Foot Locker Scholar Athletes
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE CLASS OF 2012-2013
Congratulations to the 2012-2013 Foot Locker Scholar Athlete winners. They each received $20,000 for demonstrating excellence in school, on their sports team, and in their communities.
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Sport(s): Tennis, Golf, Softball
College: Wheaton College
Amanda Brazell is the captain of her school’s tennis team. After the tragic loss of a close friend to cancer, Amanda committed herself to fundraising efforts and awareness campaigns--going as far as shaving her head as a physical symbol of her support. She also rose over $3,000 by selling t-shirts and bracelets in memory of her friend. Amanda has been accepted to Wheaton College and remains undecided on her major.
Location: Yuba City, California
Sport(s): Field Hockey, Rugby
Bethany Morrow attributes her drive and success to the strength she gained from her difficult experience in foster care throughout her childhood. Recognizing (from her own personal experience) that most foster children are often forced to put their belongings in garbage bags moving from home to home, Bethany started Project Suitcase, an initiative which provides suitcases to foster care children in her community. Through this program, she has donated 100 suitcases and is working with her community’s Youth Advisory Council to keep the project active when she heads to college. Bethany, who describes herself as compassionate, honest, and respectful, would like to attend either University of Southern or University of California - LA to study Chemistry.
Location: Orchards, Washington
Sport(s): Track and Field
Chandller Putnam is a member of her high school’s track and field team. Outside of sports, she is actively involved in Big Brothers/Big Sisters, where she serves as a role model by mentoring elementary school students and sharing her experiences and advice with them. Chandller attributes her passion for the program to her large family. After dealing with difficult economic times, which led to a period of homelessness, she realized just how important her family is to her. Chandller also fosters hurt and neglected animals, which reflects her plan to study veterinary medicine in college.
Location: Glen Rose, Texas
Sport(s): Football, Basketball, Baseball, Track and Field
College: Tarleton State University
Cody Burtscher credits football for molding him into the man he has become. As captain of the team, he knew that he had to set a good example—both on the field and in the classroom—for the younger players and his friends. He explains that sports have taught him several values necessary to be successful, including: responsibility, courage, hard work, camaraderie, dedication and time management. Cody views hardship as mere obstacles in his path toward success. He attributes football for also teaching him perseverance, which enabled him to overcome one of the biggest obstacles of his life, his mother’s drug addiction during his childhood and early adolescence. Cody struggled and nearly failed out of middle school, but turned a corner when he reached high school. He realized that by responding negatively to the situation, he was only making things worse for himself. He used his mother’s problem as an incentive to aspire toward the highest goals, striving to achieve the life he never experienced growing up. His unique circumstances motivated Cody to establish a mentoring program for junior high school students who are at risk of failing out of school. In the fall, Cody will be attending Tarleton State University; he hopes to study physical therapy or pre-med.
Location: Miller, Missouri
College: Valparaiso University
Derrick Estell has realized success as an athlete by working hard and being committed to team work and sportsmanship. Through athletics, he has made many unforgettable memories with his friends and teammates, whom he regards as family. Growing up without a father, Derrick appreciates the strength he has gained from his fellow teammates and recognizes that his circumstances have helped to shape him into the person he is today. Derrick volunteers with the Peers as Leaders Program (PALs) at his school, helping students with their grades and dealing with bullying. He also works with pre-school children through his involvement with the A+ program. After performing his valedictorian duties at the end of this year, Derrick, who describes himself as an honest and ambitious leader, will attend Valparaiso University for civil engineering.
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Sport(s): Football, Basketball
As the first female quarterback on a tackle football team in the state of Florida, Erin DiMeglio has blazed a path all her own. While her initial intention wasn’t to break down gender barriers, Erin inevitably became an example for female athletes nationwide. More than anything, she has developed strong leadership qualities as a quarterback and also as a point guard on her school’s varsity basketball team. Erin, who describes herself as funny, hard-working, and positive, would like to study biology and, ultimately, become a sports medicine physician.
Location: Los Angeles, California
Sport(s): Soccer, Cross Country, Track and Field
Felix Ruano is an all-around athlete, participating in soccer, cross country, and track and field. Growing up in an underprivileged, inner-city community, Felix and his family were no strangers to economic struggles and hardship. In third grade, Felix joined the Hobart Shakespereans, led by renowned educator Rafe Esquith, which gifted him the opportunity to perform around the country in 20 states. Through this program, he was also accepted to a prestigious private school in Santa Monica. However, once there, he immediately felt alienated. Though the school touted a diverse student body, there was no one he identified with as the product of a middle-class, second-generation Latino family. Disheartened, he decided to leave and return to the public school in his community. It was the best decision he could have made. Felix became actively involved in extra-curricular activities at his new school. He took it upon himself to found and lead The Ambassador, the school’s monthly newspaper, which allows his peers to spread awareness and find solutions to real problems they face every day. The Ambassador was awarded LA Press Club’s Best High School Newspaper Award and 1st place in Southern California Journalism Education Association’s Annual write-off. Felix also works with The Students Voice Project, a non-profit organization that aims to leverage the achievement gap by establishing journalism programs where they are needed most. Through his involvement, he explains that he has become part of something much bigger—something that doesn’t just reach his school, but his entire city.
Location: Irvine, Texas
Sport(s): Golf, Swimming and Diving
College: Texas Christian University
As captain of the women’s varsity golf team, Hannah Pierce has learned that hard work, dedication, and team work pay off. Hannah was diagnosed with type 1 juvenile diabetes when she was six years old. Rather than letting her diagnosis stop her, she learned to lead a normal, healthy life. Additionally, inspired by her older sister who was born with cerebral palsy, she created the Wolf Pack P.A.L.S. (Positively Affecting Lives Socially) at her school. The program creates social opportunities for students with special needs while encouraging students to get to know the kids – seeing beyond their differences. P.A.L.S. has tremendously impacted the school community, with over 50 students volunteering weekly. Hannah, who describes herself as creative, outgoing, and a risk taker, plans to attend Texas Christian University to study nursing and hopes to become a neonatal nurse practitioner.
Location: Newark, New Jersey
Sport(s): Basketball, Tennis, Cross Country
Jelani Butler uses the lessons he has learned from basketball, tennis and cross country to help better his community. Growing up in inner-city Newark, Jelani has witnessed many of his peers succumb to negative pressures and the “wrong crowd.” Instead of falling to the same fate, Jelani has dedicated himself to bettering his community. He is a vital feature of the Partnership for Education in Newark (P.E. Newark), a program committed to public education, and serves as a student ambassador. Through this role, he helps give Newark students a voice and stands up for those in need. Jelani is also part of the W.E.B. Dubois Scholars Institute Program, sponsored by the Newark Board of Education, which he credits for helping him to become a positive role model and peer mentor to other young people. After funding was cut for the program, Jelani and his family organized a successful campaign to re-establish the program, raising enough money for the students who wanted to participate in the program. In college, Jelani hopes to study economics and risk management.
Location: Spring, Texas
John Bender is an effective role model, both inside and outside of the classroom. As point guard on his high school basketball team, his role is to set up the offense and defense properly. He explains that he has made some game-winning decisions (as well as some mistakes) but it is his effort and willingness that has earned him the respect of his teammates who view him as a leader. Outside of basketball, John has held the captain and president title of the Science Bowl Club for the past four years. Through the Club, he is involved in locating sponsorships, funding competition trips, marketing the Club to students, and running meetings. As captain and president, he is focused on helping the younger students become better and says that it his contagious energy and ability to communicate effectively that helps motivate and encourage his teammates to perform at their best. While John’s leadership qualities have developed over time through experience, he explains that it was when he was a junior in high school that his life truly changed. He began experiencing seizures and would have a minimum of seven daily, with a high of 22 (over the span of the year, he had roughly 317). After enduring months of torture, he was diagnosed with Pseudotumor Cerebri and was properly treated. Now, fully healed and off medication, John has the perseverance to fulfill all of his dreams. He says that this significant experience has made him a stronger person and has increased his inner strength tremendously. In college, John plans to pursue a dual major in engineering and economics.
Location: Ephrata, Pennsylvania
At the age of 16, Juliana Carvajal was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. While many would be disheartened with this diagnosis, especially at such a young age, Juliana used it as a motivator. She was encouraged to do more with her life and truly utilize each day to its absolute fullest. Juliana became more actively involved in her community, participated in sports, and worked harder in school. As a member of the lacrosse and field hockey teams, she has learned the importance of being a team player. She is also part of her school’s National Honors Society, which has taught her that hard work pays off. As part of the Honors Society, she organized a book drive for soldiers overseas and participated in various service projects, She explains that volunteering has taught her how altruism is really appreciated by the community and others. Even though she has been through a lot, Juliana maintains a positive attitude and says that she has the perseverance to strive toward any goal. In college, Juliana would like to major in pre-med, focusing on pediatric neurology.
Location: Williamsville, New York
Sport(s): Field Hockey, Dance, Track and Field
Katherine Zimmerman didn’t start playing field hockey until her junior year of high school but through her commitment and hard work, she secured a spot on her school’s team. Katherine’s dedication carries over to her other clubs, extracurricular activities, and school work. She explains that if you work hard enough, you will see results. Katherine is Vice President of Hands Around the World (HATW), a school club that works in partnership with World Hope International, a relief and development organization that assists communities suffering from poverty and injustice. Through this role, she has organized a number of fundraising events including Rock for Relief (a benefit concert), bi-monthly hot chocolate sales, bake sales, babysitting for elementary school parents, and t-shirt sales. She also volunteers with middle schools and has completed over 50 hours at Habitat for Humanity. In college, Katherine hopes to study biology and political science.
Location: Houston, Texas
Sport(s): Soccer, Cross Country
College: Texas A&M University
Luis Mata is a true leader on and off the field. Luis – who experienced bullying and significant language barriers when he first moved to the United States from Mexico at the age of 10 – is actively involved in the Peer Assistance Leadership Program. Through this organization, Luis serves as president and helps young students with any academic, emotional, or personal problems they might have. Through this role, he has dealt with various cases of bullying and has been able to stop the bullying before it escalated into something more serious. Luis has impacted several students by helping them raise their self-esteem and realize their full potential. Outside of his volunteer efforts, Luis is on the soccer and cross country teams. Luis, who is ranked 10th in his class, will be the first in his family to finish high school and go on to college. He credits his mother’s drive, perseverance, and selflessness as his inspiration to get him through all the trying times he has experienced. In the fall, he will attend Texas A&M where he plans to study engineering.
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Sport(s): Wrestling, Track and Field
College: Belmont University
Luke Putney is captain of his wrestling team, an excellent student, and an all-around leader. He can be described as accomplished but it is the fact that he developed blindness at the age of 12 (due to a brain disorder of cerebral anomalies) that makes him a true inspiration. Despite this challenge, Luke has impacted his community, and the world, in a meaningful way. Luke has spent much of his life in and out of the hospital but has found hope through music. Because of this, he launched the Atlanta chapter of Blue Star Connection, a charity that donates instruments to young patients with chronic or terminal illnesses at children’s hospitals. Through this program, Luke provides that same hope for other people. In addition, he founded “Wrestling for Wells,” which incorporates his passions for community service and wrestling. He raises funds to build wells in developing countries by asking his neighbors, friends and others within the community to pledge for every match he wins. Through his efforts, he has raised over $6,000 for a well in Sudan, Africa. Luke says that his disability has taught him strength, courage, and the ability to overcome obstacles. As a result, he has become a leader and has set a powerful example for those around him. In the fall, Luke will attend Belmont University where he can design his own major, combining law and music business.
Location: Bradenton, Florida
Sport(s): Football, Basketball, Baseball, Track and Field
Myles Johnson exemplifies excellence in school, in sports, and in his extracurricular activities. When he moved from Maryland to Florida, his mother enrolled him in inner-city football and basketball where he witnessed first-hand that his teammates didn’t care about anything but sports. Myles tried to lead by example and teach his peers that being smart, caring about school, and striving to better oneself, are just as important as sports. He started a study program before practice so kids could do their homework and if they needed help, he was there to work with them. He witnessed the students in the program grow into young men and move on to local high schools to play on their respective teams. Myles credits his mother for shaping him into the person that he is today and for teaching him the importance of giving back to the community. Four years ago, his mother became very ill and could no longer work, forcing him to grow up quickly. He was able to keep up with his high academic schedule, in addition to his sports and volunteer work (incidentally, he will have over 100 hours by the time he graduates). Myles hopes to one day start a non-profit organization called the MYLES Foundation (My Young Life Equals Safety), which will provide a place for underprivileged and abused children to study, play, and learn encouraging things about life… “a place where they can feel loved.”
Location: Orland Park, Illinois
Sport(s): Cross Country, Track and Field, Volleyball
College: University of Notre Dame
Patrick McMahon is an avid runner, captain of his high school cross country team, and four-time state qualifier. When he was two years old, he was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis (CF), a disease that affects the respiratory system. Incredibly, today Patrick’s lung function is above average, his life expectancy is normal, and he has no physical restrictions whatsoever. Furthermore, Patrick shares that CF has been his driving force; it is a huge part of what defines him as a person and it has given him an indomitable spirit and determined approach to life. He credits his parents for getting him involved in sports at a young age, which he believes has been critical to his success. Outside of sports, he is involved with the Boy Scouts of America, achieving the level of Eagle Scout in 2010, and the J. Kyle Braid (JKB) Leadership Foundation, an organization dedicated to teaching young people leadership skills so that they have the ability to influence, inspire, and impact teen issues and lifestyles. As a member of JKB, he has created, organized, and led several school fundraising events. Patrick plans to attend University of Notre Dame to study chemical engineering.
Location: Richmond, Virginia
When Ronald Terry started playing tennis it became an important outlet in his life. He grew up in a neighborhood where everyone had predetermined that his future would not be successful. Throughout his childhood, his mother and father both struggled with substance abuse and were in and out of jail. Instead of following in their footsteps, he was determined and motivated to prove everybody wrong. By the time he reached middle school, he had forged a different path for himself. He worked extremely hard both at tennis and school to ensure a bright future; Ronald is captain of the tennis team and maintains a 4.0 GPA. In addition to tennis, Ronald has a passion for giving back and helping others through his volunteer efforts. He is extremely driven and says that he lives by the motto, “It is not wanting to win that makes you a winner; it is refusing to fail.” He explains that his burning desire to win has put him on the road leading to victory. Ronald will be the first of his biological family to attend a four-year college.
Location: Denver, Colorado
Sara Rusta only started playing soccer in her freshman year of high school but she attributes the experience for shifting her perspective on life. It gave her the courage and strength to get through strenuous situations, including her father working abroad, and later getting sick, which led to economic hardships for the family. Furthermore, she credits soccer for teaching her about team work, leadership, and sportsmanship, and for giving her life greater purpose. Sara explains that by starting something new, her eyes were opened to all of the different opportunities available. As a result, she became involved with other activities within her community. She volunteers at the Metro North Denver Islamic Center and is also part of her school’s Wolf-Pack Leadership Team, where she collaborates with other students to better the environment through peer meditation, tutoring, mentoring, and anti-bullying programs. Sara describes herself as trustworthy and respectful and hopes to study engineering in college.
Location: Yuba City, California
Sport(s): Cross Country, Track and Field, Basketball
Swarnjit Boyal is both a talented runner and an inspirational advocate. He comes from immigrant parents and has seen first-hand the difficulties and hardships newly arrived immigrants face, which has motivated him to find a way to help. After volunteering at his local library, he developed a program that taught English to immigrants and assisted them in the path to become U.S. citizens. In his own life, he has overcome significant hardship but views running as an outlet. He believes that sports teach you the meaning of hard work, leadership and dedication and enables you to attain your goals if you are motivated and willing to work at them. Swarnjit is also involved with his school’s AVID program, which serves students (typically from low socio-economic backgrounds) who will become first generation college students. Swarnjit, the epitome of the AVID student, will be the first of his family to attend college.
Location: Franklin, Tennessee
Vivian Hao turned to tennis as a way to deal with grief after her father passed away. She practiced every day—allowing her to focus on something other than her father’s death—which steadily began to develop into a passion. In an effort to share her love for the sport, she organized a program that teaches children with special needs how to play tennis. She explains that by helping these individuals, she is giving back to the sport and to the tennis community which helped her through her own hard times. Vivian is also the director of SPEAK: A Movement to End the World’s Worst Atrocities. Within this role, she heads the fundraising efforts, raising money for student refugees from the genocide in Darfur. She also serves as Youth Advisory Council Chair of United Way and, through multiple fundraisers, raises about $6,000 each year to benefit local organizations.
Thank You For Signing Up For The Foot Locker Scholar Athletes Program
You will be notified on September 18 when the scholarship goes live
Thank You For Nominating a Stellar Athlete For The Foot Locker Scholar Athletes Program