Thursday, May 3, 2012

Scholarship Winners: Where Are They Now? - Katie Kennedy

Over the next six Thursdays, I'm going to profile a previous winner of the St. Louis Sports Commission Associates' Sportsmanship Scholarship. What is the Sportsmanship Scholarship? In 2009, the Associates - the Sports Commission's young professionals group - decided to create a scholarship which would be presented annually to a graduating high school senior from the St. Louis metropolitan area who consistently demonstrates outstanding sportsmanship in athletic competition. Voila! The Sportsmanship Scholarship was born. Hopefully, these stories will motivate you to nominate a young person for this year's scholarship. Our first profile looks at a 2011 scholarship recipient - Katie Kennedy.

A graduate of Lindbergh High School, Katie Kennedy was a member of the school's track and field team and captain of the varsity cheerleading squad. During her senior year, she broke Lindbergh's pole vault record. But as proud as she is of that accomplishment, she says she takes even more pride in the kindness, integrity and class she exhibited in competition. That approach made her one of the most popular pole vaulters in the area. According to one of her coaches, Katie was always one of the first to congratulate anyone who beat her and was the first to console anyone who finished behind her.

The coach described how at the Kansas Relays Katie sat next to and comforted a competitor from Oklahoma who was distraught after missing her opening jump. Later, after Katie was eliminated from the competition, she helped calm a vaulter from Fort Zumwalt High School whose coach could not attend. At the State qualifying meet, Katie noticed a top rival vaulter was about to be commit a uniform infraction. She informed the competitor of the mistake - saving her from disqualification. Katie recognized the importance of sportsmanship on the sidelines as well. She said as a cheerleader she observed unsportsmanlike behavior. "It saddened me to see not only athletes behaving badly, but parents as well. I tried to use those times to point out to the younger cheerleaders that our job was to bring the schools together."

Katie continued her education at Maryville University in St. Louis and her efforts are paying big dividends for the Saints. As a sprinter and pole vaulter, Katie has placed in the top 10 seven times this season. She will be a big part of Maryville track and field in the future. Do you know a young person who could benefit from the Sportsmanship Scholarship? Sure, you do. Just click here for an application packet. The deadline is June 15. If you have any questions or concerns, please call 314-345-5130 or email salexander@stlsports.org. You can also post a question on The Sportsmanship Network. I will answer all inquiries personally. Young people can do great things when we support them. Do your part and nominate a deserving high school senior today. Until next time...

Be a Good Sport!

-Sol