Parents: Tim and Kate Downing
Class Rank: 12
Type Course: Advanced Placement (AP courses)
School: Washington High School
Sports: Tennis, Track
Part I – Athletics
(Must participate in at least two varsity sports)
Sport: Tennis, No. Years 4, Varsity Letters 4
Sport: Track, No. Years 3, Varsity Letters 3
What special awards did this candidate receive as an athlete?
For years I have competed in athletics. I played basketball on a travel league for 9 years and was awarded best defensive player multiple years. I have been apart of program for 11 years. I started out as the ball girl at the age of 7. Through a decade of players I watched the team grow and with my patience was awarded 4 years as varsity first singles. I made it to Districts all 4 years. I also competed in regionals my freshman year in track as a pole vaulter.
To be able to achieve four years as first singles I played through the USTA in tournament tennis. I have six USTA trophies. I was awarded player of the year my senior year and went completely undefeated in the league my junior year and senior year, without dropping a single set. I was awarded first team all SCOL my freshman year and sophomore year and first team all FAC my junior and senior year. My junior year I was awarded the McDonald’s fall athlete award. As an 8th grader I was awarded the sportsmanship award given to one boy and one girl voted on by the coaches.
In all honesty I couldn’t total the amount of individual awards I have received through track, tennis, my years in basketball, traveling leagues for softball, and even art. And it is an honor to see what what I have accomplished and what my hard work had created for me, but it’s not about the awards or the trophies. Sports should be about fun and enjoyment; do it for yourself not the attention.
It was partially because of the awards I did not do track my junior year. I started to do it just for the attention and the medals and I lost the sportsmanship and fun. So I didn’t do it. I took a year off to find the joy in the athletics without competition. I returned this year without the lust for first place and just because I simply enjoy it and since realizing that I’ve been most rewarded with positivity. I still strive to do my best whether that’s first place or not. The greatest award i’ve gotten through all of my athletics is happiness and feeling good about myself and what I’m doing.
I have been seeded 2nd seed in sectionals and districts in tennis for 3 years, my freshman year I was seeded third. I haven’t dropped a single set or game in league for tennis my junior and senior year.
I vault 9 feet and 6 inches in pole vault. It’s hard to keep statistics in pole vault and tennis and honestly I never really cared to compare myself to the other athletes i’ve always just competed for the fun of being active and the sport. I never cared how “good” I was doing. Ranking high was never my priority and it just became easier when I didn’t worry about it and just had fun.
Part II – Scholastic
Grade point average: 3.5
In school I take an abundance of AP courses including AP art both drawing and 3D design as well as AP literature and composition. I take southern state classes to help me advance quicker in my upcoming college years. With all of these classes I have still been able to hold a 3.5 gpa and keep my grades a B or higher.
Scholastic Awards: (National Honor Society, for example):
Through my academic years I have attended the academy of scholars for 4 years. I have been given many awards in art shows from SCOL to FAC and the Governors show. I have been recognized for my writing ability and have recently just had a piece of my artwork published in Glass Enclosures, a book written by a group of writing students at Ohio University. My art was one out of seven chosen for the publication and over 50 pieces in total were submitted.
School-related projects (State Science Fair, library/office assistant, for example)
Within the school I have been a part of the art club, senior caucus, and assisted in art classes. Over the years I have just been a bit of a helper to anyone that needs help around the building. No matter what it is. I have helped with blue heritage day for Belle Aire, tough little lions tennis camps and helped coach the upcoming middle schoolers in pole vault. Even as a junior when I was not competing I tried to make it to the track to give technical advice and help with form.
Part III – Leadership
List membership in and/or leadership roles held in any club, church, community or school organization.
(Also not community projects)
In my community I have face painted at open houses, helped the fire department raise money for Muscular Dystrophy through their “fill the boot” charity. I teach Sunday school for preschool and first graders at St. Colman. I was picked out at my rotary speech by Godwin Tayese to assist in putting together plans with other company owners in town for murals we hope to have painted. I have worked alongside them through multiple meetings at the commissioner’s office. I teach tennis lessons in the summer as well as coach little lady lions tennis. I am the senior lifeguard at the YMCA. I teach swim lesson there and also do child watch in the daycare. I really enjoy working with kids. I think when it comes to leadership, the most leadership is shown in shaping the minds of our future. Leadership can be good or bad depending on who you are allowing to lead you. I find it satisfying that I have been given opportunities in my life to lead younger generation in preparation for when they will be my age hopefully getting the opportunity to be recognized and a well rounded person as well.
Coach’s comments concerning leadership abilities:
My name is Samantha Leach. I am an intervention specialist at Washington High School and have had the privilege of coaching the girl’s tennis team the last two years for the Lady Lions. I have had the opportunity to coach Megan during this time and it is my privilege to nominate her for this award.
Megan has been an elite tennis player in our community for several years. She has played 1st singles since her freshman year. Megan advanced to the District tournament in Singles & Doubles each year during her high school career. Megan was undefeated in the league at 1st Singles during her junior and senior seasons.
During the 2018 season, Megan led the Lady Lions to an overall record of 14-1 and a FAC Championship. She was named the 2018 FAC Player of the Year. Megan was a standout tennis player throughout her high school career.
Along with her standout athletic ability, Megan is an extremely talented artist and has received numerous awards for her outstanding artwork. Megan works at the YMCA as a lifeguard and has maintained above a 3.5 gpa. Megan dedicated a lot of her time to the Lady Lions Tennis program and has been a leader for several years. Her presence will be missed.
– Samantha Leach