Jaylee Long, Wyatt Mortensen and Makenna Young are the recipients of the 2021 Newaygo Lions Athletic Boosters club scholarships.
The three graduates completed applications that included describing a history of volunteering in and around the Newaygo community including the school or youth organizations; having achieved at least one varsity letter at Newaygo High School; and demonstrated a positive-impact involvement and/or significant improvement/success in scholarship and community involvement.
Their accomplishments include GPA’s of 4.6 for Long and 4.4 for Mortensen and Young. All three were multi-sport participants and had extensive volunteer experience during their HS years. Long will be attending Cornerstone University with an emphasis in education, Mortensen will be going to Kalamazoo College and Young is traveling to Concordia University-Chicago both with an emphasis in Pre-med.
Their dedication and lessons in sports and their overall HS experience was expressed in their applications and provided insight as to their successes on the playing field, in the classrooms, and in the community.
Jaylee stated that: “ Basketball has shown me that in order to be good and successful I can’t just show up I have to prepare and put time in to be the best I can be. It has also shown me the right way to live my life. Without rules I know I wouldn’t like to play the game of basketball; but the rules make the game more enjoyable and I know in order to have a life I enjoy I need to live by a set of standards; I can’t just go through life without any direction.”
Wyatt wrote: “Each person has shown resilience today in this world because of the pandemic. Reaching out for help can be challenging. Resilience is typically viewed as something dramatic and a big obstacle a person overcomes. However, the barrier I had to overcome was simply reaching out for help. Now. I know I can always go to someone and talk about how I was feeling. The biggest impact I learned from sports was not everything is a game. Life is not as easy as making a basket or shooting a goal. Life is about handling the obstacles at hand and overcoming the challenges.”
Makenna shared “Track and Field has taught me grit!” She shares her experience after a serious pole-vaulting injury that required months to recover from: “The question that always plagued me was…Would I ever pole vault again? Eventually, I joined a club pole-vaulting team. As I entered the indoor track facility, I wanted to turn around and go home. Walking back towards the track brought back the worst memory I had to mind; all I could hear was the dreaded, echoing sound of ‘snap and pop’. My emotions were so excessive I didn’t know how to cope with them. I couldn’t believe that something I was so passionate about was now my greatest fear. As the coach walked through the double doors and my heart started to pound out of my chest because I knew that practice was about to begin. My body became stiff with fear and I felt paralyzed. I knew that If I wanted to reach my goals, I needed to face this fear. The moment of truth was upon me. I contemplated running toward the door instead of the pit. I stared down the raised track. My hands were sweaty and shaking. The voice in my head heard my ankle saying ‘not to do it’, but my heart was screaming to ‘go for it’. With a deep breath and an inner courage, I sprinted down the runway and took my first jump. I flung over the bar like usual and landed safely with no pain to my ankle. This was the jump I would never forget. It was my jump of courage.
The boosters are pleased and proud to award these three outstanding young people the 2021 scholarships of $500 each.