Verizon Community Leader Awards

Verizon is proud to recognize individuals that make our communities so special. Since the program launched in 2010, Verizon has awarded $20,000 to school organizations in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. This honor is bestowed upon members of the high school sports community graduating in the Class of 2013 who are viewed as leaders in their activities at school, in the community and exhibit Verizon's core values -- integrity, respect, performance excellence, and accountability.

Verizon will donate $1,000 in the winner's name to a school booster club, PTA, or other 501c non-profit organization. Additionally, these outstanding individuals will be profiled weekly on the NBC 5 “Inside High School Football” program.

Verizon Community Leader Awards - Molly Smith

Molly Smith

Molly is a two-year member of a highly selective Leadership class and recently elected as President of the student body. The faculty and staff applaud her academics as she is currently ranked in the top 8% of a highly competitive class. She is a member of the National Honor Society and the Spanish Honor Society. Molly tried out for an officer position, and as a result, will serve as Senior Lieutenant on the Fillies Dance. Per Jane Rose, Language Arts Teacher, Molly personifies excellence and is the very definition of what it means to be a Grapevine Mustang. And perhaps the most exciting news is that Molly is expected to be named a National Merit Scholar due to her PSAT scores. Molly chose to donate her $1,000 award to the Grapevine High School Dance Booster Club.


Verizon Community Leader Awards - Sara Jendrusch

Sara Jendrusch

Sara is currently ranked number one for the junior class. She is also a member of the National Honor Society and The Colony High School Student Council. Sara serves as a member of Lewisville ISD Technology Panel, The Colony High School Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the History Club, and Mu Theta. She is a member of the basketball team where she exhibits integrity and respect to her teammates and opponents. With all of her activities, Sara finds time to volunteer at the Public Library and works with a children's summer reading program. She has decided to donate her $1,000 award to the Colony High School's Girls' Basketball Booster Club.


Verizon Community Leader Awards

Julia Knight

Julia has been successful in her various roles on the varsity softball team while continuing to excel in her academics as well. She has been an Academic All American and NFCA American Scholar Athlete from 2010-2012 and a member of the National Honor Society in 2011. She eagerly participates in extra activities from volunteering to be at all the community service projects to teaching and motivating her peers. Her Varsity Softball Coach Cynthia Zea states, "Julia is a remarkable young lady and one whom I count among the top one percent of students I have taught in many years of teaching and coaching for Plano ISD." Julia chose to donate her $1,000 award to the Plano High School Softball Team Booster Club.


Verizon Community Leader Awards - Zach Clarke

Zach Clarke

Zach is a leader athletically, academically, socially and spiritually. His grade point average is an impressive 4.47 and his extracurricular activities include Varsity Basketball and Track, Student Government Chaplain and President of the National Honor Society. Zach has been involved in many leadership activities such as People to People Invitation and Super Summer Discipleship Camp. He also volunteered on a Mission trip to Mission, TX and at Royse City for tornado relief. Robert Huckabee, Asst. Athletic Director, states, "Nothing we do in life is more important than the impact we have on other people; and no matter what Zach chooses to do in life, he will continue to be a leader whose example will have a positive influence on those around him.” Zach chose to donate his $1,000 award to the Math and Science Initiative.


Verizon Community Leader Awards - Joon Choi

Joon Choi

Joon has a strong work which has assisted him in his academia and performance awards. Academically, Joon ranks in the top 2% of his class. He serves as Clarinet Section Leader during marching band and is principal clarinetist for the Honor Band and Symphony Orchestra. Joon has also qualified for the UIL State Solo and Ensemble Contest and earned a place in the T.M.E.A. All-Region Band for 2 years. Joon's passion for music led him to teach himself to play drums, guitar and piano without private lessons. Furthermore, he is always willing to assist other band members in excelling at their part through peer tutoring or a kind word of encouragement. Joon chose to donate his $1,000 award to the RL Turner Band Booster Club.


Verizon Community Leader Awards - Casey Byrne

Casey Byrne

Casey Byrne is in the top 5% of his class maintaining at high G.P.A (4.70) and a member of the prestigious International Baccalaureate Program. Being appointed as an up and coming senior varsity Swim Team captain, Casey has proven that he is an active team leader for peer swimmers as well as an academic leader. He is also active in many school and community organizations. Casey is involved with the Boy Scouts, and volunteers with the Axe youth group, National Honors Society, Bell Guard and IB Film and production classes. Crystal Jones-Boney, Head Swim Coach states, "For being a high school junior, Casey is more active in his school, community and family than any young student (or adult) that I have ever met." Casey donated his $1,000 award to the Garland High School Swim Team Booster Club.


Verizon Community Leader Awards - John Paul Hesse

John Paul Hesse

John Paul is at the top of his class.  He sets goals high and takes full responsibility to lead a project from the drawing board to completion.  His organizational skills are outstanding and he is involved in many extracurricular activities. Some of his activities include Class Vice-President, a member of National Honor Society, Letterman's Club Officer and Varsity Football, Track & Field, Cross Country and Basketball.   Jon LeBrasseur, Athletic Director states, "I have been an educator for over 30 years and without reservation I consider John Paul to be one of the finest young men to walk the halls of Sacred Heart School."  John Paul chose to donate his $1,000 award to Sacred Heart Library.


Verizon Community Leader Awards

Morgan Pergande

Morgan is a natural leader and has taken every opportunity to participate in school life. Morgan has made high honors throughout his high school years and is a member of the Cum Laude Society. He also received College Board recognition for his PSAT. Morgan is a member of three varsity athletic teams, student council, orchestra/jazz, band and the theater department. He was selected as Student Body President and football captain for the 2012-2013 school year. Morgan was named a Link Leader serving as a role model responsible for eight freshmen to help them acclimate to high school and role model good behavior. Morgan chose to donate his $1,000 award to Ft. Worth Country Day's Athletic Department.


Verizon Community Leaders - Megan Elrod


Megan Elrod

Megan is an all-around student at Irving High School. Academically, she has earned Magna Cum Laude honors. She received District 7-5A All-District, All-Academic Awards in volleyball the past two years and received Defensive Player of the year and Tiger Pride Award for 2010-2012 volleyball. Megan's involvement on campus includes National Honor Society representative, Student Council 2009-2012, AP Classes and Dual Classes. Megan is very dedicated to youth leagues. She has volunteered to coach volleyball with girls' under 13 years of age and helped with many student activities. Megan chose to donate her $1,000 award to Irving High School's Volleyball Booster Club.