Golfer Keith Woodruff joined his parents, Angela and Randy Woodruff, on Dec. 1 in the school cafeteria as Houston Texans Ambassador J.J. Moses presented Keith with his scholarship award. Also present were his coach, Tim Johnson, and retired coach Mary Stephens.
Keith has been accepted by Texas A&M University in College Station, but he has applied to Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., and is waiting to hear from the college admissions office there, school officials report.
The Scholarship for Champions award was created as a partnership between NRG Reliant and the Texans. It celebrates an athlete's academic performance, as well as the values and dedication to his or her community and high school sports team.
All winners play on varsity teams, and they maintain a minimum 3.0 grade point average with plans to pursue a college degree.
NRG Retail and Reliant President Elizabeth Killinger said that all student athletes honored were simply amazing in a prepared statement.
"Their stories are inspiring and demonstrate how courage, hard work and perseverance have laid the foundation for them to become leaders and make a difference in their communities," Killinger said. "These scholarship winners represent the next generation of leaders. It's truly a privilege and an honor to recognize them and give back to the various communities Reliant serves."
A judging panel with representatives from Reliant selected the winners, who were surprised at their schools and then recognized during a special, on-field ceremony held during the Nov. 24 Texans game. Reliant’s full list of student winners:
- Chirac Hitimana of Davis High School - Chirac plays on his high school varsity soccer team. He has faced many challenges in his life but has remained determined to move forward. Whether on or off the field, Chirac is a great team player, partnering with his teammates - to develop their skills, score goals or cheer them on from the side lines.
- Jaron Dillard of North Forest High School - Jaron plays varsity football. He is a leader on his school's campus and excels both in the classroom and on the field. He consistently demonstrates his maturity and intelligence in his daily dealings with his teammates, classmates and teachers. Additionally, Jaron is active in his community and church.
- Emily Burns of Waller High School - Emily is the catcher on her softball team. According to her coach, "Emily is a young lady who never quits, and she is truly an admired young lady with so much heart, dedication, fire and fight to achieve her goals." Additionally, Emily started working at the age of 16 to pay for select ball so she could continue improving her skills outside of her school sport.
- Tyler Twardowski of Waller High School - Tyler has played football and baseball throughout his life. During his senior year of high school, he experienced several debilitating injuries that he has learned to accept through courage and faith. Tyler now wants to become a physical therapist so he can help others navigate through experiences similar to his.
- Joshua Cooper of Summer Creek High School - Joshua is the varsity track and field captain at his school. His strength and confidence have been a beacon of light for the rest of his teammates. He is constantly giving them positive advice and encouragement to do their best, not only in the realm of athletics, but also in their academics.
- Victoria Meza of Clear Creek High School - By participating in her school's wrestling program, Victoria has made a dramatic transformation in her health. Not only is she the wrestling captain at her school, she is a band section leader, Girl Scout, and honor student.
- Keith Woodruff of Stratford High School - Keith plays on the varsity golf team. At age eleven, Keith became legally blind and deaf. In spite of his disabilities, Keith has succeeded in overcoming any obstacles thrown his way.
- Sarah Redding of Friendswood High School - Sarah is captain of her school's varsity volleyball team and can always be counted on to put her team first. She is also involved in other activities for church and is a volunteer at a youth camp.