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Graduation Awards

placeholder June 13, 2016   •   VOL. 54, NO. 11   •   Oakland, CA
Graduation 2016

Patrick Russi, athletic director, and Zavier Annis at the Sports Award Night.

St. Philip Neri graduate awarded CYO scholarship

Zavier Annis, a graduating Eighth Grade student at St. Philip Neri School, Alameda, has been awarded the 2016 Marty Mart CYO Scholarship. The award was presented to Zavier by the St. Philip Neri athletic director, Patrick Russi, at the recent CYO Athletic Awards night at the school.

Zavier has been especially active in the CYO Track and Field program at St. Philip Neri where his parents are coaches, and was run since kindergarten. An excellent athlete, Zavier placed first in the Eighth Grade boys' 100-meter dash, the 200-meter dash and the long jump at the Oakland Diocese CYO Championship Track and Field Meet in May. He also ran CYO Cross Country and played Boys' CYO Basketball.

In addition to sports, Zavier is active at St. Philip Neri School as president of the Student Leadership Council, and has been active in the Peer Tutoring Program. He is an avid piano player and holds the rank of Life Scout. Zavier will continue his education next fall at St. Joseph Notre Dame High School.

In writing about the value of CYO in his life, Zavier stated, "I've learned valuable leadership skills from guiding the track team in stretching and gently instructing younger athletes on their long jump form. I've learned social skills from interacting with athletes on other teams while waiting for events or cross country races to begin, or talking to opposing basketball players before, after and sometimes during games. I have also made some new friends from this! Finally, I've learned sportsmanship, like any athlete in CYO, by saying 'good game' after every win or loss, patting the person on the back that finishes the race ahead of me, and of course, prayer before every game and meet. I've learned so much from CYO and the ideals it has instilled in me."

Patrick Russi, St. Philip Neri athletic director, wrote about Zavier, "I have personally witnessed his good sportsmanship on the basketball court and track. Zavier enjoys watching and helping others achieve their goals as well. He can be seen cheering and supporting teammates and classmates as they perform. In addition, Zavier is a magnet for other fellow athletes from other schools to talk with, support each other and share ideas."

The Marty Mart Scholarship is not awarded on skill in playing sports, but is based on an Eighth Grade CYO player's participation in CYO, in understanding sportsmanship and by exhibiting the Christian values that are goals of CYO.

To apply for the scholarship, a candidate submits a scholarship application that includes an essay in which they are asked to "share their thoughts on their athletic abilities, sportsmanship and the effect of CYO participation on their school and daily life." A candidate must also submit a letter of recommendation from an adult significant to him or her.

For this year's award, 31 CYO players, both boys and girls from around the diocese, submitted applications. Applications were screened by the scholarship committee, the five top candidates were invited to interviews and the winner was selected.

The CYO Office awards the Marty Mart Scholarship twice annually. The award is open to Eighth Grade CYO players. An additional award is given to Eighth Grade girls' CYO volleyball players each January.

The scholarship is named in honor of the late Marty Mart, former Oakland Diocese CYO Assistant Director, who passed away in 2002. The scholarship is funded entirely through private donations.

(Bill Ford is the director of the Catholic Youth Organization in the Diocese of Oakland.)

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