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placeholder June 23, 2014   •   VOL. 52, NO. 12   •   Oakland, CA

Michelle Walton, mother; Sister James Marien Dyer, CSJ, principal; Lauren Walton, recipient; Father Ismael Gutierrez, pastor; and Michael Walton, father, after the presentation of the Marty Mart Scholarship at graduation at St. Francis of Assisi School in Concord.

Marty Mart CYO spring scholarship awarded

The 2014 Marty Mart Scholarship has been awarded to Lauren Walton, the eighth-grade valedictorian at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School, Concord, and a CYO basketball player. The presentation was made at the school's May 30 graduation ceremony.

Lauren has played CYO basketball for seven years at St. Francis as well as a year of volleyball and a year of cheer. She was a three-time finalist and twice diocesan champion in the annual Knights of Columbus free-throw contest and a California state finalist. She was a member of the student council at St. Francis, and served as class president for four years. She helped the fourth-grade girls' basketball team as a practice coach.

In her scholarship essay, Lauren wrote: "Some people measure winning purely by wins, losses and the number of trophies. By these standards, my CYO team and I had a successful CYO career. However, to me, CYO is so much more than scores and records. 'Winning is earning the respect of opponents and the love of teammates' (Jim Coleman, volleyball coach and Olympian). Throughout my CYO experience, I strived to accomplish both by always being a good sport and working my hardest."

Sister James Marien Dyer, CSJ, St. Francis of Assisi School principal, said, "The epitome of CYO participation is good sportsmanship, healthy activity and a God-centered concern for the 'neighbor' and the 'other.' There is no room for ill will, bad temper or lack of sportsmanship in any form. Lauren knows the difference and not only seems to call herself to the higher good, but also calls her teammates to the same."

The CYO Office has awarded the Marty Mart Scholarship twice annually for the past 11 years to outstanding CYO participants, one in girls' CYO volleyball, awarded last January, and another for participants in other CYO sports. The award is given on the candidates' expression of Christian values experienced in sports and their ability to work with teammates and with other teams in exhibiting those Christian values. Athletic talent is not considered. Candidates submit an application asking for their reflections on their "athletic abilities, sportsmanship and the effects of their CYO participation on the daily life and their faith." They are also asked to provide a reference from an adult who is significant in their lives.

The scholarship is named in honor of the late Marty Mart, former assistant diocesan CYO director, who passed away in 2002. The scholarship is funded entirely through private donations.

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