Sean Fleming and Moriah Snyder, both C. Milton Wright High School students, were the male and female recipients Wednesday of the two $5,000 scholarships from the Al Cesky Scholarship Fund.
Fleming and Synder were selected for the top awards out of a group of 24 Cesky scholarship winners from each of Harford County’s 12 private and public high schools. A male and female student athlete from each school, all seniors, were named scholarship winners. The other 22 winners each receive $2,000 scholarships.
The winners of the top awards were announced during the 33rd annual Al Cesky Scholarship Awards Banquet Wednesday evening at the Richlin Ballroom in Edgewood.
All 24 scholarship winners were honored during the banquet. The fund is named for Albert “Al” Cesky, a Bel Air High School teacher and coach during the 1950s and ’60s, who later became a school administrator and physical education director for Harford County Public Schools.
The scholarship program was established in Mr. Cesky’s name about a month after he died in 1985. The first awards were given to Harford County student-athletes in 1986.
“It’s just a great honor, because every single applicant and every single candidate for this scholarship was just completely qualified and everybody was just a stellar candidate, so it’s really nice to be recognized,” Snyder, 18, of Bel Air, said of her 2018 cohorts.
Fleming, 17, of Bel Air, said it is “an amazing honor” to be chosen from among “top-notch student athletes.”
“The legacy that the Cesky family has left in our community obviously is large, and to be selected for this award is a big deal for me,” he said.
Fleming has played varsity soccer and tennis for the Mustangs all four years, and he has been part of a soccer team that won four county championships and the state championship his senior year. He has earned top academic honors, too, including Distinguished Honor Roll, the William J. Sacco Award for Excellence in Applied Mathematics and the Minds in Motion Scholar Athlete Award. He also works with camps for soccer players and children who do not speak English and volunteers at his church, on community clean-up projects, homeless shelters and the Maryland Food Bank.
He plans to study mechanical engineering and business at Virginia Tech. He is the son of Lisa and Russell Fleming.
Snyder has played varsity basketball and lacrosse for the Mustangs all four years. She has led her teams to regional championships and been named a Most Valuable Player.
She is an honor roll student and a member of the National Honor Society and Math National Honor Society. Snyder participates in the Stand Up for Autism and Best Buddies organizations, and she volunteers with lacrosse clinics, her church and a homeless shelter.
She plans to study engineering and play lacrosse at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, and she plans to be a Navy pilot. She is the daughter of Jennifer and Robert Snyder.
Principal Michael Thatcher said he takes the greatest pride in watching how Fleming and Snyder “interact with others and the kindess and compassion that they show to everyone in the building, so that’s where I think they’re true winners.”
Cesky scholarship winners are selected based on their academic and athletic achievements, as well as their extra-curricular activities, community service activities and the “meaningfulness and significance” sports participation has for them, according to the banquet program.
“Many of you play multiple sports, and you wouldn’t be here also if it wasn’t for the academic side,” Scott Garceau, master of ceremonies, said. Garceau, from Fallston, is the veteran sportcaster who hosts The Scott Garceau Show with Jeremy Conn on 105.7 The Fan radio station.
Garceau lauded the “well-rounded” scholarship winners, noting their many other activities in areas such as music and peer groups.
“Stay busy and get involved, because that’s what you all have done,” he said.
The 24 honorees heard remarks from Rob Magee, a member of the Cesky Scholarship Fund board of directors, Aberdeen High School graduate and a 1990 Cesky scholarship winner, and Harford County Executive Barry Glassman.
The county government is coordinating the inaugural Susquhanna River Running Festival, which includes a 5K run and half-marathon that will take runners across the river via the Route 40 Hatem Memorial Bridge. Proceeds from the event, scheduled for Sept. 15, will benefit the Cesky Scholarship Fund.
Magee talked about the value of athletic coaches in the lives of young people, of Mr. Cesky’s “long legacy” as a coach.
“Your coaches’ messages will follow you,” he told the honorees.
Magee said coaches often stress the basic fundamentals of playing a sport, such as blocking and tackling in football, as key components of succeeding on the field. Fundamentals are also keys to success in life, according to Magee.
“When you do those things well, everything else in your life gets a little easier,” he said.
Glassman talked about the legacy of Billy Mills, a member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux nation, who grew up in poverty on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota.
Mills, who became an orphan at age 12, began running while growing up on the reservation. He joined the Marine Corps, where he served as an officer, and he went on to win a gold medal for the U.S. in the 10,000-meter race in the 1964 Olympics.
He has spent much of his life working to help Native American youth, and he earned the Presidential Citizens Medal, one of the highest civilian honors, in 2012, according to the website of Running Strong for American Indian Youth, an organization he helped found.
Glassman said Mills “won the gold and then spent a lifetime of giving back,” and he urged the honorees to follow his example of giving back to their community.
“Your achievements will help you soar past tonight and into the future,” he said.