The U.S. Army and the Pro Football Hall of Fame today named high-school athlete Ariana Luterman of Addison, Texas the U.S. Army–Pro Football Hall of Fame Award for Excellence winner. Luterman, one of 20 finalists vying for the honor, was announced as the winner during a luncheon at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Event Center today. A handful of Pro Football Hall of Fame “Gold Jackets” (living Hall of Famers) – linebackers DERRICK BROOKS and KEVIN GREENE, cornerbacks MIKE HAYNES and AENEAS WILLIAMS, tackle ANTHONY MUÑOZ, and defensive end JACK YOUNGBLOOD – presented Luterman with the award.
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The Award for Excellence program highlights the achievements of student-athletes across the country. Open to all sophomore, junior and senior level high school athletes in the United States, the program focuses on athletic achievement combined with excellence in academics and community engagement. All but one of the 20 finalists were on hand at the luncheon. Finalist Christian Halcomb of Hamilton, Ohio was unable to attend as he recently reported to the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.
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“Ariana has demonstrated to her peers, teachers and coaches that she understands both the core of the Army ethos – she never accepts defeat and quitting is never an option – but also, the Army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage,” said Mark Davis, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Marketing. “We are thrilled to recognize Ariana and all of our outstanding student-athletes here today. Each of our 20 finalists deserves recognition for their exceptional performance in athletics, academics and community involvement.”
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“It was a pleasure hosting the finalists, their families and the U.S. Army at the Pro Football Hall of Fame during Enshrinement Weekend to recognize their excellence,” stated George Veras, the Hall’s Executive Vice President, Chief Revenue Officer and Executive Producer. “Each of the 20 finalists exhibit and reflect the Hall of Fame’s values of commitment, integrity, courage, respect, and excellence. These same qualities will serve them well as they move forward.”
The finalists and their guests will attend the 2016 Enshrinement ceremony this evening at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, which will be televised nationally on ESPN and the NFL Network. The weekend celebration will be capped off when the Award for Excellence finalists participate in the coin toss and halftime show for the NFL’s preseason opener between the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, Aug. 7.