Senior student athlete Tyler Meidell of Damonte Ranch High School has been named one of 12 national finalists for the 2012 Wendy's High School Heisman Award, which honors exceptional students who excel in academics, athletics, and community service.
Meidell and his parents were notified of his finalist status during an all-school assembly on Nov. 15. He is among a dozen finalists named from 45,000 initial applicants nationwide.
"I was so shocked to be named one of the national finalists," said Meidell. "I'm just humbled and excited to be a part of this competition."
"It's been a very emotional day," said Meidell's father, Laif. "It was wonderful to be here and see the students' enthusiasm. Damonte Ranch High School is a great school for all of the students. We are very fortunate and very blessed to raise our kids here and have them attend this school."
As a national finalist, Meidell will be featured during a televised ceremony on ESPN networks and will receive a gold medal and a $2,000 award for Damonte Ranch High School. After the assembly, Meidell was photographed during his school day by a camera crew from ESPN, which is profiling each of the national finalists.
Meidell has competed in soccer, wrestling, and track.
The 12 national finalists will travel to New York City next month where two winners—one male and one female—will be chosen on Dec. 7. Each will receive a crystal Wendy's High School Heisman trophy, a $10,000 donation to their respective high schools, a $500 gift certificate to Wendy's, and recognition during the collegiate Heisman Trophy ceremony in New York City on Dec. 8.
Created in 1994 by Wendy's and the Heisman Memorial Trust, the Wendy's High School Heisman Award recognizes outstanding high school seniors nationwide. Some 45,000 students were nominated online, and many were recommended by principals, teachers, counselors, and coaches. The most exceptional students were then selected to advance during extensive judging processes at both state and national levels.
"Just having our students see what the possibilities are, by showing them what one of their fellow students has accomplished, has allowed them to dream bigger and go for goals that they may have thought they might never achieve," said Denise Hausauer, principal of Damonte Ranch High School. "This is so wonderful for our students and our school. This is a gift."
A total of 20 students in Nevada reached the state finals, including Meidell. Other state finalists in Reno are Kailee Guthrie of Damonte Ranch High School and Tucker Melcher of Galena High School.
From the Washoe County School District