By John Gillis
Special from NFHS
Hunter Gandee, a student-athlete at Temperance Bedford High School, has been selected as the 2017 Section 4 recipient of the “National High School Spirit of Sport Award” by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).
The National High School Spirit of Sport Award was created by the NFHS to recognize those individuals who exemplify the ideals of the spirit of sport that represent the core mission of education-based athletics.
The mark of a “good big brother” is often to what lengths he might go to assist his younger siblings.
That sense of familial assistance has perhaps never been taken to the extremes that Hunter Gandee has repeatedly done for his younger brother Braden.
A standout student, Hunter is a junior with a 3.92 grade-point average and a member of the National Honor Society.
On the sports side, Hunter is in his third season on the varsity wrestling team, and participates in Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling during the offseason. He's also a member of the MHSAA Student Advisory Council.
While those accomplishments are unquestionably outstanding, they might pale in comparison to what he has done for Braden.
Born with cerebral palsy, Braden has limited use of his legs. Nonetheless, Hunter has taken it upon himself to help Braden know what it feels like to walk long distances – and he’s done it three times. Organized for the purpose of raising awareness of cerebral palsy, Hunter literally carries Braden on his back for long walks known as “CP Swaggers.”
In 2014, Hunter carried Braden 40 miles from the Bedford Junior High School wrestling room to the University of Michigan’s Bahna Wrestling Center. The following year, they upped the trek’s mileage to 57 miles.
However, that couldn’t foreshadow what was to follow in April 2016 when Hunter carried Braden on his back an amazing 111 miles – some 14 miles more than the first two walks combined.
About the Award: The NFHS divides the nation into eight geographical sections. The states in Section 4 are Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin.
Nominations for this award were generated through NFHS member state associations and reviewed by the NFHS Spirit of Sport Award Selection Committee composed of state association staff members.
While the national winner will be recognized June 29 at the NFHS Summer Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, the section winners will be recognized within their respective states and will receive awards before the end of the current school year.
PHOTO: Hunter Gandee, second from right, carries his brother Braden as part of their effort to bring awareness to cerebral palsy. (Photo courtesy of The Cerebral Palsy Swagger.)
The Michigan High School Athletic Association’s annual Sportsmanship Summit series will return this fall to be conducted for the first time since 2019, again focusing on sportsmanship both on and off the field of play.
The MHSAA has conducted Sportsmanship Summits across Michigan for more than 20 years, and this year’s series kicks off Nov. 7 in Marquette and finishes Nov. 16 in Ypsilanti.
MHSAA staff, with assistance from school administrators and the MHSAA Student Advisory Council, conduct Sportsmanship Summits. More than 800 students are expected to take part in the four workshops, where they will discuss the line that separates good from bad sportsmanship, both as athletes during competition and when it comes to cheering at athletic events.
Workshop sessions will feature hands-on activities including one session developed and instructed by members of the Student Advisory Council. At the end of the day the delegation from each participating school will meet to develop a school sportsmanship campaign. Breakouts at each Summit also provide a great opportunity for student sections to learn about appropriate student section behavior. There will be information for the veteran student sections, as well as guides for schools that want to start their own organized student sections for the first time.
“Winning is great, but good sportsmanship helps develop habits that can be used well beyond the playing field,” said MHSAA assistant director Andy Frushour, the lead Sportsmanship Summits presenter. “A lively student section can create a fun and exciting atmosphere at games, but we want to make sure students don’t take this a step too far. The Summits are a great way to learn from other schools around the state.”
Sessions will take place at the following:
• Marquette – Nov. 7 – NMU Northern Center – 9 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
• Saginaw – Nov. 9 – SVSU Conference Center – 9 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
• Grand Rapids – Nov. 14 – Sheraton Grand Rapids Airport Hotel – 9 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
• Ypsilanti – Nov. 16 – Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest – 9 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Registration at each site is limited to the first 225 students and administrators. Schools are welcome to bring as many as 10 total representatives, including two administrators. For additional registration information, contact Andy Frushour at the MHSAA office – email@example.com or (517) 332-5046. Registration information also is available on the MHSAA Website.