Poly's Dale Martin, an undersized center who first played football in high school, and Randallstown's Monica Lewis, whose dedication to her basketball team caused her to quit her part-time job, were named McCormick Unsung Heroes last night at the Hunt Valley Inn.
Martin, a 5-foot-10, 179-pounder, and Lewis, a 3.7 grade-point average student with an 1,100 SAT score, became the 40th and 41st recipients of college scholarships worth $5,000 a year for four years. They were chosen from among 110 male and female athletes at the 58th annual Unsung Heroes Awards Banquet,
The program annually honors one football player and one girls basketball player from 70 Baltimore County and Baltimore City public, private and parochial schools for unselfish play and substantial contributions to their teams without acclaim.
The athletes were chosen by a five-member committee whose members knew only of the nominees' accomplishments, not their names.
Besides overcoming inexperience in football to become a second-team All-Metro pick, Martin, headed for Morgan State, has coped with his mother's paralysis from a stroke four years ago.
"When I get home and tell her, she's going to break down in tears," Martin said. "I have to thank my grandmother and my aunts for helping for all these years, my first high school coach, Bruce Strunk [now at Randallstown,] and, of course, [retired] coach Augie Waibel, who let me talk to him about anything and has been like the father I never had."
Lewis, a four-time member of Baltimore County's All-Academic Team, "was asked to play point guard after the injury to another player," and "acted as a big sister to most of the younger freshmen and sophomores," said her coach, Jeffery Tessier.
School administrators were impressed by Lewis' social consciousness and her ability to lift the spirits not only of her basketball teammates but also fellow students.
Lewis remained humble. She said she was "extremely nervous and shaking all over," but her acceptance speech floored the audience.
"A human can only go so far, and then God has to take over," said Lewis, who will use her award to earn a computer science degree at Atlanta's Spelman College.
"I have to thank my mother for her support, because like it was said earlier, they're your only allies," Lewis said. "I'm so very, very thankful to you all. Two other colleges gave me scholarships, but Spelman gave me nothing. I want you all to know that this money is greatly appreciated."
Last night's speaker was Johns Hopkins pediatric neurosurgeon Benjamin S. Carson, who urged students to follow advice his mother, who had a third-grade education, gave him. "Knowledge is power," he said. "It's crucial. Don't let yourself be involved in things that won't take you very far."
Pub Date: 5/02/98