Local Scholar-Athlete Named Finalist For National Honor park
Sean O'Brien, a graduate of Pope John Paul II High School in Slidell, has been selected as a finalist for a National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) High School National Scholar-Athlete Award. The NFF will honor one young man from each of the country's five regions as the best and the brightest for their accomplishments as athletes, scholars and citizens at the high school level. The NFF announced the 36 finalists for the honors on Wednesday morning and will announce the five winners the week of Oct. 9.
O'Brien, who will play football at Rhodes College this fall, was nominated for the honor by the Allstate Sugar Bowl NFF Chapter after being recognized as one of 32 local scholar-athletes at the bowl's NFF Scholar-Athlete Luncheon in April. He was also selected for a $10,000 scholarship at the event. Scholarship winners were chosen based on essays submitted after being notified of their selection as scholar-athletes.
"The NFF Chapter Network continues to grow and excel, and their work this year has allowed us to identify these exceptional 36 scholar-athletes who have clearly established themselves among the best in the nation," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "It will be a difficult task to select one from each region as the absolute best. Each possesses incredible talent in all facets of their lives, and it is a tremendous honor for us to highlight their accomplishments."
For the full list of honorees, visit the National Football Foundation website.
O'Brien has overcome unimaginable adversity – he lost his mother when he was nine years old, followed shortly after by losing his home to Katrina. Then at 12 years old, his father passed away. He wrote, "Life will be filled with challenges and because of what I have been through, I know I will be strong enough to succeed." And succeed he has; he was a four-year football letterman, a three-time all-district selection and a two-time team captain; and he was also a member of the Principal's Honor Roll with a 4.0 grade-point average, a true source of pride for his grandparents who have raised him.
With 120 chapters and more than 12,000 members, the NFF Chapter Network impacts more than 500,000 student-athletes at 4,800 high schools in 47 states each year. The centerpiece of their efforts are the annual chapter awards banquets, which recognize more than 3,500 of the nation's top scholar-athletes and distribute more than $1 million in scholarships. From this pool of 3,500 scholar-athletes, the chapters have nominated 36 individuals in 2014 as finalists for the highly sought-after NFF High School National Scholar-Athlete Awards. During the week of Oct. 9, a national committee will select and announce the five winners, one from each region.
The five winners will travel to New York City to be honored during the NFF Chapter Awards Luncheon, presented by Under Armour, on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. First bestowed in 1991, the NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Awards have become one of the most prestigious high school honors in the country. Criteria for the award include but are not limited to academic achievement, athletic accolades and community involvement.