Educators, submit your candidates for The Detroit News/CATCH Outstanding Graduates Awards

The Detroit News and CATCH, Sparky Anderson's Charity for Children, are seeking to identify and recognize the outstanding graduating high school seniors in Michigan. This program places a premium on demonstrated ability in one of the seven core curriculum areas, plus athletics, vocational-technical education, journalism and a special category which recognizes extraordinary achievement in the face of extreme adversity.

Twenty-four students will be selected to receive $1,000 scholarships, and will be featured in stories and photographs in The Detroit News this spring, followed by an awards dinner.

Each public or non-public high school may submit two candidates in each of the following categories:

ATHLETICS: Nominees may come from any sport sanctioned and given varsity status by the Michigan High School Athletic Association. Prime consideration will be given to candidates who: 1) exhibit a high level of athletic skill and participation throughout their high school career; 2) display leadership and sportsmanship on the field and off, and 3) have exhibited strong academic skills.

HEALTH EDUCATION: Nominees may be outstanding students in physical education or health education, or may be leaders in substance abuse programs in their schools or communities. Prime consideration will be given to students who: 1) exemplify the highest standards of personal health, fitness and leadership; 2) have been recognized through a specific accomplishment, competition or project, and 3) have demonstrated strong academic ability in their academic studies.

JOURNALISM: Nominees may be involved in any aspect of journalism, including newspapers, yearbooks and broadcast news. Prime consideration will be given to students who: 1) have demonstrated a commitment to the profession through professional work at work or school, or 2) have made a contribution to furthering the goals of a free press or free speech.

LANGUAGE ARTS EDUCATION: Nominees may be from any school program in writing, speaking, literature, or any other commonly recognized language arts area, other than journalism. Prime consideration will be given to students who: 1) have published poetry, prose or other forms of written expression at the regional, state or national level; 2) have demonstrated exceptional ability in debate or other competitive forms for speaking, or 3) have distinguished themselves in the study of literature.

MATHEMATICS EDUCATION: Nominees may be from any area of mathematics. Prime consideration will be given to candidates who: 1) have been recognized in regional, state or national competitions or tests, or 2) have independently demonstrated a superior mathematical ability through the development of a mathematical concept, theorem or exploration of a complex mathematical relationship presented at a conference or in a published article.

PERFORMING ARTS EDUCATION: Nominees may be from music, dance or theater. Prime consideration will be given to candidates who: 1) have demonstrated extraordinary performing talent and poise through adjudicated processes; 2) have been recognized through a specific accomplishment, competition or public performance, and 3) have demonstrated strong academic ability.

SCIENCE EDUCATION: Nominees may be from any area of science. Prime consideration will be given to candidates who: 1) have been recognized in regional, state or national competitions or tests, or 2) have completed a scientific project which creates new information in a scientific field and has been documented and confirmed by recognized experts in the field.

VISUAL ARTS EDUCATION: Nominees may be from any of the visual arts, interdisciplinary work in multiple art forms or any other recognized art form. Prime consideration will be given to candidates who: 1) have demonstrated extraordinary talent and creativity through adjudicated processes; 2) have been recognized through a specific accomplishment, competition or public showing, and 3) have demonstrated strong academic ability.

VOCATIONAL-TECHNICAL EDUCATION: Nominees may be from any vocational-technical education program. Prime consideration will be given to students who: 1) have demonstrated outstanding performance and leadership abilities related to their chosen occupational field, and 2) extraordinary achievement in academic work, job-related experience, lab training or related projects.

WORLD STUDIES EDUCATION: Nominees may be from any social science, history, geography, foreign language or government/civics areas of instruction. Prime consideration will be given to students who: 1) have demonstrated extraordinary achievement through competitions or tests; or 2) have completed and been recognized for special projects in the community such as historical research or community service; or 3) have advanced global or multi-cultural understanding through the personal creation of a particular activity or projects.

SPECIAL DISTINCTION: Against All Odds nominees may be from any field of study or school program. Prime consideration will be given to students who: 1) have overcome extreme adversity due to economic, social, cultural, physical or mental hardship; 2) have prevailed with strength and dignity, exhibiting extraordinary accomplishments and achievement in their chosen field of endeavor, and 3) have demonstrated great potential. In this category, the special circumstances will be taken into consideration when weighing responses in the review criteria.

Download the application form here, attach your responses, a copy of the applicant's high school transcript and at least one letter of support from a teacher, counselor or principal. Return the materials in duplicate to the address on the form by March 1, 2016.

Winners will be selected by review panels chosen by professional educational organizations. Review criteria are listed on the application form, with the points indicating the relative weighing of each response. The essay response will be used to determine the top students from those selected as finalists.

The deadline for applications is March 1.

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