Six Shamrocks Nominated for MHSAA Scholar-Athlete

For 30 years, the MHSAA and Farm Bureau Insurance have honored the best student-athletes in Michigan. Again this year they will award 32 students with $1,000 scholarships based on achievement and leadership in athletics and activities, as well as responses to short-answer and essay questions. In many ways, this is the most prestigious honor the MHSAA awards annually.

Students must carry an unrounded 3.50 GPA (or better) and have an earned varsity letter in an MHSAA-sponsored sport to be eligible.

The following six Shamrocks have been nominated for the 2018-2019 school year:

  • David DeBacker, Swimming, 4.553 GPA (St. Francis of Assisi, Ann Arbor)
    • University of Notre Dame (Architecture)
    • 3x Catholic Leage Diving Champion, 3x State Qualifier, School Record Holder, All State, All American, Team MVP, Captain
    • CC Academic Team, Boy Scouts of America, Shamrock Voice, Art Club, Drama Club, National Honor Society, Father Gabriel Richard Club, National Merit Scholar
    • “A golden-rule mentality was championed by my coaches, encouraging me to be gracious on top of the podium as well as the bottom. In my life, I know that much of my future will not come easily, and I will have to overcome numerous obstacles, disappointments, and defeats. Through my experiences in high school sports, I know I can accept loss with grace and handle success with humility, preparing me for what lies ahead.”

  • Joseph Hardenbergh, Baseball, 4.117 GPA (Our Lady of Victory, Northville)
    • Hillsdale College (Pre-Med)
    • #1 outfielder in Michigan (PBR Michigan 2017-2018), full academic/athletic scholarship to Hillsdale, 3 year letter winner in baseball, team captain
    • Kairos leader, Class Officer (junior and senior years), NHS, Art Club, Piano/Guitar, Organized sports uniform drive for Good Works Foundation in South Africa, CYO Basketball moderator/score keeper/announcer, Volunteer Buddy for Disabled and Disadvantaged Youth - Miracle League, Kelly's Kidz Foundation, Christ Child House, Capuchin Soup Kitchen
    • “Sports are a reflection of the ups and downs of life. Every injury, downfall, or failure in sports is intertwined with successes, blessings, awards, and internal gratification because Life is filled with triumphs and adversities. The faith, confidence, compassion, and grit I learned from sports fuels the engine toward playing life like a champion. Athletics represents in me that which is bigger than myself...a truth, a goodness and a strength of character that I will carry with me long after high school.”

  • Mike Harding, Football, Basketball, 4.621 GPA (Holmes Middle School, Livonia)
    • Undecided (Business)
    • 6 varsity letters in football and basketball, CHSL champion, district champion, regional champion, All-League (football), All-Academic (football)
    • Summer camp counselor (football and basketball), DECA, Intramural Basketball referee, National Honors Society, Christian Service Volunteering, Student Activities
    • “Dedication and commitment are traits that I have become very familiar with on the field, on the court, and in the classroom. These attributes will be with me for the rest of my life. I will strive to be the best I can be in every aspect of my life. At Catholic Central, my teammates are my brothers and we will be friends for life. I know I will be able to count on my brothers in good times and in bad times. I have accomplished most of the goals that I set for myself during high school, and I know that the experiences I’ve had will prepare me for life after sports.”

  • Joseph Kamish, Lacrosse, 4.410 GPA (Sarah Banks Middle School, Wixom)
    • Loyola University, Maryland (Engineering)
    • 2018 Lacrosse State champion, 2017 2nd team all state attack, 2018 1st team all state attack, 2018 All American, 2018 MLive lacrosse player of the year, 2018 Detroit Free Press lacrosse player of the year nominee, 2018 Lacrosse Catholic League champions
    • Student Council, Finance Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Student Activities, Gabriel Richard Club
    • “… because of the requirement for service hours that DCC enforces, I've been able to truly appreciate how blessed I am by volunteering in soup kitchens in Detroit and donating canned foods to local churches in less privileged areas. Experiences like those are what motivate me to be the best I can be. Most individuals I see during service projects have a tough life. Knowing that I was lucky enough to be born into an amazing family, and that I have gifts and advantages others don't, makes me work harder to not waste what was given to me.”

  • Keegan Koehler, Football, Basketball, 4.374 GPA (Our Lady of Sorrows, Farmington)
    • Michigan State University (Business)
    • Football Central Division Champions 2015-2018, Basketball Central Division Champions 2016-2017, Football All-Catholic nominee, Catholic League Scholar Athlete Nominee, Football captain (freshman and JV), basketball captain (freshman and JV), lacrosse captain (freshman)
    • Student Council, Caddy, Lifeguard, Summer Construction Worker, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Shamrock Voice, Irish Heritage Club, CYO Basketball volunteer
    • “In grade school, my friends and I went from one sport to the next. We were inseparable – until high school when we ended up at three different schools, and the comfort of my lifetime buddies were gone. My new teammates were from Brighton, Canton, West Bloomfield, and one even made the hour drive from Lake Orion. We had guys that were into theater, robotics, and band – activities I had never even considered. I came to realize that those differences didn’t matter; in fact, they taught me the meaning of respect, diversity, and inclusion.”

  • Ryan Marra, Baseball, Hockey, 4.045 GPA (Our Lady of Sorrows, Farmington)
    • Brown University (Biology/Medicine)
    • Committed to Brown University for baseball, WWBA Perfect Game World Series Participant Florida 2018, Baseball All-Regional, Captain
    • Fellowship of Christian Athletes (President), Kairos Leader, Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), Monogram Club, Intern for Williams Family & Sports Medicine, Community Service volunteer, Detroit Little Library Builder & Caretaker, Spanish Honor Society, Miracle Network
    • “As athletes, it is no secret that we are looked up upon by our peers and especially by those younger than us. With this our actions are emulated, judged, and repeated by those around us. In a way we are advocates on behalf of not only our team, but also our sport. Through our foundation of sportsmanship that we athletes have learned throughout our years of playing, we must carry this into our everyday lives inside and outside of the classroom. The clichés that were learned by athletes as children must be the driving force of all athletes’ actions as they make their way on to whatever comes next in life for not only their benefit, but the benefit of all those that have come before and will come after them.”
“Teach Me Goodness, Discipline, and Knowledge” is the motto of the Basilian Fathers and the sacred mission of Catholic Central High School. For ninety years, the graduates of Catholic Central have made a positive impact locally, nationally, and around the world.