Tie for scholar athlete award
Southern Lehigh's Travis Edmond and Whitehall's Jacob Buskirk were separated by one seat at Sunday's Lehigh Valley Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame banquet.
By the end of the 55th annual awards ceremony at Northampton Community Center, the two shared the evening's prestigious award.
Of the 34 high school football scholar-athlete nominees, Edmond and Buskirk were recognized as the award winners. It was the first time since 2011, when Bangor's Scott LaValva and Nazareth's Chuck Dibilio won the award, that two athletes shared the honor.
Six collegiate scholar-athletes were also recognized at the awards banquet, which featured Penn State University head coach James Franklin as the main speaker.
Edmond who will attend Wagner College in Staten Island, New York and major in neurosciencewas the second Spartan in as many seasons to win the award. Jacob Del Priore won it in 2014.
"It feels great to have this award and cap off a senior year," Edmond said. "It's been a lot of work, and it really feels good to have it pay off.
"My grandmother actually died of a stroke, and that got me a personal interest into it [neuroscience]. I wanted to do something to help other people. Hopefully after med school, I can figure out something to help other people and save more lives. That's my ultimate goal."
As a quarterback for the Spartans, Edmond was a First Team all-state selection that helped guide Southern Lehigh to a three-team share of the Colonial League title. He was also a strong safety and linebacker for the Spartans.
In the classroom, Edmond's accomplishments were just as impressive. He ranks 20 out of 243 students and is a member of the National Honor Society and Young Americans for Freedoms. He also volunteers at a local church's pumpkin patch and a youth football team as a coach.
"It's not only a reward for me, but it's also for my team and Southern Lehigh High School," Edmond said. "It really gets our name out there. I couldn't be here without my teammates, my coaches, my parents or my teachers. They all helped me out along the way."
Buskirk was also a First Team all-state selection for the Zephs. At fullback and linebacker, he had a big part in Whitehall's successful season in 2014.
Buskirk, who ranks 18 out of 350 students, is a member of the National Honor Society, German Club and Math Honor Society. He volunteers with Special Olympics and with a youth football team, and was invited to play in the Senior Bowl High School All-Star Game in Orlando, Florida.
"It's awesome," Buskirk said of the award. "Your whole life, everybody tells you to wok hard in the classroom, as well as on the field, and to give back to everything you get. "
By the time next fall rolls around, Buskirk will suit up for Lehigh University. He is planning to major in business.
"I'm very excited," Buskirk said. "It's obviously a great school, and along with football, they have great tradition there."
Much of Franklin's message to the scholar-athletes related to teachings on and off the field at Penn State. He spoke of the team's four core values, and how a positive attitude, work ethic, competing in everything you do and sacrificing are of the utmost importance.
Franklin also mentioned that the students' success journeys did not come from them alone.
"Don't take for granted what you have in this community," Franklin said. "Don't take for granted what you have with your family. You did not get to where you are right now by yourself. You had a support systemwhether it's your parents, whether it's an uncle, whether it's a guardian, whether it's a high school coach or a community as a whole."
As a group, the 34 high school scholar athletes averaged a 3.7 GPA and scored over a 1600 on their SATs.