High school students, in an attempt to improve their college possibilities, often take part in numerous activities, breezily checking off each one like items on a long grocery list.
This year’s Wendy’s High School Heisman winners, Andrew Miner and Emily Granger, selected from 48,000 applicants, stayed busier than most, but did nothing halfway.
Miner was a four-year player at quarterback for East Greenwich High in Rhode Island. He was also a straight-A student for four years, played baseball, tutored fellow students, played saxophone in the school jazz band, was his class president all four years and is the editor of the student newspaper. When he decided to try out for East Greenwich’s production of Fiddler on the Roof last year, he landed the lead role, that of Tevye.
“It was a bit of a transformation for me to play an old Jewish man in early 20th century Russia,” Miner said. “I found out I got the role during football season. Some of my teammates teased me at first, but once they saw the production they were really impressed. They saw how I worked so hard into transforming into this character. People who work hard at something like athletes do appreciate when they see someone else do the same.”
Granger, from Saints Peter and Paul High in Easton, Md., was an all-state player in lacrosse, set school scoring and assist records in soccer, played basketball, was a National Merit Scholarship Commended Student and tutored fellow students in math and science. She said staying at the same small school since kindergarten kept her focused.
“We have about 170 students in school and I have a class of 52,” Granger said. “Everybody is best friends with everybody. It isn’t pressure, but you don’t get away with goofing off.”
Because her parents wanted her to have a Catholic school education, that meant 30- to 35-minute drives to and from her home to school every day.
“When my dad drove, I always used that time for classwork,” Granger said. “I love to stay busy. Doing three sports is very rewarding. Each sport helps me with the other sports.”
Granger was pondering joining the school’s swim team this winter, but that meant she would have to give up basketball.
“I went for a run and mid-run decided I couldn’t give up basketball,” Granger said. “They were just in a tournament and the team was already missing a few players and they threw me in there.”
Granger said she is awaiting to see if she will be accepted into Yale, where she hopes to continue to play lacrosse. Miner was recently accepted into Harvard, where he plans to play football.
Miner ran unopposed this year as the senior class president, but as a freshman and sophomore, when he actually had to run a campaign, his slogan was appropriate for both he and Granger. He used a portion of Theodore Roosevelt’s famous The Man in the Arena speech: “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly…. who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”