You might call Blue Valley Northwest senior Dalton Schoen a triple threat. Athletics, academics and volunteer work — there isn’t much this 18-year-old can’t tackle successfully.
Schoen not only plays high school football, basketball and baseball but he also juggles a rigorous academic schedule with plenty of volunteer projects. It’s that kind of hard work and talent that has made him stand out as a finalist for a national award.
Schoen is one of 12 finalists nationwide for the 2014 Wendy’s High School Heisman Award. He is the only finalist from Kansas.
The Wendy’s High School Heisman Award honors outstanding high school students who distinguish themselves in athletics, academics and community service. Schoen will now head to New York City where he will attend an awards ceremony on Dec. 12 where one high school male and female will be chosen as the winner. The winners will receive a trophy, a $500 Wendy’s gift card and a $10,000 donation to their individual high school. Both winners will also be recognized on Dec. 13 during the ESPN national telecast of the collegiate Heisman Memorial Trophy presentation.
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It was just another typical day at school this month when Schoen received the surprising news that he was a finalist while in his Advanced Placement English class.
“All of a sudden a bunch of people with cameras were walking into the room and then I saw my parents and then a representative told me I had been named a finalist,” said Schoen. “It was just a crazy moment.”
Schoen decided to apply for the award after being encouraged to do so by administrators at his high school. He knew competition would be stiff. As it turns out, 48,000 students from across the country applied for the award.
Schoen said given the number of talented students who were vying for the award, he was shocked to hear he was a national finalist.
But his mom, Kristi, had a feeling he could be a serious contender.
“When I heard about the competition, I thought, ‘This has Dalton written all over it,’ ” she said. “I thought it was something he would fit right into.”
Looking at Schoen’s impressive high school resume, it’s easy to see why his mom would think that. Schoen boasts a 4.4 weighted GPA that comes from a schedule of difficult classes. He also plays three varsity sports. And somehow he still manages to find time to volunteer for Harvesters, Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead and several area youth football and basketball camps.
“It’s just amazing that he has been able to juggle all this,” said his mother. “And the best thing is that neither his dad nor I have to remind him to do his homework or practice for his sports. We don’t have to do that, he just works those things into his daily schedule.”
Another person who is not surprised by Schoen’s success is his football coach at Blue Valley Northwest. Mike Zegunis has already watched Schoen succeed on the football field. This year, Schoen broke the Kansas state record for the most receiving yards, 380, in a single football game.
Zegunis said he’s been particularly impressed by the fact that Schoen has been able to show commitment and dedication to not just one high school sport, but three.
“For him to juggle three sports and a demanding classroom schedule and to excel is impressive,” Zegunis said.
Now Schoen is looking forward to making his first visit to New York City and enjoying the benefits of his hard work. Win or lose, he said he’s thrilled by what he’s already achieved.
“It would be amazing to win it, but to make it to this stage is just incredible,” Schoen said.