A pair of student-athletes in Westchester have been nominated for a prestigious award sponsored in part through the New York Giants.
Football players in White Plains and Pelham have been nominated for the “Heart of a Giant” award, and now need their communities to vote them into the finals. Each week, 10 football players in the Tri-state area are nominated for voting, and their communities have 25 days to note them in.
Six finalists and four honorable mention finalists will be named. Each of those will receive $1,000 for their school’s football program, with the winner receiving an additional $9,000. The grand prize winner will also be celebrated during an on-field ceremony at a Giants’ home game in December.
Local student-athletes to be nominated include Pelham Memorial High School's Nick Senerchia and Stepinac High School's Peter Thompson.
The “Heart of a Giant” award is “based on an athlete’s demonstration of commitment, dedication, will, character and teamwork. Candidates must possess a strong work ethic, leadership skills, the desire to succeed both on the field and in the classroom and the ability to inspire others to work together to achieve a common goal.”According to the organizers of the "Heart of a Giant Award:"
"To Nick Senerchia, football has a larger meaning for him than just being a sport. Senerchia says, 'it is an important part of my family history and I believe that I have been passed a responsibility to act at a higher level on and off the field than those around me.' Senerchia’s uncle, Anthony Senerchia, was involved in Pelham youth football for his entire life, even as he fought a 13 year battle with ALS. Senerchia’s uncle was a catalyst for Senerchia’s love for football, as well as the catalyst of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Seeing his uncle there every night at practice and every weekend on the sidelines inspired Senerchia to continue his love of the game that his uncle instilled in him by training to play in college. Senerchia says, 'my job now is to continue to share both his vision for the program, and the character he has taught me, with my teammates and our community.”'
"There are not many people who start their day off by taking two buses and a train to commute to school. Peter Thompson is one of these dedicated people. Thompson does this for an opportunity to be one of the first people in his family to go to college. Head Coach Mike O’Donnell says, 'Peter Thompson is a special young man who has been through a tremendous amount of adversity in his life and definitely has the Heart of a Giant.' Unfortunately, Thompson’s world was completely shattered when his grandmother, who’s been his guardian his whole life, passed away during spring training this year. Thompson was hurt and unmotivated, until one day, he remembered he was his grandma’s favorite football player. Thompson says, 'football really makes me feel like my Grandmother is still here because I know she is watching me from heaven at all times while I’m on the field.'"
The nominees can be voted on here.
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