The concept that was conceived by Gerard Moynihan more than a quarter-century ago endures, even in the midst of a pandemic: recognize high school students for academic as well as athletic accomplishments.
While the school year was interrupted in March and high school sports came to an unfortunate halt, the Moynihan Lumber North Shore Student-Athlete recognition program continued, with monthly winners announced as scheduled for March, April and May.
Additionally, India Ingemi of Beverly High and Tyler Godfrey of Triton Regional were named the Moynihan Lumber North Shore Student-Athletes of the Year. The traditional luncheon to honor the overall winners was canceled, but ceremonies were held at their respective high schools, with Jack Moynihan presenting each a scholarship check.
“We thought it was important to see the program through the end of the school year,” Gerard Moynihan said. “High school kids have lost so much. We are very pleased we were able to continue our program.”
With fall sports finally having started a few weeks ago, the Moynihan Lumber North Shore Student-Athlete Award will begin for the 2020-21 school year with the selection of winners for October. The plan is to run through the school year and culminate in the selection of the student-athletes of the year next spring.
“It’s great to see student-athletes return to competition,” Moynihan said. “As school districts are faced with so many obstacles in order to provide academic and athletic opportunities, we look forward to again recognizing young men and women who excel in the classroom and the athletic arena.”
Moynihan Lumber has been a 35-year supporter of high school sports on the North Shore, all the way back to sponsoring football broadcasts and the popular Saturday Scoreboard Show on WESX radio.
A former sportswriter, Moynihan always appreciated the blanket coverage of scholastic sports by several daily newspapers as well as WESX. He couldn’t help but wonder, however, about those players who may not make the headlines, but were stars in the classroom. Shouldn’t they have a chance to be in the spotlight?
Moynihan reached out to a few members of the local media and asked them if they would be willing to help him create a vehicle to honor student-athletes, and the Moynihan Lumber North Shore Student-Athlete of the Month program started in the fall of 1991.
Coaches and athletic directors are encouraged to nominate student-athletes monthly. One male and one female winner are selected by a group of local media members representing The Salem News, Gloucester Times, Newburyport Daily News, (Lynn) Daily Item and msonewsportsonline.com.
With uncertainty hovering over the school sports calendar, it is especially important for student-athletes who are worthy of recognition to be nominated, as anyone who is not selected will remain in consideration in future months. The monthly winners are eligible for the male and female Student-Athlete of the Year Award, which comes with a scholarship from Moynihan Lumber.
The caliber of the yearly winners serves as the best example of the merit of the program. The list includes: Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt (Peabody, 1992), former MassGolf Communications Director Becky Blaeser (Masconomet, 1994), Major League Baseball Senior Vice President Peter Woodfork (Swampscott, 1995), New York Marathon champion and three-time Olympian Shalane Flanagan (Marblehead, 1999 and 2000), former major leaguer Matt Antonelli (St. John’s Prep, 2003), pro hockey player Colin Blackwell (St. John’s Prep, 2011), and Providence College cross country All-America Catarina Rocha (Peabody, 2012 and 2013).
“We take great pride in the accomplishments of our honorees,” Moynihan said. “It is a wonderful group of young men and women who exemplify what being a true student-athlete is all about.”