FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Feb. 26, 2008
Class A Scholar-Athlete Award Scholarship Recipients Announced
EAST LANSING , Mich. - Feb. 26 - Fourteen student-athletes at Class A member schools of the Michigan High School Athletic Association have been selected to receive scholarships through its Scholar-Athlete Award program.
Farm Bureau Insurance, in its 19th 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 15. Commemorative medallions will be given to other finalists in recognition of their accomplishments.
The Class A Scholar-Athlete Award honorees are: Ashley Bish, Detroit Cass Technical; Pam Bhullar, Plymouth; Ryan Erickson, Okemos; Erin Fedewa, St. Johns; David Harvey, Plymouth; Alexandra Hock, Lake Orion; Ben Landes, Midland Dow; Melissa Megerian, Rochester Adams; Lindy Melville, Jenison; Anthony Mifsud, Dearborn; Logan Neil, Holland West Ottawa; Megan Novak, Farmington Hills Mercy; Cody Rzeznik, Walled Lake Central; and Mitchell Zajac, Holt.
Overviews of the scholarship recipients of the Class A Scholar-Athlete Award follow. A quote from each recipient's essay is also included:
Ashley Bish, Detroit Cass Technical. Awarded four letters in track as well as three in cross country. Cross country honors include all-city for three years, Detroit PSL East League Champion as a junior and senior. Member of the AJROTC Drill Team, winners of the River Rouge Drill Competition in 2007. Detroit PSL city chess team champions; chess team placed third in national championship. Has accumulated over 550 hours of community service. Plans to attend Eastern Michigan University, majoring in forensic science and foreign languages.
Essay Quote - “Sportsmanship means to cheer someone on, no matter what place the person is in or how many points he or she may have scored, and to remain positive through both the good and the not-so-good moments.”
Pam Bhullar, Plymouth. Awarded four letters in cross country, two in track and one in gymnastics. Earned all-division and first-team all-area honors as a junior. Captain of the cross country team as a senior. Six-time two-mile record holder on the track team. Founder and president of the Plymouth Canton Educational Park Ambassadors. Student council vice president as a freshman and president as a sophomore. Has logged over 300 community service hours in four years. While on the Canton Township Youth Advisory Council, helped to establish the community teen center. Currently pursuing the Gold Award in Girl Scouts. Future plans include attending the University of Michigan, pursuing a career in pre-medicine.
Essay Quote - “There is no quintessential definition of sportsmanship, rather it’s a virtue that embodies all life is and all it can become with the right attitude.”
Ryan Erickson, Okemos. Awarded three letters in baseball, two in basketball and one each in golf and soccer. Earned Capital Area Activities Conference all-academic honors in golf, basketball, baseball and soccer as a junior. Team captain in basketball and baseball senior year. Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association All-District and Academic All-District Division 1 as a junior. Capital Area Activities Conference All-Conference catcher junior year. Two-year member of the National Honor Society and the German Club. Active in an organization which focuses on being positive high school role models for young kids. Future plans are undecided, but hopes to major in pre-medicine or pre-business in college.
Essay Quote - “It must continue to not only be discussed by coaches, players, and spectators, but also acted upon continuously throughout competitions. Sportsmanship must remain the driving force behind educational athletics.”
Erin Fedewa, St. Johns. Four-year letterwinner in cross country; three in track and one in volleyball. Member of the Lansing State Journal Dream Team as a junior in cross country. Cross country and track accolades also include all-state and academic all-state; team captain and Most Valuable Player. President of the National Honor Society. Sits fourth chair on the symphonic orchestra. Treasurer of Students Against Drunk Driving. Has won numerous awards through 4-H; president of the Double M 4-H club. Currently undecided on what college to attend, but would like to pursue a major in biology.
Essay Quote - “By encouraging teammates and other students, we contribute to the success of those around us, and I believe that when one succeeds, we all succeed. The people who are influenced by good sportsmanship will remember and pass it on to others.”
David Harvey, Plymouth. Two-year letterwinner in baseball and basketball. Captain on both the basketball and baseball teams. Earned leadership award for basketball sophomore and junior years. Most improved baseball player freshman year; most valuable baseball player sophomore year. Member of the National Honor Society. During junior year, attended the University of Michigan Summer Engineering Academy. Has volunteered for the Plymouth High School youth baseball camp, Ann Arbor organ donors and Special Olympics basketball. Future plans include attending the University of Michigan to major in pre-medicine.
Essay Quote -“Sportsmanship is all about respect. On the field or off the field, you must show respect for your opponent, your teammates, your coaches, and most of all yourself. How you carry yourself is the first thing that gives off the impression of what kind of person you are.”
Alexandra Hock, Lake Orion. Awarded four letters in track and three in cross country. Earned team MVP honors in cross country sophomore, junior and senior years, and track as a junior. Became first ever junior captain of the cross country team. Led cross country team to MHSAA Finals for first time in school history. Medaled at MHSAA Finals the past two years. Other accolades include all-state, all-county, and all-league cross country two years in a row; as well as all-region three years in a row. Vice president of the National Honor Society. Member of the Key Club as a junior. Participates in numerous community activities through church involvement. Plans to attend Michigan State University and major in broadcasting.
Essay Quote - “After almost every race he would talk with everyone about their performances. If they were happy, so was he. If they were disappointed, he would encourage them….Realizing all of the lives Josh had changed allowed me to recognize the importance of encouraging others and being a good sport.”
Ben Landes, Midland Dow. Awarded four letters in track and one in soccer. Has participated in numerous school activities including concert, marching and jazz band for four years; National Honor Society for three years; Key Club for four years and Student Senate for one. Has also volunteered with the Salvation Army sophomore through senior years. Does musical performances at church and for local senior citizens. Volunteered numerous hours in the community through participation in Key Club. Future plans include studying in the health or basic science fields.
Essay Quote - “Sportsmanship goes beyond the handshake at the end of a game, or picking up an opponent who fell down. Sportsmanship is about placing others before yourself.”
Melissa Megerian, Rochester Adams. Earned four letters in golf and two in tennis. Awarded academic all-state, all-area honorable mention, all-county honorable mention, and coaches award honors in golf. Business Professionals of America regional, state and national winner; and president as a junior and senior. Student-of-the-year honors include: Business Professionals of America, Geometry, Algebra and Functions/Statistics/Trigonometry. As a freshman was the national spokesperson for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Children Helping and Motivating People to Stop Smoking national essay contest winner. Plans to attend the University of Michigan, majoring in business.
Essay Quote - “Good sportsmanship has many definitions. Often it is described as commitment to the game, respect for the rules, officials, and opponents, and exhibiting a good attitude.”
Lindy Melville, Jenison. Earned four letters in softball, and three in basketball and volleyball. Softball honors include all-district, all-region, and all-area sophomore and junior years; most valuable player as a junior. Captain of the volleyball team as a junior and senior; all-state third-team honors as a senior; academic all-state sophomore through senior years. Volleyball team won MHSAA championship senior year. Yearbook editor as a senior. Member of the National Honor Society junior and senior years. Attended Women in Sports Leadership Conference and OK League Sportsmanship Summits the past three years. Active in church youth group. Plans to attend Elmhurst College, majoring in business administration.
Essay Quote - “Winning at whatever cost is often the motivator for athletes to do their best. True success however comes from a balanced combination of your highest level of effort and your most positive attitude.”
Anthony Mifsud, Dearborn. Earned three letters in football, basketball and track. Track honors include: all-city, academic all-conference, all-state and academic all-state as a sophomore; all-city, all-league and academic all-conference in junior year. Set the school record for passing in football as a junior. Co-captain of the football team senior year; Detroit News All-Metro West accolades as a junior and senior. Started in 25 consecutive football games throughout career. National Honor Society member for three years. Peer mediator as a junior and senior. Volunteered with the Red Cross and at a youth football camp. Will attend Hillsdale College.
Essay Quote - “High school sports can be a satisfying experience when good sportsmanship is practiced. Whether you win or lose, you will have more fun and learn more if you are a good sport.”
Logan Neil, West Ottawa. Three-year letterwinner in soccer and basketball. Captain of the basketball team freshman, junior and senior years. All-conference honorable mention and all-area basketball honors as a junior. Soccer accolades include captain freshman, junior and senior years. All-conference first-team junior and senior years; all-district team as a sophomore, junior and senior; all-region as a junior; all-state first team and team MVP as a senior. Member of the fellowship of Christian Athletes for four years. Inducted into the National Honor Society as a junior. Volunteer for the Little Panthers youth basketball program; and has been a camp counselor for kids with special needs at CAMP SUNSHINE. Plans to attend Hope College and pursue a career in the medical field.
Essay Quote - “Athletes who train hard physically but have no sense of how to treat one another or their opponents, fail to maximize their athletic experience.”
Megan Novak, Farmington Hills Mercy. Awarded four letters in diving and in golf three. Captain of the swim and dive team as a senior. Finals diver on MHSAA championship team senior year. As a junior was Catholic League champion diver. Golf honors include academic all-state academic, all-area as a senior and all-league as a junior and senior; as well as honorable mention all-area junior year. Cast member of the Mercy Spring Musical freshman through junior years. Member of the National Honor Society. Volunteers numerous hours in the church youth group, at Reach work camps, and for the Farmington Area Founders Festival. Plans to attend University of Michigan, Michigan State University or Loyola to major in biology.
Essay Quote - “A student athlete must realize that ultimately, participation in sports in not solely about the outcome of the event, but the example you provide to your teammates, the school, and the community.”
Cody Rzeznik, Walled Lake Central. Earned three letters in football and basketball and four in baseball. Received academic all-state honors in football, basketball, and baseball as a sophomore and junior. Captain of the basketball team as a senior. Earned all-conference basketball accolades junior year. Student Council Representative freshman through junior years. Sits on the senior executive board, and is the school treasurer as a senior. Member of the National Honor Society. Has worked with the Walled Lake Community Education as a youth referee, umpire and camp counselor. Plans to attend the University of Michigan to major in denistry.
Essay Quote - “When you’re a leader you have responsibilities, but you also have great rewards. The smiles on those little guys faces made me reflect on what is really important in life.”
Mitchell Zajac, Holt. Four-year letterwinner in football, wrestling and track. Four-year offensive and defensive starter on the football team; also a four-year varsity starter for the wrestling and track teams. MHSAA Finals wrestling qualifier; three-time league champion and earned all-league accolades. Track honors include two-time MHSAA qualifier, all-league and all-area accolades. Class president as a freshman and sophomore; student body vice present as a junior and president as a senior. National Honor Society member for four years. Earned National Honor Society Community Service Award as a sophomore for most hours of volunteer service. Plans to attend Western Michigan University, majoring in engineering.
Essay Quote - “Sincere and genuine sportsmanship in high school athletic should be (or become) a core personality trait, a guiding principle that continues throughout the athlete’s life.”
Other Class A girls finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Paige C. Madison, Ann Arbor Pioneer; Meagan M. Reder, Bay City Western; Hyatt Bakri, Dearborn Fordson; Victoria L. Cowger, Fenton; Arin Heinz, Holland; Rande Siroky, Holland; Jaclyn Gribeck, Livonia Churchill; Megan Felcyn, Macomb Dakota; Allison Nancy Holmes, Northville; Kelsey-Jo Ritter, Owosso; Jenna Fredrickson, Rockford; Amanda Kmetz, St. Clair Shores Lake Shore; Amanda Putt, Tecumseh; Maddie Lagina, Traverse City Central; Maria Demarco, Troy Athens; Opal Randolph, Warren Woods-Tower; and Julie Harkins, Waterford Kettering.
Other Class A boys finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Alex Borchert, Alpena; Alex L. Givens, Bay City Western; Matthew Cavanaugh, Caledonia; Ryan J. Houska, Detroit Catholic Central; Michael J. Pienta, Detroit Catholic Central; Patrick T. Burks, Flushing; Bryan Patrick Cenko, Grosse Pointe South; Robert James Collison, Grosse Pointe South; Ryan Whittum, Livonia Churchill; Stephen B. Ostrowski, Plymouth; Thomas Ronald Casey, Rochester Adams; Andrew J. Harte, St. Johns; Jason Gargrave, Sterling Heights; Richard Powell, Warren Cousino; Jeffrey McMahon, Warren DeLaSalle; Jeffrey Spicuzzi, Warren DeLaSalle; and Andrew Ciennik, Waterford Mott.
Previously announced were the scholarship recipients in Classes B, C and D. The Class B Scholar-Athlete Award scholarship recipients are: Lindsay Lee Bo, Fruitport; Marisa Coury, Detroit Country Day; Brian Fiani, Detroit Country Day; Derek Harrington, Kingsford; Daniel Johns, Comstock Park; Andrew Plaska, Zeeland West ; Jennifer Schaafsma, East Grand Rapids; and Clarissa Tamez, Essexville Garber. The Class C Scholar-Athlete Award honorees are: Dustin R. Baker, St. Louis; Julie Fielder, Manchester; Sonny Gast, Bridgman; Zachary Putnam, Hale; Jessica A. Racine, Ishpeming-Westwood; and Conor Wolohan, Saginaw Nouvel. The Class D Scholar-Athlete Award scholarship recipients are: Joshua M. Campbell, Kingston; Christopher Ellenberger, Onaway Area; Melissa Hale, Atlanta; and Clara Leutheuser, Hillsdale Academy.
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.
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 1,800 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.
MEDIA ADVISORY -- A complete list of scholarship nominees and finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award can be found by clicking on the Recognition link on the home page of the MHSAA Web Site, and then clicking on Scholar-Athlete Award. Information about scholarship recipients will be posted on the MHSAA Web Site according to the schedule listed in this release, and media in the markets of the scholarship recipients will be notified the day before the public announcement. For more information about Farm Bureau Insurance, contact Luke Schafer, Public Relations Manager, at 517-323.7000. You can download the MHSAA’s Scholar-Athlete Award logo from the MHSAA Web Site – click on Forms & Graphics off the home page.
AT&T, Farm Bureau Insurance, Henry Ford Health System and MEEMIC Insurance