McCormick President & CEO Lawrence Kurzius (left), Patterson senior Justist Rice, City College senior Janay Fenner, Dulaney senior Sean Herrin, former Baltimore Raven linebacker Ray Lewis, Roland Park Country School senior Liz Schlerf, Poly senior Marquise O’Neal III, Parkville senior Kyran Brandon and McCormick Vice President of Communications & Community Affairs Lori Robinson pose for pictures after the 77th McCormick Unsung Heroes Awards Banquet Monday evening in Cockeysville. Schlerf and Herrin were each rewarded with a $40,000 Charles Perry McCormick College Scholarship with Rice and Brandon receiving a $7,500 scholarship and Fenner and O’Neal each receiving $5,000 scholarships.
On a night when former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis spoke about making his mother proud being the motivation for his legendary career, Roland Park Country School’s Liz Schlerf and Dulaney’s Sean Herrin left their parents, coaches and administrators beaming with pride Monday evening as each won a $40,000 Charles Perry McComick College Scholarship at the 2016-17 Unsung Hero ceremony at Valley Mansion in Cockeysville.
Herrin, a soccer player, and Schlerf, a three-sport student athlete stood out among 111 nominees representing 69 Baltimore area public, private, parochial and independent schools. Both are seniors, a requirement of the program.
Schlerf was the consumate teammate for the Reds’ soccer, basketball and lacrosse programs. Her tireless work ethic far exceeded her contributions in the scorebook.
“There’s nothing better than giving your best, not only for yourself but those around you,” said Schlerf. “The reward and gratitude you get can’t be beat.”
Schlerf, who played goalie during the fall in soccer, guard in basketball during the winter and is a defender in lacrosse, will attend Dickinson College. She will play lacrosse at the Division III school in Pennsylvania and will attempt to be a walk-on in soccer.
Schlerf is the first McCormick scholarship recipent from the Baltimore City private school.
“She played a lot more as a junior, but didn’t stop her enthausiasm this season. She’s a great leader,” said Roland Park basketball coach Scott Buckley. “She does all the dirty work in all three sports and this is great recognition for her.”
Herrin balanced his time between the Lions’ varsity soccer team and being a Peer Assistant on his school’s Allied Soccer team for players with disabilities. He dedicates much of his time and energy to students with disabilities, mentoring children in bowling, ice hockey and softball and volunteers at the Kennedy Krieger’s ROAR for Autism fundraiser.
“It’s not really giving up time if it’s something you enjoyed,” Herrin said. “They’re a bunch of great kids and if I can do something that makes their lives better, it’s a huge bonus.”
Herrin, who will attend UMBC in the coming fall, spent the last three summers interning with a company that produces prosthetic limbs. He’s the first McCormick scholarship recipient from the Baltimore County public school since 2013 (Sarah Dorl) and the third overall.
“He’s one of a kind,” said Dulaney athletic director Richard Reed. “He’s humble and shy, but is a great individual.”
Four additional scholarship were awarded for the first time Monday as Patterson’s Justist Rice and Kyran Brandon from Parkville each received a $7,500 scholarship. Janay Fenner of City College and Poly’s Marquise O’Neal II each received $5,000 scholarships. In all, $105,000 in scholarships were awarded Monday night.
For the first time, the McCormick Unsung Heroes Awards was opened to all sports. Begun as a football only award in 1940, the event began honoring girls basketball players in 1987. This year, there were Unsung Hero honorees from boys basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track & field and volleyball, in addition to football and girls basketball.
Lewis, arguably the greatest linebacker in NFL history, was the keynote speaker Monday. The linebacker led the Ravens to two Super Bowl titles, was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year twice and selected to the Pro Bowl 13 times over his 17-year career.
Lewis, who wasn’t heavily recruited as a high school senior, told the Unsung nominees always have a relentless work ethic. Lewis, who starred at the University of Miami before being selected by the Ravens with the 26th pick in the 1996 NFL draft, was raised by a single mother.
“The reward for making a mother smile is something you can never measure,” said Lewis.
The late Charles Perry McCormick Sr. founded the McCormick Unsung Heroes program in 1940 to recognize athletes for unselfish team play and highlight the efforts of those who contribute to the success of their teams without acclaim. In 1969, the scholarship was added to the program in his honor.
Note: Check back often as we will be uploading all of the video intereviews conducted before the event in the coming days.