Three RHS seniors recognized as MHSAA Scholar-Athlete Finalists

Senior Kendall Jordan was awarded the MHSAA’s Scholar-Athlete Award. Photo courtesy of

Lauren Karmo, Editor-in-Chief

Senior Kendall Jordan was awarded the MHSAA’s scholar-athlete award, which is the highest individual award a Michigan student-athlete can receive. Seniors Karlyn Kelley and Jenna Norgrove were also two of the 120 finalists selected for the award. The 32 winners will receive a $1000 scholarship. Those selected are celebrated for their academic strength, leadership and athleticism throughout their high school careers.

“This award is a real source of pride for our school community,” said athletic director Mr. Luke Beach. “There were over 1,400 applicants this year, and of those applicants we placed three as finalist (out of 16 girls and 16 boys). This is a real testament to the hard work and dedication of our student-athletes, as well as the great mentoring they receive from our coaches and staff.”

Prior to this year, Rochester has had three other finalists, but has never had three during the same year. All three are multi-sport athletes and are a part of the Captains Club.

“It proves that we aren’t just providing lip service when we say we will be leaders on the playing field, in the classroom and in the community,” said Mr. Beach. “The state recognizes the wonderful student-athletes we are producing at Rochester High School. I believe it is a strong indicator that the Rochester Athletics Captains Club is helping further develop our captains into strong leaders.”

Often times, student-athletes are said to have learned more than simply athletic skills while participating in Rochester sports. Kelley shares what her time in cheer and softball have taught her.

“I have spent the past four year of my life on the mats or out on the softball field,” Kelley said. “I have learned so much from not only my coaches, but my teammates as well. I’ve learned how to handle adversity and how to handle intense amounts of pressure. I have always had leadership skills, but RHS athletics has improved my skills in many ways.”

The athletic program pushes its student-athletes to not only participate in sports but to also be active members of the school and community. This involvement is one of the key aspects of being selected as a Scholar-Athlete. Jordan has organized many charity events that her teams are involved in, such as the donation of juice boxes and serving meals to the Power Company Kids Club in Pontiac, as well as organizing a candy drive to make holiday treat bags for kids in Pontiac and Detroit. She has also gone on mission trips to help spread her sport to developing countries.

“Throughout high school, I have had the opportunity to share what I have done with my leadership positions with other captains and students in school,” Jordan said. “I believe that expressing such accomplishments has inspired others to the do the same, but also remind them not to do anything for the recognition but rather the ability to forge actual change in the world.”

A large part of the Rochester athletic program is emphasizing that the “student” title of “student-athlete” comes first. By pushing its athletes to show the same prowess in the classroom as they do on the field, many find it unsurprising that Rochester has placed not just one, but three finalists for this award.

“I’m thankful to those who have helped me get where I am today in not only my sports but my academic career,” Norgrove said.

Of the six finalists that Rochester has placed for this award, all have been female. The Women in Leadership program of the athletic department pushes the female athletes to develop their leadership skills on and off the field.

“Our female athletic programs are led by some very special coaches, and the leaders that they are producing are exceptional,” Mr. Beach said. “It also shows that our Women in Leadership program has been effective in inspiring our female student-athletes to become great leaders themselves.”

Leadership is a large aspect of the selection of the finalists, accounting for 30 percent of what each athlete is judged upon. Jordan, Rochester’s first winner, reflects on the impact her leadership as a captain of the lacrosse and swim teams has had on her selection as well as her everyday sportsmanship.

“My leadership roles had a great impact on being chosen as a finalist and winner,” Jordan said. “As a captain of the varsity lacrosse team and swim team, I have been given a great sense of responsibility to demonstrate sportsmanship and ingenuity which lead me to be able to write about the importance of sportsmanship within athletics. My ability to evoke self-control and confidence in my teammates is is the greatest legacy I could leave as a sportsman and team leader and is what I strived to do each day as a lead of my teams.”