For the 48th time, the Clarence A. Christman Jr. Award was presented to an exceptional and worthy local student-athlete. This time-honored tradition never grows stale for the Record-Herald and our valued partner in this prestigious presentation, the Kiwanis Club of Washington C.H.
This year’s outstanding winner was Wendy Hawk, a soon-to-be graduate of Washington High School. Hawk, the daughter of Don and Holly Hawk, was one of 14 student-athletes who were nominated – seven representing Washington High School and seven representing Miami Trace High School.
Hawk was an all-around athlete at Washington High School, lettering for four years in soccer, basketball and softball. The last two years, she was also a placekicker for the football team, receiving a letter her senior year.
She has received a scholarship for music at Wittenberg University and plans to double-major in music and psychology. She plans to continue her athletic career as a member of the Wittenberg softball team.
Following Tuesday’s award presentation, Hawk told Record-Herald Sports Editor Chris Hoppes, “When I was nominated, I wasn’t expecting to win. The other nominees are so amazing and so dedicated. I remember first hearing about this award when I was in the eighth grade. I always thought, ‘Man, that would be the coolest thing ever.’ And now I’m here and it means so much to me.”
Her words after the presentation perfectly mirrored the emotions she conveyed the moment her name was announced as the award winner. She looked genuinely surprised, grateful and joyful. Her actions immediately following the banquet only reinforced how thankful she was to be selected the winner out of a group of extraordinary young people.
Hawk profusely thanked and offered hugs to everyone associated with the award. Her parents were brought to tears by their daughter’s remarkable accomplishment.
The moment was a powerful reminder as to why the Record-Herald started this award program all the way back in 1969, and why it has stood the test of time. The award is emblematic of excellence in academics, athletics and community involvement, as well as a tribute to the local legend it was named after, Clarence A. Christman Jr.
A fierce advocate for the young people of our community, Christman would have been proud of what he saw Tuesday night – a humble young lady accepting his namesake award while in the presence of 13 other bright, talented youth who imbue all of us with pride.