NCHSAA announces Charlie Adams Endowed Scholarship winners


CHAPEL HILL – The North Carolina High School Athletic Association is pleased to announce the 2016 recipients of the Charlie Adams Endowed Scholarship, an award honoring former executive director of the NCHSAA. Kaitlyn Carringer of Robbinsville High School and Dante Veltri from Carrboro High School were named the winners of the $1,500 scholarship.

Carringer, a cross country and track team member at Robbinsville, has a history of involvement in community service projects from the state Special Olympics to Make-a-Wish Foundation fundraising. After reading an article in the local newspaper about the hunger rate in her county, Carringer founded the Knights’ Pantry, an organization that helps provide weekend snack packs for middle school and high school students in Graham County.

The daughter of two educators, Carringer plans to attend Milligan College and study History Education and Business with plans to follow in her parents’ footsteps as a teacher and a coach. She said, “My parents taught me that life is like an athletic event in that success isn’t simply measured by the ending score, but rather by my ability to make a difference in my community and those who are watching the game.”

Her high school guidance counselor, Crystal Cody, described Carringer’s work ethic as extraordinary noting, “She has continually maintained very high personal standards in relation to her grades and have never settled for less than her personal best.” Cody continued, “Her willingness to learn, her enthusiasm, and her high personal standards have made her greatly admired by the faculty of the high school. We know she will be extremely successful in her chosen career.”

Dante Veltri is a senior wrestling team captain from Carrboro High School who finished his wrestling career as the Conference Wrestler of the Year and an All-Conference performer. Veltri’s story is one of persistence in the face of adversity.

As a freshman he competed in the NCHSAA Wreslting Championships, and finished the season with a record of 32-11, but short of his goal of a state championship. Shortly before his sophomore season, Veltri was diagnosed with stage IV Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and was told he would not be able to compete that season.

Even in his year away from wrestling, Veltri continued to train to the best of his ability during treatments. He would walk laps in the hospital hallways or run miles in his neighborhood. Upon his return to competition during his junior year, Veltri placed fourth in the State Championships, and he continues to maintain lofty goals for himself of competing at the NCAA and International levels of the sport.

Veltri said, “Being a part of wrestling has allowed me to be a part of something bigger than myself, which helps me stay focused on succeeding.” Veltri is still examining his college options as he hopes to be able to continue his wrestling career with a few NCAA Division I opportunities available.

Carrboro Guidance Counselor, Bari Sholomon, described a young man very focused and driven saying, “He pushed through illness and difficulties in his home life to not only survive but to also succeed!” Sholomon told of a project Veltri and his mother helped start with the wrestling team’s support, “Due to his frightening bout with cancer, Dante and his mom decided to reach out and help others who are also suffering from this disease. He and his mom felt that all of the children would enjoy games to help cope with the time that they have to spend in the hospital." The wrestling community rallied around Dante and the drive that they termed “Take Down Cancer Drive” collecting board games for the North Carolina Children’s Hospital.

The Charlie Adams Endowed Scholarship was created in honor of Charlie Adams, former executive director of the NCHSAA, for his more than 40 years of dedication to helping the boys and girls of North Carolina by offering opportunities to participate in athletics. The female award is given in honor of his daughter, Michelle Adams Szwajkun, who participated at Chapel Hill High School on the cross-country team, including a spot on the 1984 state championship team. The male award is given in memory of Charlie Adams’ son, C. Scott Adams, who wrestled at Chapel Hill High and was the first Tiger to compete in the state wrestling championships, finishing fourth overall.