A pair of first-team All-State athletes with ambitions to be college athletes have been named winners of the 48th Mike Keck Memorial Scholarships which are awarded to the top senior male and female student-athlete in Klamath County.
Henley’s Jessica Northcutt, who is headed toward Northwest Christian University in Eugene to play volleyball, is the female winner of the $1,000 scholarship.
Mazama’s Jake Healy, who hopes to play football at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., is the male winner.
Both had brilliant athletic accolades.
Their scholarship is almost better.
Northcutt is a Skyline Conference Player of the Year in both volleyball and basketball, and is among the seniors to not have lost a league softball game during their four years on the field, and was a first-team pick at first base.
Healy was Skyline Conference co-Defensive Player of the Year. He also was a standout middle-distance runner for the Vikings.
Both have actively been involved in both on-campus and off-campus activities throughout their four years of high school.
“I am a Sunday School teacher and song leader (at church), and have volunteered at a local book store where I have read to many children after school,” Northcutt wrote in her application for the Keck award
She also has been involved with Henley’s food pantry and has been involved with the “Hunger Not Impossible” program.
Healy has served as Mazama senior class president, been involved in robotics and the Future Business Leaders of America as well as also working with the “Hunter Not Impossible” program.
“Inside the classroom, Miss Northcutt shines because of her commitment to work and learn the material,” social studies teacher Molly Hepper wrote in her letter of recommendation.
“She is the type of student who doesn’t take the shortcuts and expected everything to be easy. Jessica is a thorough and detailed oriented. She is also a invaluable resource when it comes to helping struggling students.
“She doesn’t do the work, but showed her peers to how to become better students,” Hepper continued.
Henley girls basketball coach Shannon Carlson, herself a previous Keck award winner said her in letter of recommendation: “She is, without a doubt, the definition of a student athlete.
“She exemplifies all aspects of a young person with character and integrity on and off the basketball floor. She leaves a legacy of excellence in her wake.”
Carlson noted the adversity Northcutt has battled to win her accolades.
As a freshman, she broke her ankle and needed a metal plate and several screws in the ankle to heal. As a senior, a growth in her chest was thought to be cancer, had surgery and played through the scary times.
Henley chemistry teacher Helena deJong said she enjoys students she calls naturals, but admires those who are not naturals but still manage to get the work done in the classroom.
She called Northcutt one of the latter students.
Healy’s recommendations are equally glowing.
“Very few students have the ability to command the respect of others as Jacob Healy manages to do,” language teacher Kathleen Todd wrote in her letter of recommendation.
“Intelligent, personable, dedicated, extraordinary – these are a few attributes that describe him, His commitment to excellence, education and leadership indicate how special he is.
“Although Jacob is gifted academically, his No. 1 standings in his graduating class is evident due to his quest for knowledge and drive to succeed. He truly wants to learn from the past and t become a more informed leader fr the future.”
Vic Lease, Mazama’s football coach and assistant principal, was glowing in his letter, too.
“In the years that I have gotten to know Jake, he is, without a doubt, the best leader that I have had the privilege to coach and educate,” Lease wrote. “There is no doubt that he will fulfill his academic, athletic and professional goals.
“He will not only make his family and community proud, but quite possibly our entire nation.”
“Jake has taken the approach of trying to be the very best version of himself in every aspect,” assistant football coach Beau Fullerton wrote. “The large list of accomplishments Jake has is nothing compared to the list he will have.”
In the voting for the Keck awards, Henley’s Lilly Poe and Hannah Peterson were the runners-up for the girls award, while Klamath Union’s Jacob McGonigal and Henley’s Blake Loney were the boys runners-up.