Rockville athlete selected for national award, scholarship

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Vernon - posted Mon., May. 14, 2012
Rockville High School's Jennifer Mears is one of 25 SAMMY award recipients. Photo by Steve Smith.
Rockville High School's Jennifer Mears is one of 25 SAMMY award recipients. Photo by Steve Smith.

Rockville High School senior Jennifer Mears said she was “surprised, ecstatic and shocked” when she found out she is one of 25 high school scholar/athletes from across the country to receive a Scholar Athlete Milk Mustache of the Year (SAMMY) award from the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) and USA Today.

“I feel extremely blessed and extremely lucky that people are recognizing my hard work,” Mears said, adding that she is busy working on a video showing how milk is part of her athletic regimen – a requirement of the program.

Mears will receive a $7,500 scholarship, which she will put to good use when she attends Quinnipiac University in the fall to pursue studies in the physician's assistant program. “I'm really excited; it's such a great program,” she said, adding that she will also try out for the school's soccer team.

Mears has been the goalie on Rockville's varsity soccer team and competes in throwing events on the RHS track team, and said she is a good athlete because of luck and dedication. “Some people have talent, and some people just know the game,” she said. “For soccer, I've spent a lot of time learning about the game, and it's one of my passions. For track, I guess I'm athletic. If you have the determination, you can be good at it. I like to think I'm a good athlete because I care about it.”

Mears was selected from 30,000 applicants for the award. The 25 winners were picked by a panel of celebrity judges including Chauncey Billups, Jennie Finch, Tony Hawk, Andy Roddick and Dara Torres.

Along with the scholarship, Mears and her family will attend the SAMMY 2012 weekend in Walt Disney World and will have the opportunity to be featured in a national ad in USA Today.

In Mears's essay for the competition, she explained how she drinks milk regularly, including as part of her morning routine, alongside peanut butter toast.

Mears was previously one of 12 national finalists for the Wendy's High School Heisman award, which also awards well-rounded scholar-athletes.

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