Fisher Cats Foundation presents its 2015 scholar-athlete awards

Recently, the New Hamp­shire Fisher Cats and the Fisher Cats Foundation pre­sented their 2015 Scholar-Athlete Scholarship winners their awards. Eleven gradu­ates from New Hampshire and two from Massachu­setts high schools earned a $2,500 scholarship based on their athletic and academic achievements in high school, and were celebrated during the on-field ceremony prior to the game on July 9.

"These students have had excellent careers in high school, and we are proud to recognize them at the ball­park tonight," said Art Solo­mon, Fisher Cats owner and chairman of the Fisher Cats Foundation board. "They’ve excelled both in school and on the sports fields, and each has displayed a commitment to making their communities better places to live. We wish them well as they embark on their college careers."

The scholarship recipients were selected based upon cri­teria of academic excellence, athletic achievement, and active citizenship in the com­munity. Money for the schol­arships was raised through several Foundation endeav­ors, most notably the Granite State Baseball Dinner, held annually in November.

The Foundation presented three special scholarships among the thirteen – the Swymer Family Scholarship, offered annually to a student who has overcome a barrier and gone on to college; the Chris Carpenter Scholar­ship, named in honor of New Hampshire native and National League Cy Young Award winner Chris Car­penter; and the Easter Seals Veterans Count Scholarship, presented to a New Hamp­shire graduate whose parent or guardian is an active, re­serve, or veteran member of the United States Military.

Karam Sandhu, Bedford High School, received the Swymer Family Award. In fifth grade, Sandhu was in Boston’s Children’s Hospi­tal with a life-threatening pulmonary hemorrhage. His immune system was no longer his protector and he developed lupus, an autoim­mune condition that caused the hemorrhage. He was able to pull through this scary time of medication, therapy, and treatment by turning to his swim family that grew to become his inspiration. He was the recipient of the Coach’s Award for the Ded­ication and Perseverance in 2012 while swimming at Bedford High, and he won the school’s Sportsmanship Award in 2015. As a beacon of inspiration, Sandhu also served as the captain of the swim team. He will attend Dartmouth College.

Mackenzie Collins, Man­chester Memorial High School, is a Manchester na­tive. Collins made a name for herself in field hockey and softball during her prep days. She was a team cap­tain for field hockey, she also made her biggest impact on the diamond as a two-year captain, second-team All-State selection, and Twin State nominee. She was a member of both the Nation­al and Latin National Hon­or Societies. She intends to pursue a nursing degree at Keene State College.

The New Hampshire Fisher Cats established the Fisher Cats Foundation to be a catalyst for the better­ment of communities state­wide by supporting youth programs that encourage ed­ucation and promote healthy living. Through the support of players, employees, spon­sors and fans, the Fisher Cats Foundation works to make a positive impact throughout New Hampshire and north central Massachusetts. As the primary funding source for the team’s philanthropy, the Fisher Cats Foundation supports a variety of non-profit organizations and co­ordinates several fundraising programs and events. Since 2006, the Foundation and the Fisher Cats have pro­vided nearly $4 million in donations to thousands of non-profit organizations.

The mission Veterans Count, a program of Easter Seals, is to provide critical and timely financial assis­tance and services when no other resource is available to veterans, service mem­bers and their families, to ensure their dignity, health and overall well-being. These "hand up" services are free, confidential and provided locally in the client’s home or other location.