Two Hawks win prestigious Cesky scholarship

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The Al Cesky Scholarship awards  $5000 dollar scholarships to two Harford County seniors who demonstrate excellence in both academics and athletics. It honors the life of Al Cesky, and values sportsmanship, fairness, equal opportunity, and community service participation.

This year, not one, but two students from North Harford won the award. Coach and athletic director Tim Larrimore asks his fellow coaches for nominations. The selected students must meet a GPA criteria as well as an athletic criteria.

A selection committee made up of seven North Harford teachers reviews all of the nominations and picks two, a boy and a girl, who they believe can win the scholarship. These nominees are sent off to the Cesky committee for further review.

Seniors Brooke Ciampaglio and Sam Macatee were nominated and then announced as winners. “I’m just very proud of both of them, Sam is the first boy here ever in North Harford history (to win) and Brooke is only the third female winner,” says Larimore.

Ciampaglio applied for the scholarship because a friend of hers, Brooke Rickey, was nominated last year. The scholarship was recommended to Ciampaglio by both her teachers, coaches, and Rickey herself. “I think what set me apart (from other candidates) was that I have been part of varsity for all four years of high school, for three sports,” Ciampaglio says. She is also second in her class, which she says provided a huge academic advantage as well.   

“I was so excited that North Harford has been recognized for both athletes, particularly because we haven’t won an Al Cesky award since 1997,” says Harward, the field hockey coach who nominated Ciampaglio. She describes the student as highly competitive, with a passion for the game.

Ciampaglio expresses her intimidation of going up against girls with state championship wins or with great track or swimming records. “I have only won one title here at North Harford,” she says, but claims that all of the stress and the hard work were definitely worth the win. She will be attending the University of Delaware in the fall to play D1 lacrosse.

“To the students that apply next year,” Ciampaglio stresses, “make your essay portion legitimate.” Some who apply write only two or three sentences and turn it in as an essay, according to Ciampaglio. “The owner of the Al Cesky foundation himself came over after the awards and personally complimented my essay…if you nail (the essay) you’ll definitely get an advantage over the others,” she says, reiterating the importance of a good paper.

Macatee was the first-ever male winner of the Cesky Scholarship from North Harford, he states . According to Macatee, he was told that it was a very close call between him and the other nominees, both at North Harford and at county level, he states “The other candidates resumes were extremely impressive, which led me to believe i was not going to win”.  Ciampaglio said she “was more celebratory for Sam because the boys competition was so hard…”

   Macatee said, “I knew  Brooke would win because she is one of the smartest and most athletic people in our grade and she deserved it.” he included that he was “very surprised that we both won”  because there was a lot of competition and the likelihood of both winners coming from the same school “has only happened once which was Fallston ten years ago.”  

He thinks that playing three sports is what really set him apart from the other students. While other nominees were excellent athletes, they only played one or two sports.

Playing so many sports may be considered difficult to others, but Macatee loved all of his sports and would not want to give up any of them up. “Although it was stressful…it was 100% worth it,” he says. His prize money will be put toward his college education at the University of Maryland.

“Keep yourself involved in lots of activities and keep your grades up,” Macatee says to students who may want to apply in the future. He says that it is important to put the effort in, because the payoff is worth it. “Even if you didn’t win this scholarship,” he says, “apply to lots of other ones and if you get any of them, it will be worth the time.”

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