As the competition narrows for the 2011 Wendy's High School Heisman Award program, 20 of South Dakota's top scholar-athletes were announced this week as state finalists for the prestigious award. Elizabeth Bye of Vermillion High School is among the finalists.
These finalists are now in the running to become state winners, the next phase of the program as applicants advance to become national winners.
Of the 48,000 seniors who applied nationwide, 289 applicants came from South Dakota and have been narrowed down to the state's 20 finalists. These finalists embody the Heisman spirit of hard work and dedication through their outstanding achievements in athletics, academics and community/school leadership.
Just as the collegiate Heisman is known for being the highest award in college football, the Wendy's High School Heisman, now in its 18th year, is one of the most esteemed awards at the high school level.
On Nov. 4, one male and one female finalist from each state will be named state winners. Of those state winners, 12 will be chosen as national finalists and will go on to compete for the national winner title in New York City on Dec. 9. National finalists will be featured during a televised ceremony on ESPN networks and will receive gold medals and $2,000 awards for their high schools.
One male and one female national winner will receive a Wendy's High School Heisman trophy and Wendy's will donate $10,000 to each winner's respective high school. Additionally, the winners will be recognized during the collegiate Heisman Trophy broadcast on ESPN, Dec. 10.
Created in 1994 by Wendy's and the Heisman Memorial Trust, the Wendy's High School Heisman Award recognizes outstanding high school seniors nationwide who excel in athletics, academics and community leadership. Students can nominate themselves for the award online, in addition to being recommended by principals, teachers, guidance counselors and coaches. The most exceptional students are then selected to advance during extensive judging processes conducted at both state and national levels.