Staff Report (Florida Catholic)
Two graduating seniors from St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples and one Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers have been named to the 2017 Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) Academic All-State Team.
Marcella Bolenbaugh and Matt DeSantis represent St. John Neumann (the only school in the State to have both a male and female student on the list) and David Mahan represents Bishop Verot, are three of the 12 boys and 12 girls selected from across Florida to be awarded a total of $50,000 in scholarships. These students attest to the high academic standards achieved at the Catholic High Schools in the Diocese of Venice.
This year the FHSAA partnered with the Florida Dairy Farmers to recognize seniors from around the state for superb academic and athletic achievement. Selection to the Academic All-State Team is an honor that only 24 student-athletes in Florida get to boast. Team members exemplify the true meaning of being a student-athlete by excelling academically, performing athletically, and contributing to their community.
â€śOur goal is to honor not only the Sunshine Stateâ€™s top athletes but also its brightest minds,â€ť says Florida Dairy Farmers CEO, Michele Cooper. â€śWeâ€™re excited to support a program that has a great tradition of encouraging excellence on the field and in the classroom and weâ€™re proud to support students that have the special mix of work ethic and determination required to succeed at both.â€ť
In order to be considered for this esteemed honor, students must be a graduating senior who received a minimum 3.5 unweighted GPA while earning letters in at least two FHSAA-sanctioned varsity sports their junior and senior years. This year the FHSAA received 127 qualifying Academic All-State applications. Nominees were scored on their academic record, athletic participation, non-athletic activities, community activities and essay.
Each Academic All-State Team member will be recognized at a commemorative banquet on Monday, June 12 in Gainesville, and will receive a $1,700 scholarship. Out of the 24 All-State Team members, one male and one female will garner the title of â€śRon Davis Scholar-Athlete of the Year,â€ť the FHSAAâ€™s most prestigious honor bestowed on any active student-athlete.
Marcella Bolenbaugh – St. John Neumann
Marcella is an aspiring biomedical engineer, she has represented her class in student government every year, holding the positions of freshman class vice president, sophomore class secretary, junior class vice president, and senior class representative. Marcella is a three-sport athlete participating in volleyball, basketball, and softball. She is the Wendyâ€™s High School Heisman 2016 winner for St. John Neumann. Selflessly dedicating her spare time to helping others, Marcella is a key participant in Immokaleeâ€™s Mission Week and a member of Youth and Christ Helping Together. She was selected as one of six students to attend a four day Salesian Leadership Retreat through the peer ministry program. She will be continuing her education at the University of Florida.
Matthew DeSantis – St. John Neumann
Matthew participated in soccer, swimming and diving, and track and field earning nine varsity letters. He was the leading goal scorer for St. John Neumann in the â€™15-â€™16 season and an All-Area Team selection for soccer. He was recognized for his character and leadership potential his junior year with the Holy Cross Book Award. Prominent in the National BETA Club, Matthew acted as the vice president in 2015 and the president in 2016 of St. John Neumannâ€™s chapter. He served on the executive board of the Hugh Oâ€™Bryan Youth Leadership Alumni Association and was an ambassador for the association. As a member of the Make-A-Wish Youth Leadership Committee Executive Board, Matthew contributed to a fundraising total of $75,000 last year with an increased goal of $100,000 for this year. Their dual fundraising-leadership approach has been implemented around the country. Matthew will be relocating to Annapolis, Md. to attend the U.S. Naval Academy.
David Mahan – Bishop Verot
David is a six-time varsity letterman with an extensive history of academic excellence. He is the salutatorian of Bishop Verot class of 2017. David was honored as a National Merit Commended Scholar in 2016 and on track to graduate Summa Cum Laude. He was awarded both the Rotary South Sam Sirianni Scholar Athlete Award and the Bishop Verot Football Scholar Athlete award in 2016. Off the field, David participated in Model UN, National Honor Society, student ambassadors, and student government as the National Honor Society liaison. He has gone on mission trips to Guatemala for four consecutive years aiding at a malnutrition center. David has held fundraisers to purchase water filters from a Guatemalan based company to provide 300 filters and counting to families in need. He is currently assisting in research for an alternative nutrition source for the malnutrition center. David plans on furthering this dedication to others through studying microbiology on a pre-medicine track at the University of Florida in Gainesville or the University of Miami in Coral Gables.