District 6 will expand its scholarship program to award $20,000 divided among 100 students from member schools in honor of the late Dean Rossi, a longtime Hollidaysburg Area and Huntingdon Area high school athletic director and District 6 official.
“At our banquet every April we have every school district submit a male and female name of who they believe displayed the highest level of sportsmanship,” said District 6 Chairman Bill Marshall, who is the superintendent at Penn Cambria High School. “Every student-athlete that was nominated previously got a medal and we just did a blind drawing out of hat for two girls and two boys and they each got a $500 scholarship ($2,000 total).
“We’re changing that this year. We have 50 member schools. Each member school will be submitting a male and female name. We’ve ramped up the criteria a bit. District 6 is going to give every student-athlete nominated a $200 scholarship. We’ll be awarding $20,000 in scholarships this year.”
The district approved the new format during its January meeting and officially announced it on Thursday. District 6 will utilize additional revenue from online ticket sales to district football and basketball tournament games to help boost the scholarship fund, Marshall said.
“The Committee believes it is important to recognize and award students who represent the shared values of sportsmanship and serve as role models as student-athletes in our member schools,” said Marshall, who noted Rossi emphasized good sportsmanship throughout his time as an athlete, athletic director and district administrator.
Each school will submit their award recipient names to the District 6 Sportsmanship Awards Chair Jody Rainey of Homer-Center High School by April 1.
The criteria includes:
• The student-athlete must participate in at least one PIAA-sanctioned sport within the last calendar year and graduate in 2020.
• The student-athlete must have a 2.5 or higher grade point average.
• The selection does not have to be the best athlete, but should be a student-athlete that has been coachable, a great teammate and displays the ideals of sportsmanship in and out of the athletic arena.
• Any student-athlete that has been ejected from a PIAA athletic contest is ineligible for the award.
Rossi died at age 79 in October 2015. He was a PIAA track and field official, a member of the PIAA District 6 committee, a member of the PIAA Board of Control and was past president of the District 6 Athletic Director’s Association.
District 6 member schools should submit names of male and female recipients to Rainey at firstname.lastname@example.org.