Emma Federinko and Taylor Collison were the recipients of the James Snyder Award at Penns Valley High School on Monday 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.
Federinko, the daughter of Patrick and Lynda Federinko of Spring Mills, ran on the Lady Rams’ Mountain League-champion track and field and cross country teams, earning four letters during her athletic career for each sport.
“I was totally shocked,” Federinko said. “I believe my class has a lot of scholarly athletes and we’re all very even and together and it just completely shocked me.”
Federinko will be her class valedictorian on Friday night, tallying a 4.0 grade-point average.
“I’m pretty excited about it, but I’m pretty nervous about speaking,” Federinko said. “But I’m ready for it.”
A member of the National Honor Society, the Varsity Club and a member of the student council, the senior appreciates all she learned not just in the classroom but also during the countless hours of training she had to do for her sports.
“A lot of what being a student-athlete teaches you is responsibility and time management,” Federinko said. “I think those are two of the greatest things that I’m coming out of high school with.”
She plans to keep running — she has already begun her summer training program — at Misericordia University in Dallas, Pa., where she plans to study to be a physician’s assistant and possibly advance on to become a doctor down the road.
But she is also proud of being a part of the Rams’ athletic programs.
“It was an honor to compete as a Lady Ram,” Federinko said. “Everyone who I’ve competed with in my sports, and the sports my friends compete in, we’re all just so close. We all are kind of like a family. We’re constantly pushing each other and motivating each other. It just makes things a lot easier as a student athlete.”
Collison, the son of Dr. Craig and Michelle Collison of Madisonburg, earned nine letters in four sports during his athletic career, including four in football, three in baseball, one in basketball and one in swimming. He also was a member of the baseball team for four seasons and the basketball team for three years.
“I was fairly surprised,” Taylor Collison said. “I knew there were a lot of very dedicated and incredible student-athletes who were also very deserving of this award. I thought I had a decent chance of receiving it, but I of course was shocked and extremely happy with receiving it.”
Collison has been busy away from athletics as well, as president of the student council this year and vice president of the Football Club, working as a tutor, serving on the student council for all four years of high school as well as on the Varsity and Football clubs, and is a member of the National Honor Society.
He also teamed up with fellow senior Cameron Tobias on a joint graduation project on the “Maximum Mayhem” carnival, raising better than $4,000 for neurofibromatosis research.
“It was a lot of work but a great experience,” Collison said. “But knowing the funds were going to such a good cause was really special.”
Collison will continue his football career at Franklin and Marshall. The Rams running back was selected as Penns Valley’s honoree by the Central Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame, and he will play in the Lezzer Lumber All-Star Classic later this month.
“The next level is something very special,” Collison said. “It’s also something that keeps you very committed to your academics at the same time.”
He plans to study physics at the school, hoping to possibly get into aerospace engineering.