Angel Hernandez, Pahokee Middle/Senior High, earns Sam Budnyk Student-Athlete of the Year Scholarship

May 19, 2009

 Angel Hernandez, Pahokee Middle/Senior High, earns Sam Budnyk Student-Athlete of the Year Scholarship 

The Sam Budnyk Scholarship Committee announced today that Angel Hernandez of Pahokee Middle/Senior High is the winner of this year’s scholarship. He will be honored at a June 8 dinner at the Top of The Point Restaurant at Phillips Point.

Angel competed against 44 other nominees and nine other finalists. Chair of the panel of judges, Dave McIntosh, said “Each year, the nominess, and especially our 10 finalists, are representative of the very best of our community’s youth. Angel’s recognition as the most deserving senior speaks volumes of his achievements. Angel and his fellow nominees and finalists demonstrate the quality individuals whom Palm Beach County parents and schools produce. Our nation is in the great hands of our nominees and their peers throughout the nation.”

Angel is the Valedictorian of his class and holds a 3.89 GPA. He is an International Baccalaureate Diploma candidate and has been named the top migrant student in Palm Beach County for two consecutive years. 

Angel has excelled in academics, scoring a level four in the Advanced Placement exam in Microeconomics, and was nominated by his school for the Pathfinder Scholarship in Academic Excellence. 

Outside of the classroom, Angel is involved in various clubs and activities.  He is the Student Government President, captain of the Academic Team, and a National Honor Society member.  He was also crowned Mr. Pahokee Middle/Senior High during Homecoming 2008.  Angel is a musician in the marching band, and has been section leader of the mellophone section since eighth grade.   

On the athletic field Angel participates in both soccer and basketball.  He started playing soccer at age five, and participates in both a city league and his school’s varsity team.  He is a forward on the soccer team and has been captain of the varsity team for the past two years.  At age seven, Angel began playing basketball and has continued playing in high school as shooting guard on both the JV and varsity teams. 

Angel is very involved in the community, completing over eight hundred hours of community service.  He has mentored junior high students, taken part in blood drives, participated in beautifying Pahokee, and helped with the American Red Cross Hurricane Disaster Relief Program.  One volunteer project that Angel really enjoyed was working with a friend organizing, supervising, and participating in a basketball game for students with special needs. 

Angel is the son of Mexican migrant parents who came to the United States searching for a way to provide for their family.  He is grateful for the sacrifices they have made for him and for all of their support.  The hard work and persistence his parents have shown is an inspiration for him, and the reason he strives to be the best he can.

Angel will be the second in his family to graduate from high school and have the opportunity to attend college.  He will enroll at The University of Florida this fall and his professional goal is to become an architect, not only to help companies, but also help those who don’t have an adequate roof over their heads and are struggling.  Angel aspires to become someone who makes a difference in the lives of others, planning to establish his own charitable foundation.

The Sam Budnyk Student-Athlete of the Year scholarship, established and first awarded in 2005, is presented annually to a graduating high school senior in a Palm Beach County public or private school, who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in academics, community service and athletics. An award of $5,000 the first year, and a subsequent $5,000 is available for three consecutive years for a total of $20,000 upon maintaining certain grade levels, other criteria and subject to funds availability.

The scholarship is administered and judged by a panel of diverse, competent and independent citizens, and is named in recognition and celebration of the commitment, values and success of Sam Budnyk, athletic director at Cardinal Newman High School for nearly fifty years, and head football coach for forty-three of those years.

Funds for the award are generously donated by the Orange Bowl Foundation, the Eleanor Jennings Myatt Memorial Fund and by individual and business donors.

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