SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine - The selection committee for the 2017 Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Offensive and Defensive Lineman Awards today announced the six finalists for what is the largest high school scholarship of its kind in the country.
Jeff Kane, retired president of National Distributors, Inc. and Frank Gaziano's son-in-law, said the finalists were chosen from the thirteen semi-finalists and consist of three senior offensive linemen and three senior defensive linemen representing a range of high schools across the state. The finalists were named this week after the selection committee interviewed each of the semi-finalists to determine the finalists.
"It is clear the committee has a great group of student athletes to choose from again this year. Based on their accomplishments and the character each of the finalists has proven to be dedicated to their sport, academics and their communities," said Kane. "On behalf of the Gaziano family, congratulations to all the finalists and their families and I am looking forward to meeting them and helping announce the winner on January 27 at the Augusta Civic Center."
Gaziano Lineman Award Finalists:
Cole Hoffman, Kennebunk High School
Hoffman is in the top 15 percent of his class at Kennebunk High School, earning him high honors awards since freshman year. In 2017, he received the Campbell Academic Achievement Award and the Scholar Athlete Award for High Honors several times. He is also an International Baccalaureate Diploma candidate. Named captain of both the football and basketball teams for the past season, he is a leader among his peers is demonstrated by his work as a representative for YMCA Youth in Government and his community involvement as a volunteer football coach for local youth and is a coach for the Kennebunk Parks and Recreation Departments summer programs.
Zachary Klein, Bonny Eagle High School
Klein was a member of the SMAA All-Academic Team in 2017 and has been on the honor roll since his freshman year. On the field, this past season he was named the Gerry Raymond Award winner as the best lineman in the SMAA and named 1st Team All-SMAA Offensive Line. In addition to four years on the Scots lacrosse team, he has volunteered as a youth football coach for Bonny Eagle and served as a coach for Gorham youth lacrosse. After his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, he has dedicated time since his freshman year to create the "Fight Like a Scot" program for cancer research, which the includes selling merchandise with all profits going to cancer research in Maine.
Sean McCormack-Kuhman, Wells High School
McCormack-Kuhman has strong GPA and SAT scores, earning him student-of-the-trimester honors each of the past two winters at Wells High School. In addition to his work in the classroom, he was a member of the 2016 and 2017 state champion teams and earned Campbell Conference honors as a conference all-star and recipient of the John Taglienti Award, presented each year to the outstanding player in the Campbell Conference. In addition to football, he has been a member of the school's wrestling and lacrosse team for the past four years. In the community, he volunteers his time to help local youth football programs, works with the Wells Historical Society and visits the elderly at Avita, a memory-care facility that cares for seniors with Alzheimer's and dementia.
Michael Lunny, Sanford High School
Academically, Lunny ranks in the top 20 in his class at Sanford High School and is a member of the National Honors Society. He has received awards from the United States Marine Corps Semper-Fidelis, National Academy of Future Scientists and the National Society of High School Scholars. On the field, he was named to the All-Conference Team on defense and was the MVP and Semper-Fidelis All-American. Lunny is also a member of the Key Club, varsity basketball and outdoor track teams. During his spare time, he has contributed more than 90 hours of community service.
Aidan Parmenter, Leavitt Area High School
Parmenter is involved in AP courses and several extra-curricular activities, including the Latin Club, Key Club, Outing Club and Environmental Resources Club, and in addition to football, is a member of the track and field and Certamen teams. After sitting out portions of the 2016 season with a severe back injury, he returned in 2017 as team captain and earned recognition as an All-Star in the Campbell Conference and was named to the 2017 KVAC First Team in 2017. He has participated in many community events, including the Dempsey Challenge, Hornet Pride Camp, TAA Boosters and Breakfast with Santa event.
Arlo Pike, Bonny Eagle High School
Pike has excelled in the classroom with a strong GPA, making the honor roll the past four years at Bonny Eagle. He has also earned several athletic honors as a 1st Team All-SMAA Defensive Line, and AMAA All-Academic Team. As captain of the Scots football and baseball teams in 2016 and 2017, he leads by example and continues to the community by volunteering time at Catherine's Cupboard, a local food bank, as well as supporting the Standish Kiwanis and volunteering to coach youth football. In 2015, he received the Julia Clukey "Courage Award" that recognizes Maine students for demonstrating leadership or overcoming adversity.
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 in South Portland, and a former college All-American and professional football player with a lifelong passion for local sports. During the past seven years of the Gaziano Awards, $82,000 has been awarded by National Distributors to Maine students. One offensive and one defensive lineman will each receive $5,000 and a first place trophy, and four runners-up and will receive $1,000. The award winners will be announced at a luncheon ceremony on Saturday, Jan. 27, at the Augusta Civic Center.
The two keynote speakers for the event this year are Logan Mars, a 2011 Gaziano Award winner, and Kevin Cooper, head coach at Bonny Eagle High School. Mars played four years at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (USGA) and was named the Athlete of the Year by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Most recently, he was involved in the Coast Guard's efforts to help victims of hurricanes Irma and Maria. He is currently assigned to the USCG Cutter Campell, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, where he is a command, control, communications and intelligence officer.
Cooper has coached the Scots for 16 seasons. Previously, he was a defensive assistant at the University of Maine for six years. He has also coached at Ohio University and Maine Maritime Academy after a playing career at Dartmouth College and Lawrence High School.
The annual Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Offensive and Defensive Lineman Awards are presented to players who epitomize the character, leadership, and perseverance of Gaziano. The selection committee chooses award winners based on their strong leadership on the field, in the classroom, and in the community.
In 2012, National Distributors, Inc. increased the scholarship amount to $5,000 for the two winners and $1,000 for the two runners-up making it the largest high school football scholarship of its kind in the country. Funding for the $14,000 in total scholarships is provided by National Distributors, Inc. The selection committee will also be securing sponsorships ranging from $50 - $500 so players and families of the student-athletes can attend the awards luncheon ceremony free of charge. If you are interested in attending the event or contributing to the scholarship fund, contact event coordinator Jenn Bouffard at 207-773-1719 ext. 3343 or email email@example.com.
For more information on the awards luncheon or the scholarship program, visit www.gazianolinemanawards.org.
Editor's Note: Finalists for the 2017 Gaziano Awards and Peter DeSimon, president of the Gaziano Awards, are available for interviews by contacting Greg Glynn at Nancy Marshall Communications at 207-623-4177.
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