CHAPEL HILL—Noah Thompson of Western Alamance High School and Hannah Wilkins of Cedar Ridge High School in Hillsborough have won top honors in the third NCHSAA Scholar-Athlete essay contest.
The NCHSAA Scholar-Athlete program, powered by the North Carolina National Guard, is one of the Association’s most popular voluntary programs and recognizes excellence in the classroom as well as on the playing court or field.
As part of the program, the NCHSAA offered the essay contest, with student-athletes submitting a 400-word essay answering the question “How has becoming a Scholar-Athlete made a positive impact in your school/community?, with one male and one female winner being chosen from the pool of entries.
There were over 75 submissions representing 43 different high schools across the state, the most entries ever received in one of the NCHSAA essay contests. The winners received a Fitbit Flex fitness wristband and a gift pack from the NCHSAA.
Thompson, a senior who competed in soccer and swimming, wrote about how his involvement in athletics led him to participate in programs such as SASI (Student Athlete Summer Institutes) and his school’s local DREAM (Daring to Role Model Athletic Excellence) team. He noted that “being a student-athlete has allowed me to be a role model in the community while providing opportunities to improve skills I can use to impact the lives of others.”
Other male finalists included Nolan Benson of Lexington and Jesse Lambert of Mount Pleasant.
Wilkins is a sophomore basketball player who described a situation where student-athletes from Cedar Ridge went to a middle school to share their stories. “Our status as student-athletes makes us diverse and engaged citizens of our high school community,” she wrote. Viewing ourselves as multi-taskers and elegant masters of both academics and athletics became both empowering and humbling at the same time.”
Mayowa Fageyinbo of Charlotte Myers Park and Victoria Schandevel of Hendersonville were the female finalists.
“We have received excellent responses from our student-athletes regarding our NCHSAA Scholar-Athlete Essay Contests,” said NCHSAA commissioner Davis Whitfield. “Congratulations to both Hannah and Noah, as they did a wonderful job with their submissions."