The names Nathan Orfanedes and Sydney Schneider may soon get erased from their schools' sports record books.
Orfanedes' seventh-place medal in the 800 meters at the 2012 Class 3A state track championships could rust or be stowed away. Schneider's numerous first- and second-team all-county awards for cross-country and track may slip off her résumé.
But the contributions that will last, those that were made outside of sports, are perhaps the ones Orfanedes and Schneider are most proud of. His Eagle Scout project and her work as a Student Council president are among the reasons they were selected by their schools and recognized as Sun Sentinel 2012 scholar athletes for Broward County.
Orfanedes, who graduated from Archbishop McCarthy, will attend the University of Florida. Schneider, a University School graduate, will head to the University of Pennsylvania.
For a year and a half, Orfanedes and a crew of roughly 60 volunteers restored a six-acre plot of Markham Park in Sunrise. It had been destroyed by Hurricane Wilma.
"It was basically a reforestation of a whole section," Orfanedes said.
The team removed thousands of invasive exotic species before planting 400 native shrubs and trees to create an ecosystem friendlier to local wildlife. He began the project in December of ninth grade, and completed it by the end of his sophomore year.
A trip to New Mexico planted the idea in Orfanedes' mind. Standing atop a mountain in Philmont Scout Ranch, Orfanedes had a view of the desert, mesas and snow-covered peaks in one breathtaking panorama.
That beautiful scene inspired him to protect his environment back home in Florida.
"I've always had sort of a love for plants and animals in nature," he said.
Schneider's love was school unity. Her résumé is a mile long, with memberships in more than 20 clubs and organizations.
Atop the list is Student Council president. Schneider's crowning achievement was laying the groundwork for the school's first powder-puff football game, in which the girls play and the boys cheer.
"It really raised our entire school spirit and was very, very exciting," she said. "I really hope that the powder-puff game is a lasting legacy that my student council started."
The next president has vowed to continue it, she said.
For the past three years, Schneider was also a Cappie Critic. She and other student critics reviewed theatrical performances from schools around South Florida, with the top reviews being published.
Schneider said journalism has become a real passion, and it's something she hopes to pursue by studying communications at Penn.
Both scholar athletes were runners at their respective high schools, with Orfanedes preferring track and field to cross-country and Schneider the reverse.
Orfanedes capped his career with a seventh-place finish in the 800 meters in this year's state track championships after he was seeded 12th. He also finished in fourth place in the 4x800 meters.
Schneider is in the midst of training for the New York City Marathon in November. She plans to run the event in memory of her late uncle, who also was a runner.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun