2017 Award Finalists

 Congratulations to the all the finalists for The Varsity Brands School Spirit Awards.
Learn more about this year’s finalists below.

Join hosts Laurie Hernandez and Richard Curtis for the
announcement of all category winners at the
Varsity Brands School Spirit Awards Show,
streamed on May 15 at varsitybrands.com.

View last year’s show here.

Finalists will be invited to attend the Varsity Brands School Spirit Awards Show
at the Walt Disney World® Resort in Orlando, FL on May 13, 2017.
Special hotel and Walt Disney World Resort ticket pricing is available here.

We’re looking for student-athletes who exemplify sportsmanship, leadership and teamwork. The Varsity MVP should be the “glue” of the team – someone who helps maintain morale no matter the circumstance. This student has as many teambuilding skills as athletic skills – he or she knows how to motivate, inspire and encourage teammates to work together, push harder and achieve the utmost success.

Meet the finalists:

Janelle Gardner | Baker County High School,  Glen Saint Mary, FL
Isaiah Jones | Childersburg High School, Childersburg, AL
Tess Reynolds | Grovetown High School, Grovetown, GA
Katherine Berlin | Orange Park High School, Orange Park, FL
Jacob Cryder | Tempe Preparatory Academy, Tempe AZ

We’re looking for one dedicated student who loyally and eagerly assists athletic teams. This team manager keeps practices and games running smoothly so that the athletes can focus on bringing their best to the game. Teammates consider this person an invaluable and irreplaceable member of the team.

Meet the Finalists:

Matthew Chaffee | Cherokee High School, Marlton, NJ
Abby Knott | Roosevelt High School, Portland, OR
Kaleb Kerby | St. Johns High School, St. Johns, MI
Haley Davis | Waverly Central High School, Waverly, TN

We’re looking for one student who has a deep and genuine love for his/her school. This student is driven, kind and well-rounded. He or she cares deeply about representing the school in the best possible light. He/she consistently attends school events and displays the utmost sportsmanship and school pride. This student also takes academics seriously, and challenges him or herself in the classroom.

Meet the Finalists:

Lindsay Tatum | Ballard Memorial High School, Barlow, KY
Nicole Sacco | Cranston High School West, Cranston, RI
Taylor Sampson | Corner Canyon High School, Draper, UT
Tyra Ericson | Eden Prairie High School, Eden Prairie, MN
Joshua Ardoin | St. Thomas More High School, Lafayette, LA
Sofia Murtaugh | White Station High School, Memphis, TN

We’re looking for one athletic team that shows respect and graciousness to opposing teams, referees and school groups. Even when the chips are down, this team roots for their players until the end. This team goes out of its way to welcome visiting opponents and maintains a positive attitude during all events.

Meet the finalists:

Cleveland High School | Seattle, WA
Narragansett High School | Narragansett – RI
West Washington High School | Campbellsburg, IN

We’re looking for a unified, organized and creative group of students who promote their school’s clubs and athletics with sportsmanship and style. This group recognizes that there’s power in numbers and brings a large group of supporters to home and away games. This group brings passion, enthusiasm and creativity to a variety of school events throughout the year.

Meet the finalists:

Cedar Creek High School | Cedar Creek, TX
Covington Catholic High School | Park Hills, KY
Daniel Boone Area High School | Birdsboro, PA
Franklin High School | Franklin, TN
Pleasant Valley High School | Chico, CA

The marching band has become an All-American staple for school sporting events. This award will honor one marching band who brings talent, innovation and dedication to school events. Most importantly – this band lives for game night and eagerly takes on the responsibility of providing weekly entertainment to school fans.

Meet the finalists:

Coldwater High School | Coldwater, MI
Fort Walton Beach High School | Fort Walton Beach, FL
McGill-Toolen Catholic High School | Mobile, AL
Pace High School | Pace, FL
Park Vista High School | Lake Worth, FL
Washington High School | Fremont, CA

The American School Spirit Awards, the premier award for cheerleading and dance teams, has officially joined the Varsity Brands School Spirit Awards family as The Spirit Leader Awards. The Spirit Leader Awards will honor one cheer team and one dance team with an ongoing commitment to community service, outstanding school athletic support, creative spirit raising activities and strong academics.

Meet the winner: Dover High School | Dover, OH

At Dover High School in Ohio, the cheerleaders are more than athletes on the sidelines – they are staples of their community. The team believes in showing appreciation to all school stakeholders and serving as positive school representatives. The Dover cheerleaders get involved in a variety of initiatives, including the Little Tornado Reading Program, Dover’s “Fill a Bus” campaign for their local food pantry, and numerous charity walks and events. The cheerleaders even pioneered the school’s first hashtag, #WeAreDover. The Dover cheerleaders also serve as role models for inclusion of students with disabilities through their involvement with The Sparkle Effect. Dover’s Sparkle Effect team debuted this fall and has received rave reviews from students and staff alike.

Meet the finalists: 

Big Walnut High School | Sunbury, OH
Copper Hills High School | Copper Hills, UT
Hidalgo Early College High School | Hidalgo, TX
Kittatinny Regional High School | Newton, NJ
Pendleton Heights High School | Pendleton, IN

The American School Spirit Awards, the premier award for cheerleading and dance teams, has officially joined the Varsity Brands School Spirit Awards family as The Spirit Leader Awards. The Spirit Leader Awards will honor one cheer team and one dance team with an ongoing commitment to community service, outstanding school athletic support, creative spirit raising activities and strong academics.

Meet the winner: Loyola Academy | Wilmette, IL

The Loyola Academy Ramblerettes really do it all. Academically, the team is above the 90th percentile of their school, with an overall GPA of 3.7. The team also makes a point of performing for as many sports as possible. They teamed up with their JV team to create the “Ramblerette Spirit Squad.” The squad creates locker signs, comes up with cheers and chants for every sport and honors senior athletes throughout the school year. The Ramblerettes are also very focused on bringing spirit to their community, and work year-round with Misericordia, a residential community for adults with disabilities.

Meet the finalists: 

Broken Arrow High School | Broken Arrow, OK
Cherokee Trail High School | Centennial, CO
Eden Prairie High School | Eden Prairie, MN
Lake Forest High School | Lake Forest, IL
Rock Canyon High School | Highlands Ranch, CO

School chorale programs have the potential to add immense value to the high school experience. This award is for a chorale program that contributes to overall school atmosphere by providing high-quality performances to variety of school and community events. Most importantly, this chorale program should be a source of pride for students and the community alike.

Meet the finalists: 

Burlington High School | Burlington, WI
Danville High School | Danville, IA
Mount Carmel Academy | New Orleans, LA
Somerville High School | Somerville, NJ
St. Vincent de Paul Catholic High School | Perryville, MO

The school mascot is the quintessential symbol of community, tradition and school pride. The most dedicated mascots create a fun and uplifting atmosphere, keeping crowds in the spirit of the game. We’re looking for a school mascot that understands and appreciates that success is about the person in the suit and the story behind the suit – a student dedicated to serving as a role model and spirited supporter of their school.

Meet the finalists:

Noah Bozell | Anderson High School
Hannah Grace Umphers | Christ Presbyterian Academy
Seth Moyers | Fayetteville High School
Brendan Mohan | Rootstown High School

For this award, students are invited to produce a five minute film about their school. The film should be upbeat, suitable for general audiences, made completely by students, and focused on a school-spirit theme. Thematically, the film can be about anything school related, or can follow one of these prompts: 1) a day in the life at your school, 2) a school commercial (advertising the best parts of your school to new students and families); or 3) a five-minute history of your school.

Meet the finalists:

Cherry Creek High School | Greenwood Village, CO
Cedar Creek High School | Cedar Creek, TX
Fort Walton Beach High School | Fort Walton Beach, FL
Great Oak High School | Temecula, CA

This principal understands the essential link between school spirit and student achievement and therefore supports academics and athletics alike. This principal is personable, active in school activities, encouraging to students and faculty and innovative in his/her approach to education and engagement.

Meet the finalists:

Peter Wininger | Bristol Central High School, Bristol, CT
Toby Pearce | Flora High School, Flora, IL
Frances Clare | Mater Dei High School, Santa Ana, CA
Dennis “Chip” Medders | Troup County High School, LaGrange, GA

We’re looking for one coach with a long-standing history of success. This coach recognizes the link between athletic involvement and student achievement, and therefore encourages both academic excellence and good character. This coach also prioritizes sportsmanship, both on and off the playing field.

Meet the finalists:

Vicki Williams | Chapin High School, Chapin, SC
Angie Stage | Davie County High School, Mocksville, NC
John Hinkleman | San Bernardino High School, San Bernardino, CA
Scott Ellett | Wayne High School, Bicknell, UT
Douglas Snyder | William Allen High School, Allentown, PA

We’re looking for one athletic director who supports all school teams enthusiastically and equally, regardless of success level. He/she encourages athletes to excel on the playing field and in the classroom and attends a variety of sporting events to maintain spirit and school pride.

Meet the finalists: 

Cindy Roach | Blue Valley West High School, Overland Park, KS
Randy Garrett | Coffee High School, Douglas, GA
Molly Feesler | Pickerington High School, Pickerington, OH
Luke Beach | Rochester High School, Rochester Hills, MI

We’re looking for one teacher who understands that achievement means more than a number in a gradebook. It means helping students discover their strengths and passions. Students feel this teacher cares about them both academically and personally. This teacher has a genuine love and loyalty for his/her school and supports it in every way possible.

Meet the Finalists:

Billie Williams | Chapin High School, Chapin, SC
Nicholas Copeland | Frenship High School, Wolfforth, TX
Mary Hagedorn | Perry Central High School, Leopold, IN
Justin Johnson | St. Vincent’s Academy, Savannah, GA

No team is complete with a dedicated athletic trainer to support athletes both on and off the field. This award is for an athletic trainer with a long history of success. This athletic trainer’s expertise is partnered with unwavering enthusiasm and encouragement toward all students. Students know they can count on this athletic trainer through the ups and downs of life as a student athlete.

Meet the Finalists:

John Hansen | Los Alamitos High School, Los Alamitos, CA
Chad Abrams | Reeltown High School, Notasulga, AL
Danielle Cote | San Benito High School, Hollister, CA
Becky Taylor | Sherwood High School, Sandy Spring, MD

We’re looking for a school staff member who makes outstanding contributions to a school’s spirit culture. This person turns their otherwise ordinary job into an extraordinary opportunity to make others happy, without expecting anything in return. This person holds an important, but sometimes underappreciated role within the school district (i.e., cafeteria staff, bus driver, crossing guard, custodians or administrative staff) but is still known and loved by students, faculty and community members alike.

Meet the Finalists:

Gina Vessella | Central High School, Providence, RI
Jan Shaffer | Fort Walton Beach High School, Fort Walton Beach, FL
Jeff Lehman | Kettle Moraine High School, Wales, WI
Randy Kepley | Strafford High School, Strafford, MO

This award honors the guidance counselors who devote their careers to serving as advocates for students. The winner of the Greatest Guidance Counselor award skillfully balances the many demands of their profession. This person is well-loved by students and parents and works hard to assess the academic, social and emotional needs of students. This person also works hard to ensure that students are prepared for life after high school and assists students in finding their best post-graduate options.

Meet the finalists: 

Melody Dickens | Calvary Christian School, Covington, KY
Christopher Rogers | Cass Technical High School, Detroit, MI
Nancy Medling | Dyer County High School, Newbern, TN
Richard Sypniewski | Great Oak High School, Temecula , CA

The most spirited schools cultivate an atmosphere where all students feel welcomed and accepted. This award will honor one school that goes out of its way to welcome new students, accommodate students with diverse needs and educate students about issues related to diversity and inclusion.

Meet the finalists:

Cleveland High School |  Seattle, WA
Lexington High School | Lexington, SC
Ovey Comeaux High School | Lafayette, LA
Pleasant Valley High School | Bettendorf, IA

This award will honor one school with a long-standing, meaningful tradition that ignites school and community pride. This tradition should include the majority of the school/student body and should have a unique and personal significance for the members of that community.

Meet the finalists:

Abraham Lincoln High School | San Francisco, CA
Bingham High School | South Jordan, UT
Loyola Sacred Heart High School | Missoula, MT
Pleasant Valley High School | Chico, CA
St. Vincent’s Academy | Savannah, GA

This award will honor a motivated group of parents who support their school’s athletic program with dedication and enthusiasm. This booster club works in cooperation with team coaches to make sure every player on the team has the resources necessary to succeed. This group can be counted on to organize teambuilding events (dinners, banquets, etc.), attend games, and serve as positive role models to the students they serve.

Meet the finalists:

Cedar Creek High School | Cedar Creek, TX
Eldred High School | Eldred, NY
Middletown High School | Middletown, CT
Ottawa Township High School | Ottawa, IL

The most memorable school yearbooks have a theme that sets it apart from other school years – a theme that captures the specific spirit and personality of that group of students. Themes based on school pride are perennial favorites. We’re looking for a pride-themed yearbook that publicly celebrates achievements large and small, group and individual contributions to the school.

Meet the finalists:

Brentwood High School | Brentwood, TN
Case High School | Racine, WI
Chantilly High School | Chantilly, VA
Haltom High School | Haltom, TX
Lake Zurich High School | Lake Zurich, IL
Libertyville High School | Libertyville, IL
Riviera Preparatory School | Miami, FL

This award is for a school that puts tremendous thought and effort into their annual graduation ceremony. This graduation ceremony celebrates the achievements of graduating seniors and inspires success in the rest of the student body. Students will remember this ceremony for the rest of their lives.

Meet the finalists:

Bay High School | Bay St. Louis, MS
Cass Technical High School | Detroit, MI
Glacier High School | Kalispell, MT
Wilburton High School | Wilburton, OK

This award honors one high school that demonstrates unparalleled school spirit and community pride. To enter, schools must submit a 90-second video featuring footage from games, pep rallies, student activities, graduation or anywhere school spirit is on display. Submissions must also include a 500-word essay detailing the school’s “Spirit Story,” two letters of recommendation and two photos demonstrating school spirit.

Meet the finalists: 

Bingham High School | South Jordan, UT
Broken Arrow High School | Broken Arrow, OK
El Toro High School | Lake Forest, CA
Kahuku High School |  Kahuku, HI

Which school has the most spirit?
Watch their videos and vote for your favorite once per day through March 15.

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