Carly Gonder and Brian Evans were the recipients of the James Snyder Award at Philipsburg-Osceola High School on Thursday night. The award, sponsored by the Centre Daily Times, is given in memory of Snyder, a former CDT sports editor, who was killed in an automobile accident in December of 1957.
The award is given to the male and female letterwinners who also demonstrated excellence in the classroom as well as being a good citizen in the school and community.
Gonder, the daughter of Jeff and Kim Gonder, is a letterwinner in softball, volleyball and soccer. She helped the Lady Mounties win four consecutive District 6 Class AA softball titles and a PIAA softball championship in 2011.
She also is a cheerleader. She is a member of the National Honor Society and Letterwinners and was also on the Prom Committee.
Evans, the son of John and Deborah Evans, was a member of the wrestling, cross country and soccer teams.
He was also involved in drama and was a member of the Letterwinners.
And usually the cliche that the best always look to take on more challenges rings true. In the cases of Gonder and Evans, it certainly does.
Gonder, who played softball and soccer and cheerleaded since elmentary school, decided to make a comeback with volleyball her senior year. It was a worthwhile experience, she said, as she got close with another group of friends in the process.
“I have always prided myself on being an athletic girl and I know I cheerlead and everything but softball, I just love it, so being recognized as one of the best athletes in the school is a big accomplishment for me,” Gonder said.
Likewise, Evans added another sport and the commitments that come with it to his calendar when he opted to run cross country for his junior and senior years.
Evans’ exploits with the Mounties’ cross country team helped him stay in shape for soccer and wrestling — two sports he competed in throughout his high school career.
“It actually means a lot to me because it just shows how much hard work I’ve done inside the classroom and outside the classroom,” Evans said.
Now their learning curves will be altered. Gonder will be headed to Morgantown where she’ll enroll at West Virginia University in the fall. Evans will head down the road to study at Lock Haven University. Both have a rough idea about how their career path’s could fall into line.
Gonder wants to be a pediatrician and will seed a degree in chemistry to get that ball rolling. Although she has a disdain for biology coursework, Gonder said she feels prepared for the challenge. She recently tried out for the WVU cheerleading squad, too.
She’s seeking a career that will allow her to combat different obstacles every day, plus she likes being around kids.
“I just wanted to be able to incorporate all of that,” Gonder said.
Meanwhile, Evans is ready to tackle Lock Haven’s physician’s assistant program and said he could see himself heading to graduate school one day.
“I’ve always been interested in the medical field,” Evans, whose mother is a registered nurse, said. “I have a lot of family members in it and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”