League, District, and Regional champion in softball and volleyball. Played for MHSAA Softball Division 4 champions in 2009 and reached semifinals in 2008 and 2010. All-conference first team infield, all-district team and All-State honorable mention in 2010. Certificate of excellence and all-region in softball 2010. National Honor Society junior and senior year. Community service for Bay Shore Primary Camp, People Helping People, community youth basketball coach, Sunday school teacher, elementary teacher aid, and Kentucky mission trip. Four-year high honor roll student. Will attend either Western Michigan University or Saginaw Valley State and plans on majoring in education.
Essay Quote: “Your team is like a body. Your body can’t function without a brain, or a heart, or lungs, just like a team can’t function if it is missing a setter, a point guard or a shortstop.”
Alexandra Spaulding, Watervliet. Four varsity letters for volleyball and basketball and three letters for track and softball. Has earned a total of 16 varsity letters. Team captain for volleyball, basketball, and softball. Three first-team all-conference awards in volleyball and softball. Two all-district and one all-region award for softball. Five time all-conference award winner and two time all-region in track. 2010 MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 4 Finals qualifier in shot put and discus. Four years participation in student government and yearbook staff. Class president three of those years. Three years involvement in drama productions and National Honor Society. Member of the Watervliet Youth Outreach, Habitat for Humanity, and church youth group. Will attend the University of Michigan and plans to major in business marketing.
Essay Quote: “I consider myself incredibly lucky to have the opportunities to reach outside of my own sport-related comfort zone. I believe that my experiences with these different types of groups in my high school have more than prepared me for my aspirations in life to come as I plan on entering the diverse world of business.”
Jenna Whipple, Potterville. Earned varsity letters in volleyball, basketball, track & field, football. Four-year varsity volleyball player. Two-year all-conference and all-regional, and ran on two MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 4 Track & Field Finals championship teams. Volleyball conference and district championship 2009. All-conference first team for volleyball 2010. Played on football conference championship team and was honorable mention. 2010 basketball captain. Two-year National Honors Society student. Four years academic honor roll. Community volunteer with Special Olympics, food drives, and Breakfast with Santa. Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizenship Award. Planning on attending Central Michigan University and majoring in speech/language pathology.
Essay Quote: “Mentoring, along with community service and volunteering, has shown me that I do not necessarily need a tangible reward for doing the right thing; but better, the self-satisfaction of knowing I helped another person.”
Other Class C girls finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Zoe Brennan, Blissfield; Kari Burton, Brown City; Katherine A. Carpenter, Bronson; Kirsten Case, Breckenridge; Alyssa Chapman, Ishpeming Westwood; Margaret Pauline Grossa, Kalamazoo Hackett; Rebecca Gulliver, Breckenridge; Kaitlyn Theisen, Saranac; and CallyAnne Michelle Wyma, St. Louis.
Other Class C boys finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Josh G. Bachleda, Bridgman; Kyle Burkardt, Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central; Casey Harvey, Vandercook Lake; Jake Hutson, Blanchard Montabella; Edward Martin, Kalamazoo Hackett; Noah Reyhl, Suttons Bay; Eric R Schmidt, Blissfield; Alexander Varney, Cass City; and Richard Gray Vreeland, Gobles.
Overviews of the scholarship recipients of the Class D Scholar-Athlete Award follow. A quote from each recipient's essay is also included:
Kelsie Lyn Blamer, Mio. Four-year varsity athlete in volleyball and basketball and two years in softball. Team captain junior and senior year. Scholar-athlete all four years in high school. Alpena News All-Area and All-Conference first team in basketball. Four-year member of student senate, class officer, and Business Professionals of America. Class vice-president. Honor roll all four years. National Honor Society for three years. 2011 class valedictorian. Will attend Michigan State University, planning to study radiology or sports medicine.
Essay Quote: “High school sports has offered me the opportunity to meet people from different areas of the state, attend camps at universities, gain confidence in myself, prove my work ethic, and demand more of myself than I ever thought possible.”
Heather Lantis, Hillsdale Academy. Earned three varsity letters all four years in school in volleyball, basketball and track. Four-time all-conference in volleyball and two time in basketball and track. Team captain and MVP in volleyball and basketball junior and senior year. MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 4 discus champion as a junior. Best in the Field track award two years in a row. Four years of membership with E.D.G.E. Ministries, Hillsdale County Community Foundation, and chamber choir. Held positions as Youth Board President and Youth Board Trustee. Two years in the National Honor Society. Student council member, camp counselor, Bible school leader, and drama participant. Plans on attending Hillsdale College, majoring in education.
Essay Quote: “Participating in high school sports has prepared me in many ways for life after high school. I have learned to work hard, cooperate as a team, and to compete. However, learning perseverance has been the most gratifying.”
Eric Anthony Lisznyai, Hillsdale Academy. Earned four varsity letters in both golf and soccer, three letters in basketball, and one letter in track. All-conference for soccer, basketball, and golf. All-district for soccer and golf. All-region, honorable mention all-state, and captain for soccer. Four year participation in Student Council, 4-H Club, Drama, and St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. Three years National Honors Society and with Vice- President position. Will attend the University of Michigan in the fall and is in the pre-medicine program.
Essay Quote: “One’s ability to make connections with the right people and easily interact with others is an invaluable asset in the business world.”
Garrett Slavik, Fulton. Awarded four varsity letters in both football and baseball, and three letters in basketball. For baseball, received All-CMAC, all-district and all-regional honors, also team captain and MVP junior year. Basketball league champs junior year. Four years participation in student council, 4-H Club, ABC (Spirit Club), and SADD. Three years National Honor Society member, president. Two years participation in Breckenridge FFA, first place state competition on embryo transfer in cattle. Will attend Michigan State University and wants to pursue the study of animal science.
Essay Quote: “Sports have taught me dedication, confidence, patience, sportsmanship, respect, and perseverance… Some of the other skills that I have learned from athletics include communication, hard work ethic, and leadership skills.”
Other Class D girls finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Afton Elizabeth Eberly, Webberville; Erin Holmberg, Cooks Big Bay de Noc; Lindsey Anne Hufnagel, Fowler; Adrienne Thelen, Portland St. Patrick; Abbey Troy, Waterford Our Lady; and Hannah Underwood, Bellaire.
Other Class D boys finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Garrison Glowniak, Marine City Cardinal Mooney; Scott Hoelsema, Byron Center Zion Christian; Lukas Maki, Eben Junction Superior Central; Randall Timothy Moore, Marcellus Howardsville Christian; Nathan Sobczak, Bay City All Saints; and Sean Tighe, Caseville.
Students applying for the Scholar-Athlete Award must be carrying at least a 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) grade-point average, and have previously won a letter in a varsity sport in which the Michigan High School Athletic Association sponsors a postseason tournament. Other requirements for the applicants were to show active participation in other school and community activities and produce an essay on the importance of sportsmanship in educational athletics.
The Class B scholarship award recipients will be announced on February 15; and the Class A honorees will be announced on February 22.
Farm Bureau Insurance, one of Michigan's major insurers, has a statewide force of 450 agents serving more than 450,000 Michigan policyholders. Besides providing life, home auto, farm, business and retirement insurance, the company also sponsors lifesaving, real-time Doppler weather tracking systems in several Michigan communities.The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by over 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.