The 51st-annual Clarence A. Christman Award will be presented at a luncheon Wednesday, May 15 at 12:30 p.m.
The award, given annually since 1969, goes to a senior from Washington High School or Miami Trace High School who best represents excellence in the areas of athletics, academics and leadership. The award is sponsored by the Record-Herald and the Washington C.H. Kiwanis Club.
This year, 10 student-athletes from Miami Trace High School and nine from Washington High School been been nominated for the award.
Clarence A. Christman Jr. came from humble beginnings in Washington C.H.
Growing up, he showed an ability to perform ably in athletic endeavors and loved sports throughout his life.
He had help from others, shopkeepers and businessmen, with the tools he needed to participate in sports.
He spent the rest of his life paying back, as well as forward, to the young people of the community.
As an adult with the means, he would often help youngsters who were just like him, eager and interested in athletics, but often unable to acquire even the most modest equipment to compete in sports.
Christman dropped out of Washington High School in his sophomore year and entered the U.S. Navy.
He served in the navy for three years during World War II. Christman served in a submarine and was wounded when his sub was hit by an enemy depth charge.
Upon returning to Washington C.H. after the war, Christman married and began a family.
As life continued on after the war, Christman worked for the Farm Bureau and subsequently became the city’s auditor and later, city manager.
The Christman Award started as the Record-Herald award in 1969.
After Christman’s untimely death from a heart attack following helping to fight a local fire, the award was soon renamed in his honor. To this day, Christman’s widow, Mary Lou Haines, still keeps up with the Christman Award and attends the program.
There is also Christman Park in Washington C.H., named in Clarence’s honor, located off Elm Street across from the city water department with Paint Creek flowing along nearby.
Since 1969, the Christman Award has been celebrated as a way to recognize an outstanding high school senior who has excelled in the areas of academics, athletics and leadership.