The Davey O’Brien Foundation announced Frisco Wakeland senior Hannah Mandell as the winner of the 33rd Annual Davey O’Brien High School Scholarship Award at The Fort Worth Club on Tuesday.
Mandell, who became the first-ever winner from Wakeland, receives a $30,000 scholarship. A member of the 2018 Class 5A state soccer team, Mandell is continuing her academic and athletic career at Pomona College in Calif.
“I held my mom’s hand and took a deep breath and when they said my name, my parents started to tear up,” she said. “Just seeing them so happy and knowing they’re so proud because they’ve sacrificed so much for me to be here.”
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The other finalists, which receive $2,500 scholarships, were Zoe Fowler (Arlington Oakridge), JoJo Gum (The Hockaday School), Charlie McCullough (Allen), Emma White (Lucas Lovejoy) and Madison Whitmire (Prosper).
“I read all the little blurbs of the people I was up against and they’re all fantastic,” Mandell said. “I was honored just to be in the same room as them.”
“Her name just came out of nowhere, we were stunned. It happened so fast,” mother Jessica added. “We were just amazed and thrilled all at the same time.”
Mandell is a National AP Scholar and AP Scholar with Distinction, and ranks seventh out of 496 students in her class with a 5.423 GPA on a 5.0 scale while participating in soccer, cross country and track.
She was an all-state midfielder and helped the soccer team to the 5A state championship last season. During track, Mandell took fourth in the 1600 meters at the 2016 state meet, and holds the school record holder in the 1600 meter run. Mandell was also a state qualifier in cross country in 2016.
“It’s really exciting for someone to be awarded that kind of scholarship. There were a lot of nominees and the other five finalists were out of the park with athletics and academics so I knew it was going to be a tight race,” Wakeland assistant soccer coach Heather Medlen said. “It was awesome for Hannah just to be in the Top-6 and I can’t think of a better person to win it. She works so hard and is such a wonderful kid. I know she’s going to do great things in the world.”
Mandell serves as senior class president as well as the president of the Mu Alpha Theta math honor society. She also is a member of the principal’s advisory council and the National Honor Society, is a student ambassador, and was the school’s homecoming queen.
“It’s very exciting and we’re proud. She’s worked really hard just for the sake of working hard. To get the stamp of approval at this level is very powerful and we’re very appreciative,” father Mark said.
In the community, Mandell has founded the Environmental Conservation Organization, has participated in Relay For Life and Frisco Teens 4 Green, and has served as a peer tutor.
“Hannah has done all of it on her own drive and enjoyment, and just wants to live life to the fullest and it’s been amazing to see,” Jessica said.
“These are some of the greatest moments in life as a parent, to see your child succeed beyond our dreams,” Mark added. “She does phenomenal things while helping others. Strip all the awards and trophies, and she’s just a great person with a great spirit and she’s someone we really enjoy spending time with. We have a great family unit and support one another as family members should.”
Since its inception in 1977, the Davey O’Brien Foundation has given away more than $1 million in scholarships and university grants to help high school and college athletes transform leadership on the field to leadership in life.
Mandell will be honored Feb. 18, at the 42nd Annual Davey O’Brien Awards Dinner alongside Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award winner Kyler Murray of Oklahoma.