ATLANTA (January 1, 2019) – Athletes for a Better World (ABW) and The National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) have formed a partnership to annually recognize one male and one female national NIAAA scholarship winner as automatic recipients of the prestigious Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup. These two high school athletes will join one collegiate and one professional recipient each year as exemplary role models of the ABW Code for Living. The recipients of the high school class of 2018 are Sarah Rauch and Evan Gwozdz who will receive the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup in the spring of 2019. ABW Executive Director Brad Catherman and NIAAA officials celebrated this achievement with the two recipients at the Opening General Session of the National Athletic Directors Conference conducted on December 15, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas.
The NIAAA Student Scholarship/Essay competition recognizes distinguished high school student athletes in the attribute areas of scholastics, leadership, citizenship, participation, volunteerism and the importance of school sports participation in the student’s life. The ABW Code for Living criteria have been incorporated into the scholarship application by asking applicants to reflect upon the tenets of life lessons learned through sport and how they relate and impact their life. The ABW book entitled Winning More Than the Game challenges readers to consider the Code for Living via exercises, as a springboard for life qualities of character development.
Following are profiles of the two recipients:
Sarah Marie Rauch – Grayslake North High School, Grayslake, Illinois
Sarah’s parents are mother, Maribeth Rauch, and the late Edward John Rauch. Sarah graduated from Grayslake North High School, with a grade point average of 4.6. She is attending the University of Illinois studying Molecular and Cellular Biology. The Athletic Director at Grayslake High School is Tina Woolard, CMAA. Sarah earned twelve varsity letters in her high school career, playing the sports of volleyball, basketball and soccer. She served as captain of the volleyball team during her senior season. Sarah is an Illinois State Scholar, school Honor Roll member, and earned the conference Scholar Athlete Award in all three of her sports. Sarah was active in her school serving as vice-president of class council, and vice-president of the National Honor Society. She also was active as a peer tutor, Athletic Council Member, District Code of Conduct Review Board Student Representative, and a student leader with the school Knight United group. In the community and church, Sarah was a volunteer in a homeless shelter and church soup kitchen. She also attended a Catholic Heart Workcamp Trip. Athletic administrator, Tina Woolard says of Sarah, “…she is always the one who I see taking time after a contest to shake the hand of officials, help put away equipment, and asks if she can help with anything. Sarah is incredibly thoughtful and articulate, and leads with outstanding example, behavior and work ethic.”
Evan James Gwozdz – Middleboro High School, Middleboro, Massachusetts
Evan’s parents are Mark and Elizabeth Gwozdz. Evan graduated from Middleboro High School with a 4.0 grade point average. He is now attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studying Chemical Engineering and Business. The athletic director at Middleboro High School is Ryan Sylvia, and shared that, “Evan possesses a work ethic that is contagious and motivates his class and teammates. As quarterback of his state champion football team he accounted for all 6 touchdowns in the final game, passing for four and running for two.” Evan earned nine varsity letters participating in football, indoor track and baseball. He served as captain of all three teams during his senior year. He was selected as a league and division football player of the year by three entities, was a two-year league all-star, and selected as a Massachusetts Shriner’s Classic team member. In indoor track, he is a school record holder, and was a league champion in long jump. In addition, Evan was a league all-star and among the top batting averages in Massachusetts. Academically, he was a National Merit Scholarship Commended Student, received the Rensselaer Medal for Outstanding Math & Science, and was the Wendy’s High School Heisman state winner. He was a league scholar, and recognized as all scholastic by three football selection groups, and one in baseball as well. Evan is a National Honor Society member.
Leadership roles held include 4 years as Class President, Student Council Executive Board, honor society Vice-President, captain of the math team, and a member of the Massachusetts Association of Student Council members, while also presenting at a workshop for the same organization. Evan’s community and church activities included volunteering at St. Vincent Food Pantry, Special Olympics, and a homeless shelter. He also helped at a football skills camp, and was a swim lifeguard and instructor, Little League Buddy, and volunteered as a tutor in chemistry, math, English and Spanish.
About the NIAAA
The NIAAA is based in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is the national leadership organization for high school and middle school athletic administrators. With current individual membership of over 10,000, the NIAAA consists of athletic administrators from associations in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Internationally. The NIAAA leads in providing professional development for athletic administrators, serving as a resource and provider of safe and plentiful participation opportunities for the nation’s 7.9 million student-athletes. With conducting education-based athletic programs as the focus, NIAAA membership provides opportunity for professional development, education, certification, national award recognition and exchange of ideas with athletic administrators throughout the world.