Angel Hernandez accepting his award from Coach Sam Budnyk on Monday Night.
Angel competed against 44 nominees and was one of ten finalists, seven girls and three boys, each having been nominated by his or her school’s Principal and Athletic Director. The finalists are recent graduates of five public high schools and five private high schools and eight of the ten earned perfect 4.0 Grade Point Averages. Collectively, they’ve earned many awards – academically and athletically. They’ve contributed thousands of hours of meaningful community service. Among them, they speak ten languages, three of them had perfect scores of 800 on the SAT and one perfect score on the ACT, and three were valedictorians of their graduating class. They will attend the following colleges and universities: Columbia, MIT Middlebury, Rice, Tufts, Haverford and four will attend the University of Florida.
The judges noted that the exceptional accomplishments in academics, athletics and community service of this year’s nominees are an impressive demonstration of the powerful leadership capabilities of the youth in Palm Beach County. Committee Chair Dave McIntosh hosted the elegant dinner and gave praise to all the competitors. “All of our nominees, and especially our finalists, are so impressive that we wish we could honor each of them with a scholarship. They all deserve to be recognized for their achievements and supported in their future studies”.
Angel is proud to be the winner of the 2009 Sam Budnyk Scholar-Athlete Award. He is the Valedictorian of his class and holds a 3.9 GPA. Angel has received an International Baccalaureate Diploma and has been named the top migrant student in Palm Beach County for two consecutive years. He 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.
Beyond the classroom, Angel serves as the Student Government President, captain of the Academic Team, and is 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.
As an athlete, Angel participated in both soccer and basketball. He began playing both sports at a young age and achieved excellence in them. Angel competed in both a city soccer league and his school’s varsity team playing as a forward and served as captain of the varsity team for the past two years. In addition, he also played basketball for his Pahokee Blue Devils as shooting guard on both the JV and varsity teams.
Angel will enroll at The University of Florida this fall, becoming the first in his family to go to college. His professional goal is to become an architect, not only to help companies, but also help those who don’t enjoy an adequate roof over their heads. Angel also aspires to become someone who makes a difference in the lives of others, planning to establish his own charitable foundation.
Angel spoke to the audience, with great appreciation and affection for his family and his school leadership. He also acknowledged the countless contributions of Coach Budnyk to our community and committed to live up to Coach’s standards. He noted his excitement at attending the University of Florida, adding that he was leaving after the banquet to drive to Gainesville for his orientation session the following day.
The Sam Budnyk Student-Athlete of the Year Scholarship, established and first awarded in 2005, is presented annually to a high school senior in Palm Beach County. The student must have demonstrated outstanding achievement in academics, community service and athletics. 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.
A college scholarship of $5,000 is presented annually to a graduating senior in a Palm Beach County public or private school who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in academics, community service and athletics. $5,000 is awarded 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 and other criteria subject to funds availability.
The Committee recognized its previous winners as members of an exclusive society of gifted student-athletes, volunteers, and recognized-leaders. Chairman McIntosh read letters to Angel that were sent from Award winners Raqueria Murvin (2005; Pahokee Middle/Senior High School; University of Central Florida) and Danielle Bradley (2006; The King’s Academy; Baylor University). He introduce the two most recent Award winners, Samantha Gutierrez (2007; Palm Beach Central High School; Dartmouth College) and Amanda Adams (2008; Atlantic Community High School; University of Florida), each of whom congratulated Angel, thanked the Committee for its support and shared advice with Angel.
The Committee expressed its gratitude for the generous financial support for the scholarships that was provided by contributors: the Orange Bowl Committee, the Eleanor Jennings Myatt Memorial Fund, the Phillips Point Club by the Breakers, Bus One, LLC, the family of Edward Foley, the Budnyk Family, formers players and students of Coach Budnyk and a variety of individual and business donors.
About the Palm Beach County Sports Commission
The Palm Beach County Sports Commission is a private, not-for-profit organization contracted by Palm Beach County to promote and market the County as a sports and sports tourism destination. The Commission brings sporting events and activities to the County, enhances economic impact, stimulates bed tax revenues (primarily in the off-season), and maximizes utilization of County facilities. The Commission offers a full range of event service support, corporate partnerships, sponsorships and a local membership program that support its goals. Local, regional, national and international marketing efforts are ongoing by the Commission with sports organizations and event owners. The Commission also produces sports-related programs for the residents of Palm Beach County including the annual Lou Groza Awards program, the Sports Hall of Fame, the Kids’ Fitness Festival and awards the annual Sam Budnyk Student-Athlete Scholarship. For more information on the Palm Beach County Sports Commission go to www.palmbeachsports.com.
Angel Hernandez, Pahokee Middle/Senior High, receives $5,000 Sam Budnyk Scholar-Athlete of the Year Scholarship