Student athletes empower the future

By Tim Rondeau

On Wednesday, June 20, student athletes from Woonsocket to Westerly flooded the Rhode Island Convention Center for this year’s All-State Awards.  As they arrived, they walked a red carpet and posed for photos with their families and friends.  It was the third annual event presented by the Providence Journal and sponsored by us to bring together high school students from across the Ocean State and recognize their achievement in high school sports.

Pitcher Pedro Martinez of Red Sox fame was the guest of honor this year, speaking to the crowd and watching as the athletes accepted awards for their respective sports.

Tim Horan, president of National Grid in Rhode Island, presented student athlete Oluchi Ezemma of Moses Brown High School with the “Empowering our Future” Award, which recognizes sportsmanship and skill going hand-in-hand with learning and innovation. Ezemma was not only named best female basketball player in the state and the RI Gatorade Player of the Year, but also excels in science, and spent the past year helping out in an elementary classroom in Providence.

“We were so impressed with the student athletes of Rhode Island that we wanted to find a special way to honor them,” Tim said of the Awards.  “It’s awe-inspiring to be in a room with so much superpower – star athletes, future leaders, supportive families.”

During perhaps the most important moments of the evening, everyone snapped on glowing neon bracelets and raised them in silence to honor two female high school athletes who passed away during the school year.  Their classmates honored them with some inspiring words and two moving video tributes.

While the evening showcased the students talent in sports , more than anything, it demonstrated that these young leaders also recognize the importance of dedication, perseverance, and teamwork needed to succeed.

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