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

EAST LANSING, Mich.  – Feb. 14 – The Michigan High School Athletic Association has selected nine student-athletes from Class B 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. Of Class B honorees, four are girls and five are boys – with the fifth one of the at-large selections.

Each scholarship recipient will be honored during a halftime ceremony at 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 B Scholar-Athlete Award honorees are:  Sara Marie Barron, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep; Kathryn MacDermid Bollman, Williamston; Julie Buursma, Holland Christian; Rachel Neumann, Flint Powers Catholic; Jordan S. Daley, Grand Rapids Christian; Craig Zebell, Dowagiac Union; Andrew Kelley, Allegan; Nathaniel P. Gaynor, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep; and Nicolas Huston Parnell, Spring Lake.

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

Sara Marie Barron, Pontiac Notre Dame Preparatory. Expects to graduate with nine varsity letters, including four each in track and field and cross country. Won MHSAA Division 2 Track and Field Finals championship in the 800-meter run in 2011 after finishing runner-up in 2010, and also was all-state as part of her team’s 1,600 relay. Qualified for MHSAA Finals in that sport six times, and broke the Catholic High School League's 27-year-old 1,600 run record with a time of 4:59.73 – one of five school records she holds alone or as part of a relay. Qualified for the MHSAA Finals all four cross country seasons and was both a Regional champion and all-state this fall. Served as cross country captain her final two seasons. Named academic all-state in track and field the last two seasons. Carries a grade-point average above 4.0 and is a member of the National Honor Society. Received multiple high honors for vocal performance and played multiple lead roles in school and community theater productions. Participated in various volunteer efforts including as a coach for the YMCA’s Girls on the Run. Undecided on where she will attend college, but plans to study business and pre-law.

Essay Quote – “Since I began running, I’ve never met a competitor I didn’t like. Before the race, we are all huddled together ready to be placed, wishing each other good luck and trying to calm each other’s nerves. It feels like we are all in the race together, instead of against each other. Even though I have a high competitive streak and strive to win, I never resent someone who beats me, but look up to them with admiration and am motivated to beat them in the future.”

Kathryn MacDermid Bollman, Williamston. Earned all-league in cross country all four years for teams that won their league all four seasons, Regionals twice, qualified for the MHSAA Finals three times and finished among the top four in their division twice. Also has earned three letters in track and field. Earned multiple track and field honors on teams that have won league and Regional championships three times, and ran on a 3,200-meter relay that placed 11th at its MHSAA Final. Serving as president of her school’s chapter of the National Honors Society and coach of her school’s math team. Awarded “Best Delegate” at multiple Model United Nations conferences and a variety of accolades, including a fourth place nationally, at Business Professionals of America competitions. Participated and led various community and church volunteer efforts, and took a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. Undecided on where she will attend college, but plans to study economics.

Essay Quote – “Although times may be immortalized in the record books and places may be honored by trophies, the most lasting rewards in athletics are the invisible and intangible benefits we receive in the form of life lessons. … The sportsmanship learned by high school athletes translates into a greater love for mankind. Sportsmanship is the recognition of a common walk in life; when the race begins, we are all pushing through common pain to reach our goals.”

Julie Buursma, Holland Christian. Earned all-league and all-area honors in both volleyball and tennis, and will play for her fourth all-area tennis honor this spring. Also made all-state and won a Regional championship in tennis. Served as team captain for both teams. Continues to be active in a number of school and community volunteer efforts, including as a leader in her community’s “Stay Drug Free” campaign; and has visited Alaska, South Dakota, Tennessee and Costa Rica on leadership or church mission trips. Won multiple awards in a school-wide poetry contest and also has been active in both choir and band.  Remains undecided on where she will attend college and what she will study.

Essay Quote – “Sportsmanship is a choice. It’s deciding that integrity and attitude are more important than competition. It’s deciding to enjoy a sport the way it was meant to be played. It’s deciding to respect yourself, your team, and your opponents. Because, as nice as winning might feel, it is more important to consider others better than yourself.”

Rachel Neumann, Flint Powers Catholic. Finishing her fourth season skiing and will play her third varsity season of tennis this spring. Serving as team captain of her ski team for the second consecutive season and had earned all-region recognition in both sports. Also earned academic all-league her first three years of high school and has ranked among the top five in her class after each of those years. Received multiple academic accolades including the Society of Women Engineers Madame Curie Excellence in Math and Science Award and the University of Rochester Susan B. Anthony Award for Social Justice. Earned status as Advanced Scuba Diver from the National Association of Underwater Instructors. Will attend the University of Michigan and study biomedical engineering.

Essay Quote –“From my experience participating in high school athletics, sportsmanship has helped me come to a greater appreciation of the game I play. Good sports play for the love of the game and not merely for recognition. … Good sports recognize the person in their opponent, instead of only seeing them as an opposing force to overcome and defeat.”

Jordan S. Daley, Grand Rapids Christian. Finishing his third varsity season on the basketball team and will run his fourth season of track and field this spring. Earned all-league and all-area recognition in hoops and was the Most Valuable Player of the 2010 Cornerstone University Holiday Tournament. Served as a track and field captain as a junior. Selected by classmates to represent his class both on student congress and Homecoming court, and selected by teachers to train and serve as a peer listener as both a junior and senior. Participated in a number of volunteer programs as a coach and served as a representative to the “Believe to Become” Doug and Maria DeVos Foundation Initiative. Played in the school orchestra as a freshman and sophomore, and also played soccer as a freshman. Undecided where he will attend college, but intends to study psychology.

Essay Quote –“Learning how to be a good sport throughout adverse and frustrating situations in sports has helped me to grow in my understanding of how to deal with adverse situations in my life outside of sports. … By learning to follow the rules in the games we lose, we also learn to follow the rules in the game of life.”  

Nathaniel P. Gaynor, Pontiac Notre Dame Preparatory. Planning to play his second season of varsity lacrosse this spring and also played two varsity seasons of soccer. Served as a captain in both sports; his soccer team was a Catholic League finalist in the fall, and his lacrosse team was an MHSAA Semifinalist last spring. Earned league all-academic honors for soccer. Holds a grade-point average above 4.0 and has received accolades for achievement in a number of academic subjects, musical theater and choir. Serving as a student council executive board member and is a three-year member of the National Honor Society. Received both the St. Timothy Award (Archdiocese of Detroit) for outstanding community service and the American Citizenship Award in 2011, and has participated in a variety of church and volunteer activities. Will attend the University of Michigan and study journalism.

Essay Quote –“Team sports are more than just a way to make new friends and keep in shape physically. They teach more than just game strategies and tactics. Being part of a team challenges you as a person to stretch beyond your comfortable limits and place the team objectives above your own personal challenges.”

Andrew Kelley, Allegan. Earned all-state honors in wrestling the last two seasons and this weekend won his individual District to improve to 48-3 this winter. Also made second-team all-league as a linebacker in the fall as his team’s leading tackler and earned all-league honorable mention last spring in baseball. Serving as captain of his wrestling team and will serve as captain of the baseball team. Serving as a class officer for the third year – he is the treasurer after serving as class president as both a freshman and junior.  Also is a three-year member of the National Honor Society. Coaches and officiates in local youth wrestling and baseball programs. Has been published and won awards for his poetry and personal narrative. Will attend Aquinas College and study social work.

Essay Quote – “I have learned that the athletes who can learn to hold their composure are the ones that will have true sportsmanship and an overall love for the game. Through my experiences in sports, I feel that I have grown into a person that will always uphold true sportsmanship. … I have learned to let some things go, to take a deep breath and do the right thing.”

Nicolas Huston Parnell, Spring Lake. Earned four varsity tennis letters and will play his third season of varsity golf this spring; also played varsity hockey as a sophomore, when he served as that team’s assistant captain. Has qualified for the MHSAA Finals in both tennis and golf, and earned all-state honorable mention in tennis this fall. Served or serving in a number of school and community leadership positions, including as student council executive vice president, National Honor Society president and Youth Advisory Council co-chairperson. Participated in various volunteer efforts, including the Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity and as both a peer mentor and tutor. Undecided on where he will attend college, but intends on studying pre-professional studies in the medical sciences.

Essay Quote –“Essentially, sportsmanship is the ability to stand poised regardless of the outcome. Win, lose or draw, an athlete needs to display humility, integrity and a good sense of humor. This mentality applies to all walks of life.”

Craig Zebell, Dowagiac Union. Earned four varsity letters and all-state honors three times for the soccer team, and served as a captain as both a junior and senior. Helped basketball team to MHSAA Class B Semifinals as a junior and also is on the team this winter. Named his school’s Outstanding Freshman Athlete. Also earned academic all-state for soccer and received academic awards of excellence each of his first three years of high school. Selected as a representative to multiple leadership conferences and is a four-year member of the student senate – serving as vice president this year. Traveled for mission trips to Peru three times and Zambia once. Will attend Moody Bible Institute and study either sports ministry or international studies.

Essay Quote – “I have learned that if a player has an incredible talent but lacks sportsmanship, then he won’t leave a lasting legacy. I feel that sportsmanship is what makes a good athlete into an even better one, and sportsmanship isn’t to be displayed only in games, but also in practice and in life.”

Other Class B girls finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Kristin Gilbert, Hopkins; Hannah Grischke, Williamston; Sarah Hartley, Birch Run; Emily Kendro, Spring Lake; Nathalie Kenny, Manistee; Keara Kilbane, Hopkins; Laurin Masnari, Three Rivers; Erin Moser, Midland Bullock Creek; Brianne Nowak-Scott, Tecumseh; Emily Oren, Hamilton; Miranda Scott, Charlotte; and Kaitlyn Stevens, Ovid-Elsie.

Other Class B boys finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Griffin Dean, Grayling; Mason E. Geno, Essexville Garber; Jeffrey John Gregory, Kingsford; Nathaniel Ferris Iveson, Middleville Thornapple Kellogg; Nathan Kossey, Tecumseh; Joseph Longstreet, Hastings; Dan Macalka, Comstock Park; Dillon McCarthy, Whitehall; Jacob Mineau, Marysville; Caleb Pung, Portland; and Alan Zhen, Livonia Clarenceville.

Class C and D scholarship award recipients were announced Feb. 7, and the Class A honorees will be announced Feb. 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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