The 50th winner of The Salem News Student-Athlete Award will be revealed tomorrow night at a banquet held at CoCo Key Water Resort in Danvers, and no one is more excited about the event than Brian Shea.
He's not one of the student/athlete representatives from the 14 area schools involved. He's not even one of the proud parents or family members of a nominee.
What Shea is, however, is one of the most enthusiastic judges in event history.
"I'm very pleased to be involved and it does mean a lot to me," Shea said. "I consider it an honor to be asked to participate. This is about great young people doing great things with their lives. It's terrific."
Shea, who is the Senior Vice President and Market Development Officer at People's United Bank in Danvers, is one of six judges who have the difficult task of selecting a winner after the 14 nominees are interviewed tomorrow.
Joining Shea as judges are Dr. Suzanne Graves of Garden City Pediatrics, Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, Beverly attorney Thomas Alexander, Salem News Sports Editor Phil Stacey and Salem News Editorial Page Editor Nelson Benton.
Shea's involvement strikes a chord in his heart, and it seems to be the perfect fit on the 50th anniversary.
Shea's father, Jim Shea, was editor of The Salem Evening News when the Student Athlete Award began, and he played a pivotal role in making it happen.
"He was dedicated to this thing and he loved schoolboy sports," Shea said of his father. "This was one of his favorite times of the year. I think it's a great thing that the News has continued with this program, and I know it's something people look forward to."
Shea is also looking forward to working with the five other judges, especially Alexander and Blodgett. Shea and Alexander went to Beverly High School together, and Shea has known Blodgett since graduating from college.
"I'm so excited about this it's not even funny," Shea said.