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22 teams play in annual volleyball tourney

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Rev. Francis M. Vella

placeholder February 6, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 3   •   Oakland, CA

Amber Loza was the 2017 Marty Mart CYO volleyball scholarship winner — from left, Jose and Crisanta Loza, Amber's parents, Jim Soltau, Amber Loza, Vicki Mart-Larsen, Sue Mart, Brennen Larsen and Steve Larsen.

Teammates cheer as Amber Loza earns
Marty Mart scholarship

With cheers from her All Saints teammates at the conclusion of the volleyball tournament Mass, Amber Loza, an Eighth Grade volleyball player at the school, was awarded the 2017 Marty Mart CYO Girls' Volleyball Scholarship.

Amber was present with her parents to receive the award at the special Mass celebrated at the recent Jim Negri Girls' CYO Volleyball Tournament. Bill Ford, CYO director, presented the award, along with Victoria Mart-Larsen, daughter of Marty Mart, on behalf of the scholarship committee.

Amber has played CYO volleyball at All Saints, Hayward, for two years, as well as participating for four years in CYO girls' basketball. She is president of the student council at All Saints school, a member of the Girls' Honors Bell Group, involved in theater and active in CYO service projects.

Amber credited her coach, Brianna Williams, with not only helping to develop her skills but also to teaching her players to play as a team. Amber wrote in her scholarship essay about her coach and her volleyball experience: "I think what made her so influential to us was that it didn't matter to her if we lost, as long as we put our blood, sweat and tears into that court and played All Saints volleyball. I've learned about the importance of being humble and respecting other teams, embracing my mistakes to move forward and continually supporting my teammates. I'll always remember the joyous feeling I had when I got my serve over the net and my teammates were there rooting and cheering for me!"

This is the 14th year the scholarship has been awarded to an outstanding Eighth Grade CYO girls' volleyball player. The award is given based on the candidates' expression of Christian values experienced in sports and the 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 their daily life and their faith." They are also asked to provide a reference from an adult who is significant in their lives.

The CYO Office awards the Marty Mart Scholarship twice annually. This award was for Girls' CYO Volleyball and an additional award will be presented in the spring. The award is open to Eighth Grade CYO players.

The scholarship is named in honor of the late Marty Mart, former assistant diocesan CYO director, who passed away in 2002. The scholarship of $500 is used to help support the awardees' education, and 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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