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EAST LANSING, Mich. – Feb. 15 – Nine student-athletes from Michigan High School Athletic Association Class B member schools have been selected 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 postseason 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 B Scholar-Athlete Award honorees are: Kelsey K. Carney, Jackson Northwest; Brandon Gregg, Edwardsburg; Breanne Lesnar, Freeland; Nick Olesak, Gladstone; Gabriel B. Raymer, Caro; Patrick D. Roberts, Chelsea; Caroline Shinkle, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood; Leigh Slater, St. Clair Shores South Lake; and Joseph Walbridge, Richland Gull Lake.
Overviews of the scholarship recipients of the Class B Scholar-Athlete Award follow. A quote from each recipient's essay is also included:
Kelsey K. Carney, Jackson Northwest. Earned 11 varsity letters in golf, volleyball and tennis. Received all-conference honors in all three sports. All-State in golf three years. Jackson Area Player of the Year in golf. Captain in all three sports. All-region in volleyball. Academic all-conference in all three sports. Ranked first academically in her class. Wendy’s High School Heisman School Winner. Two-year member in the National Honor Society. Involved in student government, Model United Nations, Habitat for Humanity, and Jackson Interfaith Shelter. Coordinated Basketball Shoot for a Cure at her school. Plans to study elementary education and special needs education at Western Michigan University.
Essay Quote – “The prestigious awards that athletes strive to achieve are not awarded to those whose sole purpose is to be rewarded for their performance; they are presented to the athletes who have a true passion for a sport and respect the game, the coaches, other players, and the officials.”
Brandon Gregg, Edwardsburg. Earned a total of seven varsity letters in football, hockey, and track and field. Student Council for two years. National Honor Society and class Vice President senior year. Involved with 4-H Club throughout high school, holding local chapter leadership positions every year. Academic Excellence Award recipient freshman and junior year. Received 4-H Senior County Achievement, Citizenship and Leadership Awards, and was chosen as a delegate for the 2011 National 4-H Conference. Will attend the University of Michigan and study pre-medicine.
Essay Quote – “A good sport in general first and foremost, does not talk down to the opposing team. An athlete that does this is respected by the opposite team, teammates, and coaches. As an athlete, I personally strive to be a good sport and display good sportsmanship in every sport I play, both toward my teammates and the opposing team.”
Breanne Lesnar, Freeland. Earned nine varsity letters in high school career in volleyball, basketball, track and field, and cross country. Finished fourth individually at MHSAA Cross Country Finals in the fall. Placed fourth as part of 3,200-meter relay, and fifth in the 1,600-meter run as junior at the MHSAA Finals as junior. Cross country county and regional champion. Co-captain of volleyball team. Four-year band and student council member. Division 1 rating at state solo and ensemble for clarinet quartet. National Honor Society member for two years. Involved with Freeland United Methodist Youth Group. Has completed four out-of-state mission trips. Volunteers with tutoring and Mid-Michigan Medical Center. Will attend Central Michigan University, with hopes of entering the medical field.
Essay Quote – “I now make it a point to show sportsmanship to all competitors. I’ve learned that the rewards of sportsmanship are more gratifying than any trophy or certificate will ever be.”
Nick Olesak, Gladstone. Earned 10 varsity letters in three sports: cross country, track and field, and basketball. Academic All-State honoree. Won All-State, all-Upper Peninsula and all-conference awards in cross country as a sophomore. All-State in 3,200-meter run in track & field as sophomore. Basketball team captain for two seasons. Involved in band program throughout high school. Member of Student Council and National Honor Society for two years. Involved with Youth Church Group which help put on Annual All Saints Parish Harvest Dinner and Cookie Bake. Will attend Grand Valley State University to study pre-medicine.
Essay Quote – “Sportsmanship comes in a variety of forms. If you attend a local sporting event and pay close attention, sportsmanship can be found in many different scenarios. It can exist in an optimistic losing team, the reaching of a hand to help an opposing player off the floor, the supportive fan section of the home team when they lose, or in the support of an underclassman toward a senior after the final game of his high school career.”
Gabriel B. Raymer, Caro. Earned three varsity letters in soccer and four in swimming. All-district soccer goalkeeper on three occasions and won all-conference and third team All-State honors as a senior in 2010. A two-year team captain in soccer. Local Wendy’s High School Heisman Award recipient. Medalist at Independent Swim Conference Meet for three straight years. Ten-year member of Caro Horizons 4-H Club and four years in Youth in Government. Involved for three years in student government, and two years in National Honor Society. Three-time Grand Champion Swine Showman at the Tuscola County Fair. Plans to attend Central Michigan University in the fall to pursue an accounting degree.
Essay Quote – “My experiences in the athletic arena have proven to me that sports do impact our life and having a positive, healthy, educational environment in which to compete is one of the most important aspects of high school. It is true that actions speak louder than words, and I am thankful every time I step into the athletic arena I can demonstrate through my actions the meaning of sportsmanship.”
Patrick D. Roberts, Chelsea. Has earned 10 varsity letters in soccer, basketball, and baseball. Three-time all-district and all-conference performer in soccer, including honorable mention All-State.as a senior. Won basketball all-conference twice, and was hoop squad Most Valuable Player as a junior. Team captain in both soccer and basketball. Baseball all-conference and all-district junior year. High Honors Honor Roll all four years. National Honor Society junior and senior year. A memberof the St. Mary’s Church Youth Group. Has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity mission trips, the local Knights of Columbus and the Chelsea Community Hospital. Plans to study pre-medicine at either Miami University or Indiana University.
Essay Quote – “A great player is the one who stands by the highest tier of sportsmanship. A good sport sends a positive image about them, and more importantly sends a positive image about the people that coached them and the schools they are from.”
Caroline Shinkle, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood. Has won four varsity letters in golf and three in tennis. Two-year golf captain and Academic All-State award recipient. Doubles performer in tennis on teams that finished second at MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 3 Finals in 2009 and 2010; member of Division 3 championship team in 2008. Won Cranbrook-Kingswood’s Outstanding Junior Girl Award. Managing editor of school newspaper, captain of Forensics Club and president of Docent Club. Won numerous honors in oratorical and forensics competitions. Member of Cum Laude Society. Plans to study economics and political science in college.
Essay Quote – “Practicing sportsmanship, winning humbly and losing gracefully, helps athletes become better citizens of the world with wider perspectives. The ability to understand other points of view and empathize with peers are attributes that our most successful leaders embrace. Athletes have the opportunity to acquire these qualities through sportsmanship, which leads to maturity and responsible adulthood.”
Leigh Slater, St. Clair Shores South Lake. Received 10 varsity letters in volleyball, basketball and softball. Team captain in all three sports. A three-time all-county selection in volleyball and softball; and a two-time all-conference performer in softball. National Honor Society member for three years; serving as President as a senior and Vice-President of local chapter as a junior. Involved in student government and volunteer work with the South Lake Mon & Dad’s Club for four years. A three-time class President. Will attend the University of Michigan in the fall and study pre-medicine.
Essay Quote – “The ability to respect other players through good sportsmanship is one of the best things an athlete can learn for their own life, even outside of sports.”
Joseph Walbridge, Richland Gull Lake. Earned six varsity letters in tennis and basketball. Two-year captain of conference and regional championship tennis teams, and Most Valuable Player as a senior. Basketball team captain as a senior. National Honor Society member. Ranked number one in class academically. Volunteers with Kalamazoo County Food Drive, as a math tutor, and as a basketball game referee and assistant coach for youth teams. Avid fly fisherman, bow and waterfowl hunter. Undecided on college choice, but will pursue pre-law and/or pre-medicine studies.
Essay Quote – “Sportsmanship is a learned behavior and is a valuable skill for handling all of life’s challenges. At the interscholastic level, the privilege of participating in athletics is most about lessons in becoming good people who are ready to contribute to society. It is not about becoming a professional athlete.”
Other Class B girls finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Cecelia M. Goulette, Armada; Carolinne Strasser, Dearborn Divine Child; Lauren Brown, Grosse Ile; Molly Duda, Haslett; Erin Roney, Livonia Ladywood; Kelsey Blake, Portland; Jaymie L. Smith, Saginaw Swan Valley; Emilee Warner, Saginaw Swan Valley; Ann Marie Arseneau, Sturgis; Bronte M. Stewart, Sturgis; Amy Newell, Three Rivers; and Perri Weiderman, Three Rivers.
Other Class B boys finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Bryce R. Brown, Allendale; Dominic Leoni, Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard; Trevor Blattner, Battle Creek Harper Creek; Taylor Rowe, Battle Creek Harper Creek; Daniel Thomas Ahrens, Carrollton; Connor A. Townsend, Chelsea; Nicholas Posh, Dearborn Divine Child; Matthew J. Moser, Grand Rapids West Catholic; Christian J. Balcer, Hudsonville Unity Christian; Andrew Buskirk, Paw Paw; and Alex Farrington, Stevensville Lakeshore.
Previously announced were the Class C and D scholarship recipients: 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.
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 A scholarship award recipients 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.