The Heisman. An award that conjures up images of success, courage, and names like Barry Sanders and Kyler Murray. The trophy honors outstanding collegiate football players.
However, the organization behind the trophy also offers a scholarship, open to exceptional athletes for all high school sports, and two students from Arcadia High have been awarded that honor.
In November, seniors Alyssa Blanks and Ryan Spier found out that they won the Heisman Scholarship and received $1,000 to be used this fall when they both set out to college.
“It is such a rewarding feeling to be honored for 14 years of hard work as a dancer,” Blanks said. “I am so happy that I can represent Arcadia and the dance community in such a positive light.”
Currently, Blanks is the Choreography Director for the Arcadia Dance Company, a captain of the Arcadia Varsity Pomline, a member of the National Honor Society, and serves as the secretary of the Arcadia Calculus Club.
“My parents and family have provided me with amazing opportunities to further my dance training, and I am so thankful for them,” Blanks shared. “My coaches, from the time I started dancing to now, have been instrumental in my success throughout the years.”
Blanks plans to attend a four-year university in the fall and study psychology to become a clinical psychologist.
Spier echoed many of the same feelings.
“It is a great feeling to be recognized for all my hard work and represent Arcadia,” he said.
Spier is currently the president of the Student Ambassador Club, a member of the National Honor Society, and a representative on the SUSD Student Advisory Board. In addition to his extracurricular activities, Spier has been on the Arcadia baseball team all four years of his high school career and played basketball as a freshman.
“My counselor, Mrs. LaCorte, was so helpful throughout this process, and all of my teachers and my parents, too,” Spier shared. “I am lucky to have people like them to help me along the way.”
Spier plans to attend an out-of-state university to major in finance in the hopes of breaking into the real estate world.
The pair are undecided – as of now – on where they will attend college.
The Heisman High School Scholarship is funded by the Heisman Trophy Trust, a nonprofit organization rooted in the legacy of the Heisman Memorial Trophy, which was created in 1935 and continues to be awarded to college football players every year.
In 1994, the scholarship was established to embody the same high-level integrity of its namesake for every high school applicant. Today, in partnership with American Insurance, the award is ranked among some of the most prestigious in the country.
“The Heisman Trophy Trust recognizes the next generation of great American leaders whose stories of leadership and impact through sports are truly inspiring,” Michael Comerford, President of Heisman Trust, said. “These student-athletes use their talents and push their limits to improve their communities, and their success is a true testament to the power of sports.”
Currently, high school students who maintain a 3.0 GPA or better, exhibit leadership and role model behavior at school and in the community, and participate in at least one school sport throughout their high school career can apply.