The Wendy’s High School Heisman Award, inspired by Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas, honors the achievements of exceptional high school seniors and provides a platform for their continued growth and success. Since its inception in 1994, more than 415,000 students have been nominated for the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award.
“The Wendy’s High School Heisman honors student-athletes who embody the spirit of the Heisman tradition of hard work and dedication,” said Archie Griffin, the only two-time winner of the Heisman Memorial Trophy and a long-time spokesman of Wendy’s High School Heisman. “Congratulations to Zoe and Samuel, and all of our 2012 National Finalists. Their achievements in the classroom, the playing fields, and in their communities, are truly inspiring.”
Zoe Alaniz, W. B. Ray High School
Hometown: Corpus Christi, TX
As the Valedictorian of her class for four consecutive years, Zoe Alaniz is a top scholar and committed to excelling academically. She was also named the National Hispanic Program Scholar her senior year. In addition to her academic achievements, Alaniz is a standout performer in swimming and diving and holds a school, district and state scoring record of 534.30 for 11 dives in the 1 meter event. She plans to swim at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign next year.
Samuel Prakel, Versailles High School
Hometown: Versailles, OH
Sam Prakel is a triple threat as an exceptional athlete with record breaking stats in cross country, track and field and swimming and diving. He holds the state meet record and all-division course record of 15:19.34 for the 5,000 meter distance in cross country and plans to run at a top university after graduation. Prakel is most proud of his leadership role in Boy Scouts, where he organized service projects and earned the Eagle Scout rank.
Alaniz and Prakel will each receive a crystal Wendy’s High School Heisman trophy, a $10,000 donation to his and her high school and a $500 Wendy’s gift card, along with an appearance on Saturday’s live Heisman Trophy broadcast on ESPN® at 8 p.m., Eastern Standard Time.
“Our founder, Dave Thomas, created the Wendy’s High School Heisman program to honor elite high school seniors who excel in the classroom, in athletic competition and give back to their communities. We congratulate Zoe and Sam, who are role models for their generation. We’re highly confident they will carry on the program’s tradition of continued excellence,” said Emil Brolick, President and Chief Executive Officer, Wendy’s.
A panel of distinguished judges selected Alaniz and Prakel from 12 National Finalists – six senior males and six senior females – representing the six geographic Heisman Trophy regions. Wendy’s honored the National Finalists at an awards ceremony in New York City this evening, which will air on ESPN2® at 1 p.m., Eastern Standard Time on December 16.