I know a little about this young man, but mostly from the outside looking in. So I enlisted some additional help – to provide me with some insight from the inside looking out.
When I read some of what others shared about him, it confirmed my initial impression.
He was considered “…. the unquestioned leader of the football team.” That is far more than an accolade. It is an acclamation. An affirmation of his effort, commitment, faith and character. Confirmation that the person transcended athleticism, talent and ability to become more than just one player – or just one student – among many, many others.
To be an “unquestioned leader” speaks to the very nature of this individual. He is someone that has learned the value of self-mastery. As a member of the HLT for the past two years and as a Homestead student, this young man understands the importance of setting, reaching and maintaining the highest levels of personal conduct and standards of excellence.
He came to appreciate why second best is not enough. Why it is never acceptable to settle for almost. Why it is everything – or nothing at all.
He “get’s it”.
From the standpoint of leadership – and being a leader – he recognizes that the fundamental building block in that venture is accountability. Its single most important – yet challenging – aspect. Where the rubber truly meets the road.
To attain his current trajectory, he first acknowledged the necessity of preparation. Then, he established his own internal benchmarks. High personal standards for his conduct, and similarly, high expectations for performance.
Once calibrated to these criterion, he had to choose to own them. He had to live them. More importantly, he had to choose to be the example in all cases – big, small and in between. No back sliding. No letting himself off the hook. On task. 24/7/365.
Through continuous effort and unflagging commitment, he was able to get to that point on a personal level. He grasped that only then was he genuinely and effectively able to hold others to the same standards. To teach them the importance of being accountable. To coach them up when they stumbled. To show them – by example – how to get to where he was and to own it.
Just like him.
And speaking of coaching; it was said that this young man was regarded in that same capacity Friday nights on the game field. Like his predecessor, he worked to gain that comfort level with his mentors on the side lines, and earned the responsibility for setting the defensive backfield as well as for making all of the coverage checks and calls.
To be able to do all that and yet play at a high level is a demanding endeavor. It must have required a cool head, a measure of diplomacy, a talent for communication and a keen awareness of how the game plan meshed with the big picture on the field. To be entrusted with that responsibility is another indication of the caliber of this individual.
To insure that his passion for the game matched his desired level of performance, this young man worked very hard to prepare himself both mentally and physically as an individual – but always with his team’s best interests as his guide. He could always be counted on to do whatever was asked of him, moving back a level on defense this season or learning some offense if needed.
He understood that the sum is bigger than the parts. They say the devil is in the details. It is this aspect of leadership that can be one of those demons that will wreak havoc on the grand scheme of things. To be known for doing whatever was asked of him speaks volumes about this young man. It will become his calling card in the future.
To a certain extent, this award is about leadership qualities, sound academics and the friends that came to rely on you both on and off the athletic venues.
But this recognition is also an enduring statement of what your peers aspired to become because of your influence.
It is testament to what you were able to bring out of them.
A reflection of the positive qualities that drew them towards you.
How your thoughts, words and deeds shaped your moments together and will impact their future.
Your character, leadership and willingness to go beyond your athletic ability are a sign that you have been influenced by some great people in your life.
Your parents, your family, teachers, coaches and friends have had a big impact on you. And likewise you have made an impression upon all of them.
And it is precisely these traits that will serve you well going forward; in college, in your personal and professional life, and wherever your dreams may happen to take you.
The Booster Club is proud to recognize this young man’s all-around accomplishments and contributions to his team, his school and our community.
So without further adieu, on behalf of the Booster Club, I’m proud to present the 2013 Highlander Award to;