Santiago received a Hall of Fame jacket from NFL Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow during a special ceremony at BHS Wednesday afternoon.
“What a great young man. You should be proud of this young man,” Winslow said during the presentation. “When I met Andrew, you could tell a lot about his teachers and his coaches. You could tell a lot about his parents. You could see the efforts of the school and the community as to what takes places educating young people.”
Launched five years ago, the Award for Excellence Program highlights the country’s top sophomore, junior, and senior athletes who not only share key attributes of U.S. Army Soldiers but also excel athletically and academically, and are active in their communities.
The judging panel comprised of Pro Football Hall of Fame executives and Professional Football Hall of Fame athletes selected the 25 student Finalists, and will pick one winner who will receive a $2,500 scholarship.
“The student athletes who are finalists for the Hall of Fame Award of Excellence are part of a team, not just an athletic team but their families, schools and civic organizations. They understand that victory is only achieved when everyone does their job and does it well,” said U.S Army Capt. Blair Downey, a veteran of Afghanistan who now commands the Army’s Downers Grove recruiting company. “By celebrating not just physical prowess, but academic achievement and civic-mindedness , we are celebrating the student athletes, his parents, his teachers, coaches and community.”
Each of the 25 finalists will participate in activities at the 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend in Canton, Ohio Aug. 4-6. The winner of the U.S. Army-Pro Football Hall of Fame Award for Excellence will be announced during a special recognition ceremony on Aug. 5.
An honor student with a 3.9 GPA, Santiago is a student liaison to the VVSD School Board and a member of the National Honor Society. He has played football for four years and is a student aide.
“These finalists embody the excellence and dedication that both Army soldiers and Pro Football Hall of Famers bring to their own lives every day,” said Mark Davis, U.S. Army deputy assistant secretary (marketing). “They give their best to achieve their goals and give back to their communities.”