Thank You for Standing Up for 'Oxford Strong'

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

April 21, 2022

The MHSAA recently received the following letter from Oxford athletic director Tony DeMare, thanking the tens of thousands across Michigan who contributed to the nearly $310,000 recently presented to Oxford student-athletes as part of this winter's "Oxford Strong" efforts.

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Teamwork and camaraderie are words that are often associated with Athletics. Seeing those words personified is sometimes a rarity. However, we all witnessed firsthand those words coming to fruition right before our eyes.

On February 4th, you were competitors, neighbors, friends, teammates and, uniquely, you were all “Oxford Wildcats.” Together, we stood, cheered, sang and played. And because we were on the same team, we did those things in unison.

It was not magic; nor was it a collection of Superheroes. It was simply our student-athletes, coaches, officials, administrators, faculty, staff and greater communities putting their hearts on full display.

Please know that those of us in Oxford saw you and heard you all very clearly. For that, we are beyond humbled. It is important for you to know that your efforts went directly to the victims of the unspeakable tragedy.

Oxford StrongEvery effort and gesture that has been extended to the Oxford community has helped us. This was the ultimate expression of the phrase, “We have your back!”

The unparalleled power of School Sports should never be underestimated. It is impactful and even life-altering. School Sports is organically educational, and it molds each of us in ways we could never imagine.

In Oxford, we have come to know that love and support transcend hate and fear. This has allowed our student-athletes and coaches to overcome when they thought it might not be possible. They are now learning, training, preparing and competing again, and you have helped make that happen.

Thank you for being “All In” and thank you for “Standing Up For Oxford!”


Tony DeMare


The “Oxford Strong” effort to support Oxford Community Schools this winter showed that the Michigan’s athletic community is much more tightly-knit than might be expected from a state with 750 MHSAA-member high schools.

Schools all over Michigan rallied to raise nearly $310,000 for the district and its student-athletes as they continue to mourn the deaths of four classmates during a shooting at the high school Nov. 30.

E.A. Graphics, based in Sterling Heights, printed and provided T-shirts and sweatshirts for sale in communities and then donated the price of the apparel, after costs, directly to Oxford High School student-athletes and their community. Many of these were purchased in advance of “Oxford Strong” games Feb. 4 or later that month. A check was presented to Oxford for $302,000 at last month’s Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association annual conference, with additional donations then augmenting the total.

“Unbelievable, the whole thing, and how well received it was, and everything that transpired over January and February – to me, it was really the power of sport. In times of crisis, our athletic community rallied together to support one of our member schools,” said Royal Oak athletic director Brian Gordon, who with the Oakland Activities Association (of which Oxford is a member) was among primary organizers of the event along with the Kensington Lakes Activities Association and Detroit Catholic High School League.

“The support of the MHSAA and Mark Uyl’s staff getting behind our effort, supporting us and getting the word out, as well as the MIAAA with Karen Leinaar jumping on board. And most of all Bob Artymovich and E.A. Graphics; without his support and generosity, this whole initiative does not exist.”

Oxford Strong

PHOTO From left: MIAAA president Nikki Norris, Royal Oak athletic director Brian Gordon, E.A. Graphics president Bob Artymovich, E.A. Graphics vice president of sales and marketing Rich Artymovich, Oxford athletic director Tony DeMare and MIAAA past president Jeff Kline hold up the check presented to "Oxford Strong" during last month's MIAAA annual conference. (File photo.) 

Applications Available for 2022-23 Scholar-Athlete Awards

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

October 26, 2022

One of the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s most popular programs, the Scholar-Athlete Award, will again with Farm Bureau Insurance present 32 $2,000 scholarships to top student-athletes at member high schools during the 2022-23 school year.

The MHSAA/Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete Award highlights the value extracurricular activities play in the total education of high school students, often improving their academic achievements in the process. The Scholar-Athlete Award is in its 34th year. Since the award’s inception in 1988-89, Farm Bureau Insurance has presented $960,000 in scholarships through this program.

The first 30 scholarships will be presented on a graduated basis across the MHSAA’s traditional class structure. From Class A schools, six boys and six girls will receive scholarships; from Class B schools, four boys and four girls; from Class C schools, three boys and three girls; and from Class D schools, two boys and two girls will be honored. The final two scholarships will be awarded at-large to minority recipients, regardless of school size. The scholarships may be used at the institution of higher learning the recipients attend during the first year at those colleges.

Applications from individual schools will be limited to the number of available scholarships in their enrollment class. Class A schools may submit the names of six boys and six girls, Class B schools may submit four boys and four girls, Class C may submit three boys and three girls and Class D may submit two boys and two girls.

Students applying for Scholar-Athlete Awards must be graduating during the 2022-23 school year, be carrying an unrounded 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) grade-point average and have won a varsity letter in a sport in which the MHSAA sponsors a postseason tournament: baseball, girls and boys basketball, girls and boys bowling, girls competitive cheer, girls and boys cross country, football, girls and boys golf, girls gymnastics, ice hockey, girls and boys lacrosse, girls and boys skiing, girls and boys soccer, softball, girls and boys swimming & diving, girls and boys tennis, girls and boys track & field, girls volleyball and wrestling.

Applicants will be required to show involvement in other school and community activities and submit an essay on the importance of sportsmanship in educational athletics. 

Information – including answers to a number of frequently asked questions – and links to the application are available online on the Scholar-Athlete Award page. Applications are available in digital format only and must be submitted online by 4 p.m. Dec. 2.

A committee composed of school administrators from across the state will select finalists and winners in late January, with the winners to be announced throughout February. All applicants, finalists and scholarship recipients will be announced on the MHSAA Website. The 32 scholarship recipients will be recognized during the 2023 MHSAA Boys Basketball Finals at the Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing.

Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan was founded in 1949 by Michigan farmers who wanted an insurance company that worked as hard as they did. Those values still guide the company today and are a big reason why it is known as Michigan’s Insurance Company, dedicated to protecting the farms, families, and businesses of this great state. Farm Bureau Insurance agents across Michigan provide a full range of insurance services—life, home, auto, farm, business, retirement, Lake Estate®, and more— protecting more than 660,000 Michigan residents.

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 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 more than 1.3 million spectators each year.