The bleachers were full of students Friday morning at Mountain Crest High School’s basketball gym. After all of the announcements were made for upcoming events at the assembly, one senior was honored at center court in front of her peers and recognized for her volunteer efforts in the community.
Emilee Hamilton was presented with a surprise $20,000 scholarship check from Foot Locker. Amid loud cheers from the student body, the scholarship award was delivered by Jared Sharp, District Manager for Foot Locker.
“Four years ago we launched a program called the Scholar Athlete Program,” Sharp told the hundreds of students in attendance. “The Foot Locker Scholar Athlete Program honors students who demonstrate great academic excellence and show their devotion to their sport of choice, as well their communities they live in.”
Hamilton, a senior and resident of Providence, is one of only 20 such scholarship recipients around the country. She played three years of tennis and participated in track and field her senior year.
“Three years ago I was kind of lonely in eighth grade and didn’t have many friends. I noticed there were people in retirement centers who were also lonely,” Hamilton explained after receiving the over-sized check. “I didn’t like that so I decided to change that.”
Hamilton explained how she created Utah YOUth Connect, a volunteer organization that connects youth with retired individuals throughout Cache County. She poured in over 1100 hours of her own spearheading and organizing service opportunities for youth throughout the valley, not just at Mountain Crest. She also created a <a href=”http://www.utahyouthconnect.org/” target=”_blank”>website to provide information and volunteer opportunities</a>.
“It’s a program that connects the generations through inter-generational service and fun monthly activities,” she continued. “Our school district has been really supportive and they have gotten all of the elementary schools, high schools and even junior highs involved.
“We’ve been able to, as youth, give over 8,000 hours of service over the last three years. Congrats to all of you guys for that!”
Hamilton said she plans to attend Utah State University and learn more about becoming a physical therapist so she can continue to serve America’s aging population. One of her biggest concerns is what she calls the Silver Tsunami, all the aging baby boomers who need special attention as they get older.
She also plans on replicating the success of her high school and junior high service clubs at USU.