Marine Corps Recruiting Command is partnering with Sports Illustrated to recognize outstanding high school student athletes. The program recognizes students who are involved in community service, have outstanding academic performance and are considered leaders in school, as well as being outstanding athletes.
Porter Milner, a senior at Broomfield High School in Broomfield, Colorado, was chosen as the High School Student Athlete of Month for the month of March. Milner is the captain of the varsity soccer team. As a high school soccer player, Milner has received three all state selections and earned All-America honors. He was named the Colorado High School Soccer Coaches Association’s Class 5A player of the year and the state Gatorade boys’ soccer player of the year.
“One of my personal philosophies is that everything correlates, on the field and off the field,” said Milner “On the field, I build mental fortitude and practice my leadership and character, which transfers off the field.”
In addition to his superior accolades, Milner’s off-field accomplishments greatly contributed to his selection. He is the student council co-president and is an active member of “Leadership,” a program at Broomfield High that allows select upper classmen to provide positive guidance to new students throughout high school.
“Porter deserves this recognition because he’s not just phenomenal to watch on the field, but he is a fantastic kid in his school,” said Ali Fenwick, Editor of SI Athlete of the Month Series. “To see how much he really cares about his fellow students is a really great thing to see. He is a real genuine kid and he makes his school better just by being there.”
During the partnership, one student athlete is selected each month from September through May to be recognized for his or her accomplishments. Sports Illustrated features the winners in their monthly publication and website. Each student athlete will be recognized during an award ceremony that is facilitated by the Marine Corps at the student’s school. Marines will be on hand to present the prestigious award.
“I think that the program has done an outstanding job of pushing the Marine Corps into the public’s eye by utilizing avenues that are popular in the market where the most qualified applicants are,” Said Staff Sgt. David Hall, a recruiter in Denver. “Any time the public sees the United States Marine Corps, it is beneficial for us as recruiters. It keeps us fresh in the minds of America’s youth.”
The partnership provides an opportunity for the Marine Corps to raise the awareness of its scholarship and enlistment opportunities, in addition to recognizing athletic prowess, academic excellence and community leadership values.
“We want to get out into the communities and interact with the students, educators and key influencers, while telling the Marine Corps story,” said Captain Sean Pangia, paid media and advertising officer, Marine Corps Recruiting Command. “By doing so, we can show the community how our values are similar to theirs.”
At the end of the school year, one athlete will be chosen as Sports Illustrated’s 2016 High School Athlete of the Year. Last year, Hunter Gandee from Bedford High School in Temperance, Michigan, earned the title. Gandee, then a freshman, raised $200,000 to build a handicap accessible playground at his school. Gandee’s younger brother, Braden, was born with cerebral palsy, a brain injury that causes movement disorders. To raise awareness of cerebral palsy, Gandee walked 57 miles with Braden on his back from his hometown of Temperance to Ann Arbor, Michigan.
To date, this year’s recipients include: Kane Hogan of Danville, Alabama, Nia Toliver of Los Angeles, California, McTelvin Agim of Hope, Arkansas, Hanna DeBalsi of Westport, Connecticut, Daijon Smith of Harper Woods, Michigan, Sophia Foresta of South Jordan, Utah, and Porter Milner of Broomfield, Colorado. All featured athletes stories can be found at the below website.
To nominate an athlete, visit www.si.com/high-school-athlete-of-the-month/2015-2016 and click on “nominate an athlete” on the left-hand side.
Story by Sgt. Jacky Fang