Wendy’s salutes area athletes

Michael Hamilton

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PORTSMOUTH – Student-athletes from Scioto and surrounding counties were honored Wednesday for their athletic and academic successes at the 2015 Wendy’s High School Heisman Awards Ceremony held at Buffalo Wild Wings in Portsmouth. The Wendy’s High School Heisman award recognizes one male and one female student-athlete from each high school, and for the last eight years, local Wendy’s franchise, Schmidt Family Restaurant Group, have hosted a banquet for the student-athletes, their parents and school officials.

“You know one of Dave’s values was to give something back,” said Justin Schmidt, with the Schmidt Family Restaurant Group. “What these kids have done their whole lives, for us to be able to put them on a platform, and for them to be recognized, it’s turned into one of our company’s favorite days.”

Schmidt added he really enjoys the complexity of what each individual must accomplish to be considered for the award.

“It’s recognizing student-athletes and what they’ve done, but not just on the field, but in the classroom, and in the community,” said Schmidt. “We feel it is just a great opportunity for them to be recognized, and we love them.

“They’re a special group. They set themselves apart from their classmates and they’ve got one heck of a bright future, and have a leg up on what everyone else around them is doing.”

Schmidt continued to praise all the hard work and dedication each of the area recipients of the Wendy’s High School Heisman have put forth in their academic and athletic careers.

“I love to be a resident of southeast Ohio, and I love when kids in these areas can get recognized like that,” said Schmidt. “I’m very proud to be associated with this group.”

Students are judged on their academic and athletic achievements, as well as leadership within their local communities.

Nearly 48,000 student-athletes apply for the award nationwide. School winners are then entered into a State Finalist round, then a narrowing down to 12 National Finalists who then will be thinned down to two National Winners, one male and one female.

Since its creation in 1994 by Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas, the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award has honored over 600,000 senior student-athletes. Last year, current Notre Dame Fighting Irish football player Nolan Henry, and University of Michigan cross country and track and field participant Lauren Van Vlierbergen were named National Winners of the Wendy’s High School Heisman.

Wendy’s will place plaques at each recognized student-athletes local Wendy’s restaurant to commemorate their accomplishments.

Bob Wright, Executive Vice President, Chief Operations Officer for Wendy’s was the guest speaker for the banquet. In his speech, Wright talked about how much he and the Wendy’s corporation was proud of the students and their willingness to strive for setting themselves apart from the norm.

Wright explained why the award was created by Dave Thomas, and talked about how Thomas regretted dropping out of high school as a teenager. The award was officially created in 1994 after Thomas went back to school to obtain his General Education Diploma.

“For 22 years, the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award has recognized the achievements fo exceptionally well-rounded students,” said Wright. “The Wendy’s High School Heisman Program honors the all-star performances of high school seniors in the classroom, on the field and in the community. We’re all proud of you.”

The Schmidt Family Restaurant Group, based in Portsmouth operates 14 Wendy’s restaurants located throughout southern Ohio and West Virginia.

Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931 or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.

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