YORK -- York Comprehensive High School senior athletes Samantha Smith and Matthew Bledsoe have been recognized by the Wendy's High School Heisman Program.
Each fall the program recognizes the nation's most esteemed high school senior men and women for excellence in academics, athletics and community/school involvement.
"Samantha and Matthew are good citizens, A students, hard workers and top school leaders," commented YCHS athletic director Steve Boyd. "Each was in the running for Mr. and Miss Cougar.
"They both are involved in volunteer community service. Athletics and academics are important to them."
Samantha, the daughter of Otha and Beverly Smith, is a member of the varsity girls basketball team.
Matthew, the son of Tommy and Christine Bledsoe, played for the Cougar football team.
Smith said she enjoys playing basketball, but academics come first.
"Students need something to fall back on," she said.
Bledsoe agrees, stating, "A great athlete can have a season-ending injury. You can't play sports all of your life.
"Athletics and academics go hand-in-hand but classroom achievement has to be the top priority."
Both Smith and Bledsoe offer advice to local youngsters aspiring to play high school sports someday.
"Work to be the best at what you do," Smith said. "I work hard in the classroom and on the basketball court."
Added Bledsoe, "Listen to your teachers. They know what they are talking about. Keep your head in the game and in the books."
Smith will attend Ga. Tech in Atlanta in the fall, where she will major in engineering.
Bledsoe has joined the National Guard and will explore college opportunities and funding through the Guard.
Bledsoe wants young people to know how important it is to extend their education beyond high school.
Smith encourages students to get involved in something meaningful.
"Students shouldn't have so much free time that they end up with the wrong friends," she said.