5 Sportsmanship Scholarship tips for high school seniors

Marissa, Scott and Cheryl Voelker
2015 Sportsmanship Scholarship recipient  Marissa Voelker pictured with her parents.

The Carl Fricks Sportsmanship Scholarship will award $15,000 this year to deserving St. Louis area high school students who exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field of play. One student will receive the highest award we’ve ever given – $10,000.

While scholarship winners are decided by a committee, I read through and organize all of the materials. This year, with so much on the line, I thought it necessary to write this piece for the young people who will apply for the scholarship.

The following tips will not guarantee anyone a win. However, not abiding by these bits of wisdom will almost certainly guarantee a loss. Young people can also apply these tips to other scholarship endeavors as well.

  1. You are undoubtedly a humble person if you chose to apply for the Sportsmanship Scholarship. However, this is not the time for humility! Your personal essay and the recommendations from your teachers and coaches are the most important items in your application. Tell your story. Make sure others do as well.
  2. It doesn’t matter how great an athlete you are. Sending a list of your trophies, championships and MVP awards won’t score any points with the committee. We want to hear about how you treated an opponent in the district championship – not how you hit the game-winning shot.
  3. Your community service, while good, does not move the needle where the Sportsmanship Scholarship is concerned. Food pantries, clothing drives and the like are not the field of play. How did you treat others, namely opponents, in the heat of competition?
  4. Set expectations for those you want to write recommendations for you. How much do they plan to write on your behalf? Are they going to type the letter on school or league letterhead? (Note: Handwritten cursive is nearly illegible when faxed or printed from a computer).
  5. Get your completed application in on time! Some students have been disqualified because their portion of the application or recommendations were late. Yes, more than one adult has pleaded with us to still consider a student’s application after submitting the recommendation(s) after the deadline.

If you have any questions about what’s listed here or anything else, please call 314-345-5130 or email salexander@stlsports.org. Good luck! The deadline is April 4.

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