2015 Recipients of Bo Tkach Award
Bio and Selection Criteria:
Travis Bo Tkach was the pride of his community. A 2001 Northern Lehigh High School graduate, Bo was a two-time first team All-State football player and a two-time District 11 javelin champion. In 1999, he quarterbacked the first ever District 11 championship team at Northern Lehigh and played in the first Pennsylvania East-West All Star Game. Bo was named to the ESPN Academic High School Football All-American team in 2000-2001. In 2001, he was named Most Valuable Male Athlete of Northern Lehigh. He was also the school's representative for the Best of the Best.
Bo’s All Star athletic talents and academic achievements brought him admiration from friends, family, and his community. But, it is his compassion and his role as a Good Samaritan, willing to give up the last few dollars in his pocket so a homeless person could catch a ride on the city bus in order to stay warm during a cold blustery winter evening, that we honor most with this award.
Along the path of life, Bo learned how to inspire others on and off the field. He routinely offered tips to budding high school athletes who saw him as the picture of success. In gym class Bo would select the most challenged individual for his team and he would befriend those who were off the beaten path. Those random acts of kindness, coupled with intense competitive spirit, strength, and determination defined Bo to those who were privileged to share life with him.
The recipient of the Bo Tkach Under the Helmet and Hat Scholarship should have firm plans to attend a college, university, technical, or vocational institution. The candidate does not need to be athletically or academically talented but they do need to be extraordinary in other ways. The recipient should be well rounded, community minded, and have a sincere concern for others; someone who would defend those who could not defend themselves. This scholarship should reward the recipient for helping others while expecting nothing in return.
The award is selected by the entire faculty of each of the high schools.
Information about this Years’ Recipients:
This year, the Foundation expanded its annual scholarship program from the original three schools (Northern Lehigh, Northwestern Lehigh, and Palmerton), all schools with which Bo had a close relationship, to a total of eight high schools. The additional five high schools are: Carbon Career & Technical Institute, Jim Thorpe, Lehighton, Panther Valley, and Weatherly. We are proud to be able to award eight scholarships of $1000 each to the fine men and women who were selected by their respective high school teachers.
These graduating seniors are very much like their peers in many ways. They participate in many school activities, including athletics, clubs, and other organizations. They are class officers, captains of teams, and officers in organizations. They are highly respected by their peers and/or teachers. And, as a group, they are high-performing in their academic efforts. However, what sets these eight people apart from many of their peers is the extent to which they volunteer their time to their peers, youth groups, and their communities and their unselfish commitment to helping others. The various causes which they support through their time and effort include Lions Club, Angel 34 and other childhood cancer programs.
The students have been described as, “selfless teammate”, “a quiet leader”, “compassionate”, “goes out of his way to help students who are struggling academically”, “humble”, and “expects nothing in return.” One high school contact person characterized her district’s recipient as someone who “in a second will drop what he is doing to help others.”
I’d like to relay a short story about one of the two students who could not be in attendance today due to conflicts with athletic competitions. This young man’s basketball coach shared an incident he had with the student which is just one example of the type of character possessed by this year’s recipients. The coach asked each of the team’s players to complete a self-evaluation which included the players’ strengths and one or more ways in which each of them could improve. This athlete, one of our recipients, was not a starter although he participated in this sport for all four years of his high school career. The coach reports that the individual indicated that he thought he should practice harder so that his teammates would be better prepared for their opponents.
The Recipients for 2015: