Both of the winners of this year's $5,000 scholarship from the Al Cesky Scholarship Fund, Todd Campo and Katherine Eckart, attend Patterson Mill High School.
The winners were announced Wednesday evening during the 32nd annual Al Cesky Scholarship Awards Banquet at the Richlin Ballroom in Edgewood. Eckart and Campo are among 24 winners of Cesky scholarships, from Harford County's 12 public and private high schools, who were honored during Wednesday's banquet.
"We couldn't be prouder of them; they are amazing students who are going to go far," Patterson Mill Principal Sean Abel said of Eckart and Campo. "I'm definitely proud of Patterson Mill tonight."
The 22 other winners each take home $2,000 scholarships. The Al Cesky Scholarship Fund, named for the late Bel Air High School coach, school administrator and Harford County Public Schools physical education director, gives out scholarships each year to 24 student athletes who are leaders in their schools and communities.
Joseph Snee, a Bel Air attorney and Scholarship Fund member who serves as the banquet chair, noted the fund has awarded more than $1 million in scholarships as of this year.
"That is phenomenal, that is community," said Scott Garceau, the banquet emcee, Harford County resident and longtime Baltimore-area sportscaster who co-hosts an afternoon talk show on 105.7 The Fan.
Eckart, 18, of Bel Air, has been a three-sport athlete throughout her high school career on the basketball, soccer and track and field teams. She has been part of the Huskies' three-time state champion girls' basketball team as a starting forward and senior captain.
She has also led her soccer team to two regional championships and two appearances in the state finals, plus she has won individual track and field championships at the conference and regional level and placed second in two of her events at the state level.
"It's a really big honor, and there were a lot of really excellent winners tonight, so it was really exciting to have won," Eckart said after the banquet.
Campo could not attend because he was performing in his school's spring concert Wednesday evening. He plays tenor saxophone in the Patterson Mill jazz, marching and symphonic bands.
Campo has also been a member of the Huskies football and boys' basketball teams for all four years of high school, and he has earned the Minds in Motion Scholar Athlete Award for all eight seasons in both sports. He has also played on the baseball team, which has won two regional championships during his high school career.
He is ranked first in the Patterson Mill Class of 2017.
Abel read Campo's acceptance speech, in which he thanked his parents and coaches for their support.
"I would also like to thank all of my teammates for the great memories and for making sports such an amazing experience," Campo wrote. "Thank you all again for this wonderful honor; I hope you've had a very pleasant evening, and God bless."
He is the son of Christi and John Campo and plans to study aerospace engineering in college and become a NASA astronaut, according to the banquet program.
Eckart, the daughter of Karla and Timothy Eckart, plans to study biomedical engineering at the University of Maryland. She said she selected that discipline because it offers a combination of physics, math and life science.
"I think that will be an interesting field and there are a lot of different ways I could go with that," she said.
Campo's parents were not at the banquet, because they attended the concert, according to Abel, but his baseball and football coach, Matt Roseland, was present.
"He represents himself and his family very well, and he's probably one of the most well-rounded individuals we've had come through our school," Roseland said of Campo.
Roseland, a physical education teacher and department chair, has known both winners since they were students at Patterson Mill Middle School.
"To watch them come through [Patterson Mill] and do this is pretty cool," he said.
The 24 winners heard words of inspiration from a past scholarship winner, Dr. Jennifer Lawson Bepple, a 1996 graduate of Havre de Grace High School, and Bill Westervelt Jr., a 1967 graduate of Bel Air High School, a partner in Ashby Point Capital and a co-founder of First Annapolis Consulting who has more than 30 years of experience in banking and finance.
"The biggest determiner of your success will be your resilience," Bepple, who practices at Central Maryland Urology Associates in Columbia, said.
Westervelt remembered an incident when Mr. Cesky, as a Bel Air High administrator, got in the middle of a circle of students who were pushing and bullying a fellow students and told them to "push me." The youths quickly dispersed, Westervelt recalled.
"As you walk down the hallway of life, I want you to jump in, just like Al," Westervelt said.
The other scholarship winners were Valerie Barker (Joppatowne High School), Casey Busch (Aberdeen High School), Scott Dettloff (Fallston High School), Isabelle Dallam (Fallston High), John Donna III (Aberdeen High), Sean Feiss (North Harford High School), Natalie Gorham (Harford Technical High School), Nicholas Hinke (The John Carroll School), Charlotte Haggerty (John Carroll), Dylan Knoble (Edgewood High School), Ada Heinze (North Harford), Ryan Lepp (C. Milton Wright High School), Kameron Holt (Bel Air High School), Skyler Martinez (Joppatowne High), Lily Loomis (Harford Christian School), Samuel Queen (Bel Air High), Lindsey Stevenson (C. Milton Wright), Jarrett Schneider (Harford Tech), Nicole Wiland (Edgewood High), Kenneth Sumpter Jr. (Havre de Grace High School), Rachel Wilson (Havre de Grace High) and Joshua Weaver (Harford Christian).