It is every athlete’s dream to one day see his or her jersey hanging in the locker room of a professional sports team.  And on Wednesday, in the Ravens’ locker room at M&T Bank Stadium, eight fantastic student-athletes saw that dream fulfilled at the 2011 Minds in Motion luncheon.

After four years of service on the field, court, mats and pools of their respective high schools, the eight recipients of the Minds in Motion scholarship gathered inside the Raven’s locker room to receive the Allstate Corporation sponsored scholarship of $1,000.

“I can’t emphasize enough how proud Allstate is to support work of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, and we are excited to be here,” said Debbie Pickford, the current Senior Field Corporate Relations Manager at Allstate.  “The name of the scholarship, Minds In Motion, tells you a lot about the young people we are horning today.  The students in this room are extremely smart, very athletic and are leaders in their respective schools.”

The eight scholarship winners included five student-athletes from the Baltimore area, including Annapolis’s Rachel Davis, Batimore Poly’s Selena Guerrero, Owings Mills’s Marissa Friedman, Pikesville’s Daniel Shear and Southern-AA’s Corey Koller, with other recipients being Leonardtown’s Cara McLaughlin, Snow Hill’s Jordan Wool and Williamsport’s Connor Arnone.

Each recipient entered the professional football locker room to see their jerseys, Speedos and equipment hanging in the lockers as if they were their own, displayed next to the shoulder pads,  helmet, cleats and jersey of former Raven Jonathon Ogden.

“Coming here, sitting where the pros sit, it is one of those things where it is a nice reward for a job well done,” said Ned Sparks, Executive Director of MPSSAA.  “They recognized the value of honoring the student-athletes and certainly wanted to be a part of it.”

phelpsThis is the fourth year in which Allstate has partnered with the MPSSAA for the Minds in Motion scholarship program, awarding $1,000 toward post-secondary education to each of four female and four male senior student-athletes who attend an MPSSAA school and participate in MPSSAA recognized sports.  And with more than 350 entries for the scholarship, it proves how amazing the winners truly are.

“I think it shows there are people out there who recognize the hard work on the field, the court the pool, also goes parallel with what these young men and women do in the classroom,” Sparks said.  “All those late nights after practice, eating cold dinners and not wanted to finish reports and work, these kids are great examples of life lessons about responsibility, drive and motivation.

“I think some of the kids realized if I don’t have a real good average or I didn’t play that many sports, then maybe I wouldn’t be a good candidate.  It is a very tough competition.”

The guest speaker for the 2011 luncheon was Deborah Phelps, longtime Maryland educator and mother of three, including World Champion and Olympian Michael Phelps.  During her time with the scholarship winners, Phelps told inspiring stories pertaining to times in her families lives which showed the need for practice, preparation and performance both in sports as well as in life.