Effingham County High School’s Cal Baker and Aby Youmans and South Effingham High School’s Hannah Anderson have been recognized for their academic and athletic accomplishments, as their schools’ 2012 winners of the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award.
Awarded in conjunction with the collegiate Heisman, the program celebrates the achievements of the nation’s top high school seniors both in and out of the classroom. All senior athletes are eligible to apply for the award and the winners are chosen by the national Heisman committee.
Baker has been a standout in both football and baseball during his high school career, earning all-region honors in baseball and honorable mention all-region in football. He also received the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership award for ECHS.
In the classroom, Baker has challenged himself by taking almost every honors and Advanced Placement class available and has maintained a 3.98 overall high school grade-point average.
“It definitely isn’t easy,” Baker said of balancing all his academic and athletic time commitments, “but you just have to put your mind to it. If you know that you have all that going on and then you actually do keep that high GPA, it feels good.”
Baker has not decided on his college major, but he knows his athletic career will continue after high school. He has signed to play baseball at Georgia Southern University.
Youmans also has taken almost every honors and Advanced Placement class available, while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. She will be eligible for the Effingham Scholar Endorsement medal next spring.
When she isn’t hitting the books, Youmans can often be found on the athletic field. She plays basketball and soccer for ECHS.
“I enjoy all of it,” Youmans said. “I like to stay busy and I like to have something to look forward to and keep me focused on.”
She plans to major in athletic training in college, saying she thinks “it would be a fun thing to do. I really enjoy my anatomy class, and I like helping others and being around people.”
Youmans said she considered attending Georgia Southern, but her first choice all along has been the College of Charleston. She got what she wanted for Christmas, receiving her acceptance letter from C of C on Dec. 26, and she is pursuing scholarships so she can attend the school next year.
Anderson has excelled in two sports at South Effingham, earning all-region first-team honors in volleyball and second-team in basketball. In the classroom, she has taken honors and Advanced Placement courses, as well as an aggressive study of French.
“Our school has always stressed academics first, then athletics, so it’s always important,” Anderson said. “I have to keep my grades up in order to play, so why not just work hard and make them the best they can be?”
Anderson has not decided on a college and major, but odds are she will choose a career field that involves helping others. She is an active member of Morningstar Baptist Church and the SEHS chapter of Fellowship of Christian Students.
Anderson traveled with her church this past summer on a mission trip to the Bahamas to rebuild an AIDS camp. The previous summer, she volunteered at Super Wow, a summer camp hosted by the Youth Ministries Office of the Georgia Baptist Convention.