[Group Photo by Ruthann Thivierge]
[Senior Photos Provided]
SCHUYLERVILLE – Schuylerville seniors Sidney Gregorek and Derek Willson were selected as the one female and one male from New York to each receive a $1,000 college scholarship, after advancing through three levels of competition. They will now go on to compete for the title of National Finalist.
“The Wendy’s High School Heisman was created by Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas in 1994. Twenty-two years later, Wendy’s High School Heisman has honored more than 600,000 of the nation’s most esteemed high school seniors who share Wendy’s values of giving back to their communities, treating people with respect, continuing education and excelling in the athletic field,” according to the official statement.
The committee selected Gregorek and Willson as students who display excellence and integrity both on and off the field. To qualify for the honor, student-athletes must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and be leaders in both the school and the community. Willson is currently in the Valedictorian with a .31 lead over Gregorek.
Gregorek is a captain on the varsity soccer team, an AP Scholar, a Student State Board Member, and was named Class B West Division All-Stars Team last fall as well as WNYT NewsChannel 13’s “Fidelis Care Athlete of the Week” this fall.
Gregorek and Willson both have big plans for their futures; Gregorek will be studying pre-med in the fall and intends to be a doctor. Her top choices are Duke and Princeton. Willson intends to study biochemical engineering and hopes to attend either MIT or Cornell. Willson is the president of Honor Society, Gregorek is the treasurer. Both are members of the Math League and Spanish Club. Both are exceptionally active in the community as well. They participate in Relay for Life, Gregorek volunteers at the Glens Falls Hospital information desk and coaches three local youth soccer teams, Willson volunteers and fundraises for Adirondack Save-A-Stray.
As an athlete, Gregorek participates in indoor/outdoor track, rugby, and soccer. Willson plays football, baseball, and indoor track.
“I was at soccer practice and [Willson’s] mother texted me right after saying that he and I were both winners. It was cool because I had all of my teammates there and we all celebrated as a group,” Gregorek explained how she found out she had advanced for the scholarship.
“I was at a team dinner and my mom texted me so it was kind of cool because I was also with my whole team,” Willson explained.
The scholarship has two phases, phase one was due in October, they had to explain all of their academic and athletic accomplishments. Phase two consisted of four mini-essays and finding articles online that mentioned them and their athletic and academic and community service accomplishments.
“It was big to me because I’ve never been the star athlete, I’ve always played more of a supporting role, I play defense on the soccer team. I’m not the one scoring goals and I’m on relay teams for track. It isn’t like I’m winning individual races. So to me, it was just really cool to be recognized as a student-athlete. Not just the academics, not just the sports, a combination of both,” Gregorek said.
If Gregorek and Willson advance to the final round, each will win $5,000 toward their college education and a gold medal. National Finalists will be announced on November 6. By making it this far, they’ve received silver medals and each have a $50 gift card to Wendy’s.