Trenton Fortney and Kristen Bell were the winners of the James Snyder Award at Bellefonte Area High School on Friday 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 male and female senior letterwinners who also demonstrate excellence in the classroom as well as being a good citizen in the school and community.
“I was just greatly honored,” Fortney said. “It’s recognition for the hard work me and my teammates put in every day. Even when we’re not practicing, we’re working hard in our backyard, working hard trying to improve, and it’s a great feeling to get this award for that work.”
“It’s truly an honor,” Bell said. “I’ve worked hard all four years and it’s wonderful to be recognized for my work.”
Fortney was a standout on the football, basketball and baseball teams for the Red Raiders, though he admits baseball is his favorite sport. He was a catcher for the baseball team, a shooting guard in basketball and a safety in football.
The Raiders had a tough end to the baseball season, losing 8-1 to West Allegheny on Monday in the first round of the PIAA tournament, just days after the team won the District 6 Class AAA title. It was the first district championship Fortney got to experience during his athletic career.
“It was a great run,” Fortney said. “Obviously we wish we were still going, but it was a great way to end our senior years with a district championship.”
Fortney carries a 92.97 grade-point-average, and is a Distinguished Honors and High Honors student. He has helped with the Glenn O’Hawbaker Charity Golf Tournament for three years, and also assisted in organizing the Bellefonte High School Volleyball Tournament along with Bellefonte Little League and elementary school basketball leagues.
He was a team captain of all three varsity teams as a senior, was a Mountain League honorable mention All-Star in basketball and finished fourth in the league in scoring.
He plans to study electrical and mechanical engineering at Penn State Altoona, and try out for the baseball team.
“It’s not guaranteed, but that’s been a dream of mine since early on to play collegiately — and some are lucky enough to play professionally,” Fortney said. “Only time will tell if that happens.”
Bell played soccer for the Lady Red Raiders, a central defender on a program that is an annual contender, not that the team’s success was a major factor in how much she loves the sport.
“I would have fun with soccer whether we won or not because I love the game,” Bell said. “It was an awesome experience. I loved the work, the practices, every game, hot or cold it didn’t matter.”
Bell has a 97.63 average, ranking fifth out of her class of 181, and was a Distinguished Honors student throughout high school. She is a member of the National Honor Society and the school literary magazine Anada, assists with the Vacation Bible School at her church and has participated in a number of math competitions.
She will enroll at Penn State this fall and is leaning toward studying biomedical engineering. She thought about becoming a doctor, but, “I don’t like blood. I want to save lives, but I don’t want to deal with the gore.”
Both Fortney and Bell understand how sports helped shape their lives and prepare them for the future.
“It changed me as a person,” Bell said. “I have better time management, and I am a more determined person. The team helped me the way nothing else could.”
“Playing from a young age, I learned to balance my scholastic work and athletics,” Fortney said. “I learned about work ethic on and off the field. It has helped me be a decent person.”