A collection of 24 Harford County high school scholar athletes were joined by their parents, coaches and school administrators at the Richlin Ballroom in Edgewood Wednesday evening to hear which boy and girl in the group of honorees would receive $5,000 Al Cesky college scholarships.
At the end of the 27th annual banquet, it was announced that the two who stood out among the stellar group were Aberdeen's Hunter Bachman, and C. Milton Wright's Danielle King.
With his selection, Hunter became the first Aberdeen student to win the prize in the scholarship program's history.
"I was pretty surprised to hear my name announced, but it was a great feeling," he said after the banquet."I knew that I was the first one from Aberdeen to win, so when I heard my name I knew that was something pretty special. This ranks high for me. Getting into different colleges, that was pretty good, but this scholarship, to be the first one from Aberdeen to get it, it feels pretty nice."
"With this [scholarship], I felt like I had a pretty good chance," Danielle said. "I'm glad C. Milton Wright got to take it home this year. It's special to pull down the full Al Cesky scholarship, this was an amazing night, and just an awesome experience overall."
Hunter, a member of Aberdeen's golf, swim and baseball teams, earned nine varsity letters over a four-year high school career, and received straight A's in every marking period from the start of his freshman year. A National Honor Society member, Hunter ranks in the top fifth percent of his graduating class, was selected as an Advanced Placement Scholar with Honors and received a congressional nomination to the United States service academies from Sen. Barbara Mikulski.
Danielle was a four-year member of CMW's varsity field hockey and swim teams, earning first-team All-Harford selections for both sports and helping the Mustangs pull down a 3A/2A/1A state swimming title this year, their first. Also a member of the track squad, Danielle is ranked second in her graduating class, earned distinguished honor roll recognition during every marking period of her high school career and is a member of the National Honor Society. In 2011, she was one of 12 students across the country selected as a finalist for the Wendy's High School Heisman award.
Danielle, who had a speech prepared in case she was named as the female award recipient, thanked her parents, coaches, teammates and CMW administrators, and gave a nod to the other finalists, saying, "Your accomplishments during your high school careers were astounding."
Hunter, who said he went without a prepared speech, likewise thanked his parents, coaches and Aberdeen's first-year principal, Michael O'Brien for their support.
Danielle plans to attend Davidson College in North Carolina, where she intends to study science with a pre-med concentration, which will help her pursue a career as a physician specializing in sports medicine.
Hunter will attend the University of Delaware as part of that school's honors program and plans to major in mechanical engineering.
The Al Cesky Scholarship, named in honor of the man who served Harford County for 30 years as a teacher, coach, vice principal and athletic director, has been awarded since 1986, the year following Mr. Cesky's death.
Each year, after receiving letters from applicants, the Al Cesky Scholarship Fund's selection committee picks one male and one female student from each Harford public and private high school based on their academic and athletic achievements, service to others, financial need and adherence to "the spirit and principles or sportsmanship and personal responsibility."
The finalists who do not receive the $5,000 top award each receive a $2,000 scholarship, making the Cesky Scholarship one of the most coveted awards of its kind available to Harford students.