Contact:  John Johnson or Geoff Kimmerly
517.332.5046 or [email protected]

EAST LANSING, Mich.  – Feb. 7 – The Michigan High School Athletic Association has selected 10 student-athletes from Class C and D member schools to receive scholarships through its Scholar-Athlete Award program.

Farm Bureau Insurance, in its 23rd 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; also, 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 March 24 at the Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing. Commemorative medallions will be given to other finalists in recognition of their accomplishments.

The Class C Scholar-Athlete Award honorees are:  Jonathan Andrew Harper, Clare; Trevor Lewis, Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker; Sean McBrayer, Unionville-Sebewaing; Megan Kangas, Norway; Lena Madison, New Buffalo; and Elyse Ann Louise Starck, Morley-Stanwood.

The Class D Scholar-Athlete Award scholarship recipients are:  Seth Kintigh, Jackson Christian; Sabeek Pradhan, Hillsdale Academy; Kelsey Butcher, Morrice; and Jamie Lyn Seppanen, Eben Junction Superior Central.

Overviews of the scholarship recipients of the Class C Scholar-Athlete Award follow. A quote from each recipient's essay is also included:

Megan Kangas, Norway. Participated in cross country, basketball and track and field, and expects to finish high school with four varsity letters in each. Earned all-state honors in track as both a freshman and junior, and earned all-Upper Peninsula honors in cross country and basketball. Served as team captain her final two seasons of cross country and earned academic all-state in that sport. Four-year member of student council and president this school year, and two-year member of Youth Advisory Committee and National Honor Society. Received various academic accolades from her school and a Certificate of Merit from the Society of Women Engineers. Named prom queen as a junior and Miss Norway as a senior. Will attend the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and study medical technology.

Essay Quote: “Sportsmanship is more than shaking hands with the other players after the game. It’s appreciating the game for what it is and loving it. If you can’t handle losing and appreciate the effort of your opponent, then maybe you don’t deserve the feeling of victory.”

Lena Madison, New Buffalo. Played four years of basketball, three years plus part of her freshman season on varsity in volleyball, and expects to finish this spring with her fourth letter in track and field. Won the Division 4 MHSAA championship in discus as a junior and holds the school record in that event. Earned all-league recognition for both volleyball and basketball, and academic all-state honors in the former. Served the last two years on the MHSAA Student Advisory Council. Serving as president of the senior class after serving as vice president of the junior class. Three-year member of both the National Honor Society and Spanish National Honor Society. Volunteered for various church and community efforts, including as a youth coach, and participated in multiple mission trips. Will attend the University of Notre Dame and study pre-medical.

Essay Quote: “It is amazing how a kind word, an act of tolerance, a smile, or a pat on the back can instantly reverse what was turning into an ugly episode of poor sportsmanship into just another moment of heated competition. … Doing these kinds of things are definitely not always the easiest things to do, but they are almost always the right things to do.”

Elyse Ann Louise Starck, Morley-Stanwood. Participated in cross country, basketball, track and field and volleyball in high school, and anticipates graduating with nine varsity letters. Received all-league honors in track and field, basketball and cross country, and Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan all-state recognition in that sport twice. Served as captain of her cross country and sub-varsity volleyball teams. Four-year member of marching band including the last two as drum major, and award recipient for violin and clarinet solo performances. Three-year National Honor Society member and senior class treasurer. Volunteered in various community and church efforts, including as a youth coach. Undecided on where she will attend college, but plans to study nursing.

Essay Quote: “There is a lot to learn in athletics – how working together leads to that main goal toward the end of the season, or, the harder you work as an individual not only helps the team but has personal benefits as well. It’s a kind of sportsmanship that isn’t always recognized, but really makes an impact in long run. It shows that you do not need to have an audience to “act” like a good sport. Just be one when no one is watching.”

Jonathan Andrew Harper, Clare. Participated in varsity track and field, cross country and soccer and played one season of junior varsity basketball. Qualified for MHSAA Finals in both track and field and cross country, and this fall posted the sixth-fastest MHSAA Finals cross country time in school history (16:29). Earned all-state in both cross country and track in 2011. Also named academic all-state in cross country and track. Served as treasurer and worship leader in Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Member of National Honor Society for two years and recipient of various academic awards both at Clare and as a freshman at Salem. Qualified for national fine arts competitions for vocal, musical composition and performance, and drama. Participated in band for four years and student government as a senior. Will attend Oral Roberts University and intends to study communication arts education with a minor in worship leadership.

Essay Quote: “We have a saying in cross country that we go by: ‘Earn your tan.’ We had all put in the hard work in the offseason (earning our tan in the summer), and we all deserved to go to states as a team. See, that’s what sportsmanship is: when you realize that it’s not all about you. It’s about your team. The unity, the inside jokes, the brotherhood.”

Trevor Lewis, Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker. Anticipates graduating with 10 varsity letters after participating in soccer, basketball, golf and baseball. Served as captain for soccer, basketball and baseball teams and was member of league and District champion golf teams. Earned all-league recognition for soccer, and honored as an all-league scholar athlete in all four sports. Serving as both senior class president and National Honor Society chapter president as a senior, and served as secretary for seven-school Youth Advisory Committee. All-state in forensics as a freshman, when he also participated in a Michigan State University Land Policy Institute nine-week internship. Volunteered for various church and community efforts. Will attend Michigan State University and study pre-medical.

Essay Quote: “As role models, it is imperative that we show the younger athletes who aspire to one day play at the varsity level that winning isn’t everything. Aside from the obvious physiological benefits of exercise, it is the simplest way to influence young minds to adopt commendable qualities of honor, humility, discipline and respect for each other and for authority, some of the universally accepted attributes a person should have. In short, the purpose of a sport is to teach not the physical skills, but the deeper meaning of sportsmanship.”

Sean McBrayer, Unionville-Sebewaing. Expects to graduate with three letters apiece for soccer, basketball and baseball. Received all-league recognition and served as a team captain in all three sports, and earned all-state honorable mention twice for soccer. Also named an all-league scholar athlete in all three sports. Served as member of National Honor Society for two years and has logged more than a combined 70 hours of volunteer service for NHS and People Helping People over the last four school years, while also assisting in various other school, community and church volunteer efforts. Played first trumpet in school band for three years. Will attend Central Michigan University and study pre-medical.

Essay Quote: “It is an understatement to say that I have always struggled with sportsmanship. … As I approached my final years in high school sports at USA, I began to realize that I was my own biggest enemy. I allowed my world to narrow to only my disappointments and failures, making my goals and dreams even more difficult to attain. … Now I consider those around me as well. As captain of my teams, do I make my teammates around me better players?”

Other Class C girls finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Brandy Bowers, Springport; Cayla Broton, Hesperia; Emily Crick, East Jordan; Lauren Dietrich, Gobles; Rachel Leightner, Springport; Rachel McEwen, Marlette; Karley Sauder, Marlette; Kelcey Stauffer, Sandusky; and Isabella Yzerman, Bloomfield Hills Academy of the Sacred Heart.

Other Class C boys finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Zachary French, Ishpeming Westwood; Dakota M. Hard, Quincy; Ryan Hook, Delton Kellogg; Kolby Lange, Marlette; Gregory Long, Sand Creek; David Powers, Jr., Michigan Center; Benjamin Rebertus, Negaunee; Dirk E. Stoneman, Breckenridge; and Ryan Watson, Delton Kellogg.

Overviews of the scholarship recipients of the Class D Scholar-Athlete Award follow. A quote from each recipient's essay is also included:

Kelsey Butcher, Morrice. Played volleyball and basketball, ran cross country and participated in track and field over her high school career, and anticipates graduating with nine varsity letters. Seven-time all-stater for track and field and holder of five school records in that sport. Co-captain of that team and Orioles’ volleyball team. All-league first-team selection for volleyball in the fall, and academic all-state selection for both volleyball and track and field. Named 2011 Shiawassee County Outstanding Female Champion of Champions. Four-year member of student council and secretary of executive student council. Vice President of National Honors Society. Volunteered for various church, charity and community efforts. Anticipates graduating with perfect attendance through high school. Named Homecoming Queen during the fall. Will attend Saginaw Valley State University and intends to study occupational therapy.

Essay Quote: “I purposely did not look up the word “sportsmanship” in the dictionary as to not deviate from my own thoughts and meaning of that important word. Sportsmanship to me is broken down into two words: “manship” and “sports.” It’s about uniting who you are as a person or your good character to the sport(s) you play.”

Jamie Lyn Seppanen, Eben Junction Superior Central. Competed in cross country, volleyball, basketball, softball and track and field during high school, and anticipates graduating with 13 varsity letters. Named all-state for cross country and received all-league recognition for volleyball and basketball, also serving as a captain for those latter two teams. Served on student council three years including as secretary twice. Selected for National Honor Society for three years and served as treasurer for one. Participated in both choir and band and was a first-chair percussionist for two years. Volunteered in various community and sports efforts. Will attend Ferris State University and study radiography.

Essay Quote: “(Sportsmanship) means more than shaking hands with a rival team after a loss because you must according to the rules, but shaking their hands with a smile on your face and respect for the game they played. You can go through the actions, but you aren’t truly demonstrating sportsmanship unless you’re sincere about it. Respect and kindness on the court, on the track, or in the ring will carry over into your future, providing you with a good basis to be successful in your career and personal life. “

Seth Kintigh, Jackson Christian. Played varsity soccer, basketball, baseball and competed in track and field during his high school career, and anticipates graduating with 14 varsity letters. Earned all-league recognition in soccer, basketball and baseball, made the all-state first team in soccer this fall, and earned academic all-state in both basketball and soccer while also serving as team captain in all three sports. Three-year member of National Honor Society, and member of the OCS Mathematics team that finished first in Advanced Math-Euler Division. Student body president as a junior. Volunteer in various efforts including as lead instructor for Red Cross Water Swim, and participated in a soccer mission trip to Guatemala. Will attend Indiana Wesleyan University and begin with general studies before deciding on a major; he also will play soccer.

Essay Quote: “Sportsmanship is important because it is what helps keep the playing field clean. … In addition, it is important because it helps build team and community within a school and between neighboring communities. It is important because it teaches us about how to manage competitive relationships.”

Sabeek Pradhan, Hillsdale Academy. Ran varsity cross country all four years of high school and anticipates running his fourth season of track and field this spring. Served as cross country captain during the fall and finished his career in that sport with school records for single-season and career improvement. Earned black belt in karate. Achieved a 4.0 grade-point average and perfect 36 score on his ACT, and is a National Merit Award semifinalist and national AP Scholar with Distinction. Received multiple accolades for his work in student government, quiz bowl, piano and musical composition, and oratory. Won Proposal of the Year at the Michigan Youth in Government statewide conference, and represented Michigan at national conferences in both Texas and North Carolina. Undecided on where he will attend college, but plans to study mathematics.

Essay Quote: “With time, championships and records lose their importance. What remains important is what those championships represent. .... True sportsmanship, the emphasis on working to improve oneself and use competition to bring out one’s best, is paramount. It isn’t merely an effect of educational athletics; it is the essence.”

Other Class D girls finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Haley Buckey, Caseville; Quinnlin Daily, Kingston; Natalija Galens, Watervliet Grace Christian; Haley Moore, Kinde-North Huron; Margaret Aileen Ryan, Hillsdale Academy; and Alexandria Whitman, Fulton.

Other Class D boys finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Evan Chalker, Buckley; Evan Dhyse, Kinde-North Huron; Timothy Logghe, Peck; Joseph Nugent, Frankfort; Adam Plumstead, Frankfort; and Benjamin Ross, Lawrence.

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 14, and the Class A honorees will be announced on February 21.

Farm Bureau Insurance, one of Michigan's major insurers, has a statewide force of more than 400 agents serving more than 380,000 Michigan policyholders. Besides providing life, home, auto, farm, business and retirement insurance, the company also sponsors life-saving, real-time Doppler weather tracking systems in several Michigan communities.              

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 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.


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