SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine - Today Jeff Kane, president of National Distributors and Frank Gaziano's son-in-law, announced a record number of nominees for the Frank Gaziano High School Scholarship and Awards. The list of 31 nominees consists of 18 offensive linemen and 13 defensive linemen from high schools across the state in 26 communities. Earlier this year, National Distributors announced that this year the two winners will receive $5,000 each and the four runner-ups will receive $1,000. The increase in the amount doubles the scholarship from previous years, making it the largest high school scholarship of its kind in the country.
The award and scholarship presentations to the Frank Gaziano Award winners will be announced at a banquet brunch on Sunday, January 27 at 9:00 a.m. at the Augusta Civic Center.
"We were thrilled to receive nominations for many great candidates, a total of 31 nominees - a new record. Our committee is excited to review the candidates and participate in the extensive evaluation process. There are a lot of great student athletes on the list and we look forward to announcing the winners at the banquet in late January," said Jeff Kane, president of National Distributors Inc.
The scholarship and awards program for Maine high school football linemen was created in 2010 in memory of Frank J. Gaziano, founder of National Distributors and a former college All-American and professional football player with a lifelong passion for local sports.
The annual Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Offensive and Defensive Lineman Awards are presented to players who epitomize the character, leadership, and perseverance of Gaziano. Recipients will be selected by the awards committee based on their strong leadership on the field, in the classroom, and in the community.
Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Award Nominees:
Stephen Paul, Belfast
Peter Kelley, Belfast
Ian Robinson, Biddeford
Andy Martel, Bonny Eagle
James Osgood, Bucksport
James Peabody-Harrington, Cheverus
Alex Sterling, Edward Little
Logan Lafayette, Hampden Academy
Caleb Champagne, Lawrence
Devin McMahan, Leavitt
Joshua Andrews, Massabesic
Mitchell Sibley, Mattanawcook Academy
Adam Gray, Mt. Desert Island
Richard Moulton, Mt. View
Jack Lucy, Orono
Benjamin Castellano, R.W. Traip Academy
Bobby Begin, Thornton Academy
Josh Tardiff, Westbrook
Gregory Duff, Bangor
James Hewes, Cape Elizabeth
Kyle Snowden, Cape Elizabeth
Louis LaFache, Foxcroft Academy
Kurt Massey, John Bapst
Eriq Stewart, Lawrence
Jake Stinson, Messalonskee
Zachary Kendall, Mt. Blue
Dexter Turner, Oxford Hills
Thomas Cox, Waterville
Kyle Reichert, Portland
David LePauloue, Thornton Academy
Devon Grant, Westbrook
To qualify for consideration, each applicant must be a high school senior, have competed at the varsity level for a minimum of two years, and have an exemplary record of positive athletic and non-athletic citizenship. The submission of a student essay and a game film featuring the applicant competing against his toughest competitor are also part of the application process. Applicants from all levels of Maine's high school football three-class system are eligible for the scholarship and are nominated by their coaches.
Each finalist will receive free tickets to attend the banquet. At the event, one offensive lineman and one defensive lineman will each be awarded a first place trophy and a scholarship of $5,000. The emcee for the event will be Csaba Sukosd from WCSH 6 Sports and co-host of "The Fifth Quarter."
Funding for the $14,000 in scholarships is being provided by National Distributors Inc. in South Portland, the company founded by the late Frank J. Gaziano. The awards committee will also be securing sponsorships ranging from $50-$500 so players and families of the student athletes can attend the banquet free of charge. If you are interested in attending the event or contributing to the scholarship fund, call (207) 773-1719, ext 3313.
The selection committee for the Frank J. Gaziano Lineman Awards includes Charles Hews, Mark Bonnevie, Mike Haley, Tim Rice, Ed McAleney, Mike Marston, Dan O'Connell, Bob Sinclair, Peter DeSimon, Matt Perkins and Pete Cloutier.
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