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NIAAA Announces 2018 National Scholarship Recipients

Thursday, September 26, 2019   (0 Comments)
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INDIANAPOLIS, IN (December 18, 2018) The winners of the 2018 NIAAA Student/Essay Scholarship were announced at the December 15, 2018, Opening General Session of the National Athletic Directors Conference. The conference, conducted from December 15 through 18 at the Henry B Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas, was a joint production of the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association and the National Federation of State High School Associations. 2018 marked the 12th year for the NIAAA Student Scholarship/Essay presentations. Students from 50 state athletic administrator associations, plus the District of Columbia, were able to submit a nomination form and essay. The male and female state winners were then screened within one of eight Sections in which the state athletic administrator associations reside, which then created eight male and eight female Section winners. The NIAAA Board of Directors evaluated the finalists scholastic record, athletic participation accomplishments, citizenship and leadership credentials on its way to selecting one male and one female national recipient. Both recipients were on hand in San Antonio to receive their national scholarship of $2500, a personal trophy, a plaque for their high school and to read their winning essay entitled: How High School Athletics Have Impacted My Life. The total scholarship earned by the two national recipients was $4000. Following are the two 2018 recipients:


Sarah Marie Rauch Grayslake North High School, Grayslake, Illinois


Sarah’s parents are mother, Maribeth Rauch, and the late Edward John Rauch. Sarah graduated from Grayslake North High School, with a grade point average of 4.6. She is attending the University of Illinois studying Molecular and Cellular Biology. The Athletic Director at Grayslake High School is Tina Woolard, CMAA.

Sarah earned twelve varsity letters in her high school career, playing the sports of volleyball, basketball and soccer. She served as captain of the volleyball team during her senior season. Sarah is an Illinois State Scholar, school Honor Roll member, and earned the conference Scholar Athlete Award in all three of her sports.

Sarah was active in her school serving as vice-president of class council, and vice-president of the National Honor Society. She also was active as a peer tutor, Athletic Council Member, District Code of Conduct Review Board Student Representative, and a student leader with the school Knight United group.  

In the community and church, Sarah was a volunteer in a homeless shelter and church soup kitchen. She also attended a Catholic Heart Workcamp Trip. Athletic administrator, Tina Woolard says of Sarah, “…she is always the one who I see taking time after a contest to shake the hand of officials, help put away equipment, and asks if she can help with anything. Sarah is incredibly thoughtful and articulate, and leads with outstanding example, behavior and work ethic.” 



Evan James Gwozdz – Middleboro High School, Middleboro, Massachusetts

Evan’s parents are Mark and Elizabeth Gwozdz. Evan graduated from Middleboro High School with a 4.0 grade point average.  He is now attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studying Chemical Engineering and Business.

The athletic director at Middleboro High School is Ryan Sylvia, shared that, “Evan possesses a work ethic that is contagious and motivates his class and teammates. As quarterback of his state champion football team he accounted for all 6 touchdowns in the final game, passing for 4 and running for 2.”

Evan earned nine varsity letters participating in football, indoor track and baseball. He served as captain of all three teams during his senior year. He was selected as a league and division football player of the year by three entities, was a two-year league all-star, and selected as a Massachusetts Shriner’s Classic team member. In indoor track, he is a school record holder, and was a league champion in long jump. In addition, Evan was a league all-star and among the top batting averages in Massachusetts.

Academically, he was a National Merit Scholarship Commended Student, received the Rensselaer Medal for Outstanding Math & Science, and was the Wendy’s High School Heisman state winner. He was a league scholar, and recognized as all scholastic by three football selection groups, and one in baseball as well. Evan is a National Honor Society member.

Leadership roles held include 4 years as Class President, Student Council Executive Board, honor society Vice-President, captain of the math team, and a member of the Massachusetts Association of Student Council members, while also presenting at a workshop for the same organization.

Evan’s community and church activities included volunteering at St. Vincent Food Pantry, Special Olympics, and a homeless shelter. He also helped at a football skills camp, and was a swim lifeguard and instructor, Little League Buddy, and volunteered as a tutor in chemistry, math, English and Spanish.



MEDIA CONTACT:        Mike Blackburn




About the NIAAA: The NIAAA is based in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is the national leadership organization for high school and middle school athletic administrators. With current individual membership of over 10,000 the NIAAA consists of athletic administrators from associations in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Internationally. The NIAAA leads in providing professional development for athletic administrators, serving as a resource and provider of safe and plentiful participation opportunities for the nation’s 7.9 million student-athletes. With conducting education- based athletic programs as the focus, NIAAA membership provides opportunity for professional development, education, certification, national award recognition and exchange of ideas with athletic administrators throughout the world.


NIAAA champions the profession of athletic administration through education opportunities, advocating ethics, developing leaders and fostering community.