The Classic Tournament, Inc., which organizes one of the largest, coed high school holiday basketball tournaments in the nation called the State Farm Holiday Classic, has selected four winners as recipients of the 2014 Holiday Classic Scholarship award. Each of the winners will receive a $1,000 scholarship to go directly to their college of choice for tuition costs.
Established to recognize and award scholarships to eligible high school seniors who participated in this past year’s tournament, a selection committee of former educators and scholarship recipients chose the winners based on leadership skills and academic performance. Applicants were also asked to demonstrate their experiences in student activities and community service, and required to submit an essay titled “How my high school sports experience helped prepare me for success in higher education.”
The 2014 Holiday Classic Scholarship awards go to (in alphabetical order):
- Alexa Adams, Belvidere North – Alexa is a three-year varsity basketball player and was selected as a NIC-10 Conference Scholar Athlete all four years. She is a member of Student Council, Future Farmers of America and National Honor Societies for Science and English. Alexa works as a dog handler through Comfort Dog Ministry, providing help and hope to people recovering from traumatic events. She currently ranks first in her class with a 4.0 GPA, and plans to major in Animal Science with a pre-Veterinarian emphasis at either Berry College or Cornell University.
- Rebekah Ehresman, El Paso-Gridley – Rebekah is a four-year varsity starter in both basketball and volleyball, receiving numerous all-state, all-conference and all-area awards in her career. She is a member of Student Council, Key Club, Show Choir and National Honor Society, and works as a lifeguard during the summer. Rebekah was named a Wendy’s High School Heisman Award finalist, currently ranks first in her class with a 4.0 GPA, and plans to continue her basketball career and major in Business at Illinois Wesleyan University.
- Michael Plecki, Champaign St. Thomas More – Mike is a three-sport student-athlete for the Sabers, playing baseball, basketball and football all four years. He is involved with the Math Team, National Honor Society and Spanish Club, and is a volunteer coach for disadvantaged and disabled youth. Mike reached the required 150 hours of service requirement at St. Thomas More before his senior year began. He currently has a 4.37 GPA and plans to continue his baseball career at Illinois Wesleyan University and major in Business.
- Trey Sigel, Rock Island – Trey is a three-sport varsity letter winner in baseball, basketball and football for the Rocks. He is a member of both the Student Senate and National Honor Society, and volunteers at a number of youth summer sports camps. He has taken on a leadership role with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and attended nearly every Holiday Classic tournament game the Rocks have played since he was three-years old. Trey plans to continue his basketball career at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and plans to major in Architectural Engineering.
“We have honored many fine student-athletes in the past, and this year’s group of recipients is no exception,” said tournament Manager of Student-Athlete Recognition, Derek Sieg. “Each year is a tough process for our selection committee, but these four student-athletes stood above the rest based on their involvement in school, athletics and their communities.”
The Holiday Classic Scholarship fund is administered through the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation in Bloomington, IL, and scholarships are made directly to the attending college/university of the winning students. One winner from each of the four tournament brackets (Small School Boys, Small School Girls, Large School Boys and Large School Girls) is awarded a scholarship each year.
This is the ninth consecutive year the tournament has offered the Holiday Classic Scholarship program which has now awarded a grand total of $36,000.
For more information about the Holiday Classic Scholarship, go to http://theclassic.org/about-2/holiday-classic-scholarship.