NEW YORK, Dec. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Foot Locker Foundation and DoSomething.org announced today the celebrity judging panel for the Foot Locker Scholar Athletes Program who will help narrow the playing field from thousands of scholarship applicants to 20. Now in its second year, the program honors 20 exceptional student athletes with $20,000 each in college scholarships (totaling $400,000) for demonstrating academic excellence and exemplifying strong leadership skills both in sports and within their communities.
Celebrity athletes who have signed on to help select these highly-motivated recipients include Tyler Clary (2012 Olympic Gold Medalist, Swimming), Charlie Davies (Striker, American Soccer Player), Jennifer Kessy (American Volleyball Player), Brandon Knight (Guard, Detroit Pistons), Kristine Lilly (retired Forward/Midfielder, American Soccer Player), LaShawn Merritt (World-Class Track and Field Olympian), Maya Moore (Forward, WNBA Minnesota Lynx), Chris Paul (Guard, Los Angeles Clippers), and April Ross (American Volleyball Player).
"We are proud to have such positive role models on our celebrity judging panel who perfectly capture the essence of the Foot Locker Scholar Athletes scholarship program," said Ken C. Hicks, Chairman, President and CEO. "The collective talent, determination and incredible resolve demonstrated by each of these individuals is a true inspiration for our aspiring candidates."
Applicants must be college-bound in the Fall of 2013, participate in a sport and maintain a 3.0 GPA. Participants will be required to submit two essays and one recommendation. All applications will be reviewed by a panel of scholarship experts and celebrity judges. Students can apply online or be nominated by teachers, coaches, mentors, family and friends by visiting www.dosomething.org/footlocker. Applications close December 19, 2012 at 5:00 p.m. (EST), which means there is still time to apply!
Meet The Celebrity Athletes Sizing Up the Playing Field:
Tyler Clary. Fresh off his Olympic debut at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Clary proved hard work and dedication pay off when he won the gold in the 200-meter backstroke in Olympic record time. In total, he has won 11 medals in major international competitions: one gold, seven silver, and three bronze spanning the Summer Olympics, the FINA World Championships, the Pan Pacific Championships, and the Pan American Games.
Charles Desmond "Charlie" Davies. No stranger to scoring goals, Davies is a Striker for Danish Superliga Randers FC. In 2009, Davies suffered severe injuries in a car crash, but just like a Foot Locker Scholar Athlete, he proved he could overcome challenges. He left a legacy of soccer records at his high school before moving on to play for the Boston College Eagles and the Westchester Flames in college. His embodiment of sportsmanship and his overall soccer skills are indicative of why he's been selected 16 times for the United States national team.
Jennifer Kessy. Growing up, Kessy was involved in many sports. After trying her hand in gymnastics, softball, and soccer, she finally got hooked on volleyball – and what a smart move. As of April 2012, Kessy has ten AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals) and nine FIVB (International Federation of Volleyball) first place finishes overall as a professional American beach volleyball player. Continuing her athletic excellence, Kessy won the silver medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, along with her duo partner, April Ross.
Brandon Knight. Being drafted to play for 'Team Shaq' in the 2012 Rising Stars competition was just icing on the cake for Knight, who was selected by the Detroit Pistons with the 8th overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft. The up-and-coming point guard won the 2009 and 2010 Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year Awards. He became the third junior to receive the award following LeBron James (2002) and Greg Oden (2005).
Kristine Lilly. Now retired, Lilly last played for the Boston Breakers of Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) and was a member of the United States women's national soccer team for 24 years. Her commitment and skill to the sport earned her the rank of most capped player in the history of soccer, a feat accomplished by no other men's or women's player. She scored 130 goals for the United States women's national team, behind Mia Hamm's 158 goals and Abby Wambach's second place growing tally.
LaShawn Merritt. A personal best of 43.75 seconds in the 400 meters makes Merritt the fifth fastest runner of all time. He established himself individually by winning a silver medal in the 400 meters at the 2007 World Championships. He also broke the Olympic record in the relay with the American team, recording the second fastest time ever, at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Merritt is recognized as a World Champion with a win at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics in the 400m and the 4×400m relay. He strives to achieve greatness in the memory of his brother (who passed away in 1999) and faces every challenge with integrity.
Maya Moore. Moore first picked up a basketball at the age of three after her mother mounted a hoop on the back door of their apartment. This early start, combined with lots of practice, helped Moore lead the UConn Huskies to their undefeated national championships in 2009 and 2010. She was Academic All American of the Year in 2010 and 2011 (3 times selected as an Academic All American). In the 2011 WNBA Draft, Moore was the first overall pick and joined the Minnesota Lynx where she earned Rookie of the Year honors. She then helped her team to its first WNBA championship, the second number one draft pick to do so. She certainly is proof that determination and hard work pay off.
Chris Paul. Despite only playing two varsity basketball seasons in high school, Paul accepted a scholarship with Wake Forest University. Since being selected fourth overall in the 2005 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Hornets (after only his sophomore year), Paul has been an NBA Rookie of the Year (2006), a five-time All-Star, and a multiple All-NBA and All-Defensive team honoree. Currently a point guard for the Los Angeles Clippers, his skill and determination has also helped him win two Olympic gold medals with the United States national basketball team.
April Ross. Ross credits her time at the Orange County Volleyball Club to teaching her the value of hard work in both volleyball and in life. These skills helped Ross to earn the title of Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, as well as the National Freshman of the Year at University of Southern California. As of April 2012, Ross has eight AVP and nine FIVB first place finishes overall as a professional American beach volleyball player. With her duo partner, Jennifer Kessy, Ross won the silver medal in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
"There's no better person to judge a young athlete on qualities like sportsmanship and leadership abilities than an actual athlete," said Aria Finger, Chief Operating Officer, DoSomething.org. "Each celebrity athlete on our panel embodies qualities we look for in our Foot Locker Scholar Athletes like dedication, hard work, passion, strong moral character, and diversity, to name a few."
This year's 20 winners will join the program's inaugural class of 20 Foot Locker Scholar Athletes, which will bring the overall program total to 40 scholarship recipients in its second year (for a total of $800,000 over two years).
The Foot Locker Scholar Athletes program is a part of the Foot Locker Foundation, Inc., which provides monetary support for educational and sports programs across the country. Supporting this all-star partnership is Fastweb, a trusted scholarship and financial aid resource used by students to help find opportunities to pay for school.
About Foot Locker Foundation, Inc.
Foot Locker Foundation, Inc. is the charitable arm of Foot Locker, Inc., a specialty athletic retailer that operates approximately 3,360 stores in 23 countries in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Over the years, Foot Locker, Inc. has developed meaningful partnerships and programs to improve and enrich the educational opportunities for children across the country. Through its Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, Footaction and Champs Sports stores, as well as its direct-to-customer channel Footlocker.com/Eastbay/CCS, the Company is a leading global retailer of athletically inspired shoes and apparel. For more information, visit www.footlocker.com.
We love teens. They are creative, active, wired…and frustrated that our world is so messed up. DoSomething.org harnesses that awesome energy and unleashes it on causes teens care about. Almost every week, we launch a new national campaign. The call to action is always something that has a real impact and doesn't require money, an adult, or a car. With a goal of 5 million active members by 2015, DoSomething.org is one of the largest organizations in the US for teens and social change. Join us at www.DoSomething.org.
Fastweb is the nation's recognized leader in helping students pay for school, by providing scholarship and financial aid information, as well as information on jobs and internships. One out of three college-bound seniors use the site, and more than 50 million users have benefitted from Fastweb's information and services. Fastweb lets students create personalized profile that can be matched against its expansive databases of colleges and scholarships. As the oldest and most popular free online scholarship matching service, the database has more than 1.5 million scholarships totaling over $3.4 billion. To learn more about Fastweb, visit www.fastweb.com and follow on Twitter at @PayingForSchool.