ARLINGTON, Texas - The Bowling Writers Association of America (BWAA) has awarded college scholarships to three great student bowlers.
Stephanie Sims of Garland, Texas was named first-place winner and will receive $1,500; Blair Blumenscheid of Columbus, Ohio, second place and $1,000; and Samantha Chong of San Jose, California will get $500 for third place. The award is named in honor of BWAA, United States Bowling Congress and Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Fame journalist Chuck Pezzano of Clifton, N.J. In addition to the scholarships, each winner receives a one-year complimentary membership in the BWAA.
Sims graduated from Fair Hills School this year, number 2 in her graduating class, and is headed for Stephen F. Austin University in the fall where she will study Hospitality Administration, and be a member of the Lumberjack's Varsity Bowling Team. Her goal is to be an event planner after college.
Sims credits bowling and other sports for bringing her back from her father's passing while she was in middle school. "I just stopped caring for almost two years and just went through the motions; but finally, I decided that I was going to have to pick myself up and start moving on. In high school, I made friends, got involved in sports, and completely surprised myself when I ended up 3rd in my class my freshman year. Who knew I was brilliant?!" she said. "I learned that through determination and a strong heart, you can come back from anything."
Blumenscheid says that a losing experience taught her a valuable lesson in 2009. After a losing effort in a sectional tournament where she was favored to advance, she was consoled by her coach. "I realized at that moment that anything that hurt that badly meant something to me," she said. "Every failure is a learning opportunity. That day made my life what it is today and I'm eternally thankful. Learning from failure and discovering your passion are two lessons I try to teach every girl I coach."
Blair is a senior at Ohio State University majoring in Strategic Communications. She is planning a career in Public Relations. She volunteers as a coach at Westerville High School.
Chong, at 4'-11" tall, realized early on that she would have to match physical strength with hard work, practice and determination; and her confidence soared when she finished second in an international event at age 14. "It proved to me I could hold my own against older and bigger girls with practice and self-confidence," she said. Samantha also has confidence in the classroom, where her grade point average is 4.4. She also excels at tennis and volunteers at her church. In the fall, she will attend New York University majoring in Psychology, with minors in Linguistics and Economics.
"The Pezzano committee is thrilled with this year's winners, as we believe the winning trio is a prime example of the quality and character of today's young bowlers, writers and students," said BWAA Pezzano Scholarship Committee Chair Joan Romeo, adding, "a special thank you goes out to Mary Lynly, Maggie Christina and Tyrone Rodriquez."