Fourteen scholar-athletes representing seven area high schools are being honored for this year’s 55th annual Thomas E. Hewitt Sports Awards.
Normally, students, along with their families, friends and school personnel, attend a special awards dinner where they are recognized for their accomplishments. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that couldn’t happen this year.
Still, the Board of Associates of Mount St. Mary’s Hospital, which sponsors the event, felt strongly that the awards needed to move forward. Understanding this has already been a tough year for the nominees as they haven’t completed their senior year as planned, the Board of Associates decided to present the awards without the dinner. The award winners will be announced Sunday.
The awards, named for the late city editor of the Niagara Gazette, will include the presentation of $1,500 scholarships to the top male and female candidates as determined by a panel of judges. In addition, each student will receive a $100 award for their nomination.
The panel of judges were Ed Farnham, local businessman, Tuscarora Roofing, and the 1976 Hewitt Award male recipient; Lisa Bavisotto, director of management development, Tim Hortons; and Lawrence Puzan, former athletic director for Niagara Catholic and current head softball coach at Niagara University.
Judging is based on scholastic achievement, athletic achievement, school and community involvement and a personal interview — done this year over the phone — with the judges.
Here are the nominees:
Ben Moskala, Grand Island
Moskala earned a 96.217 weighted average, is an All-WNY Scholar Athlete, received the Pride of Grand Island Award, PTSA Academic Achievement Award and WNY Academic First Team Award for football. He is a Representative for his class office, a member of the National Honor Society, Environmental Club, Student Athletic Advisory Council, Student Council and Young Life. Athletically, he is the captain of the varsity basketball and football teams and is a member of the varsity tennis team. Moskala hopes to attend Washington & Jefferson College to play football and major in finance.
Sara Frosolone, Grand Island
Frosolone earned a 97.407 weighted average (10th in her class), is a scholar athlete and has received the Canisius College Ignation Scholarship, Mt. St. Mary’s Academy Presidential Scholarship, Niagara University Trustees Scholarship and Wells College Scholarship. She is a Representative for her class office, Vice President of the Foreign Language Club, a member of the National Honor Society, Environmental Club, Mt. St. Mary’s Academy Scholars Program, Mt. St. Mary’s Academy Service Club and Student Council. She has been an active volunteer for St. Luke’s Mission Food Drive, Neighbor’s Foundation Food Drive, Niagara Falls City Soup Kitchen and various community events including Grand Island Volley Ball Little Spikes Program, Cooking for Cancer (Roswell Research), Grand Island Relay for Life and Grand Island Little League. Athletically, Frosolone is a member of the varsity basketball, softball and volleyball teams. She plans to attend Niagara University to major in secondary education with a focus of English or social studies.
Benjamin Wisto, Lewiston-Porter
Wisto earned a 95.628 weighted average, High Honor Roll recognition, is a scholar athlete and has achieved perfect attendance. He is a member of the National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, Connect Life Club, has participated in the Lew-Port Art Show and the Chalk Walk. Wisto enjoys helping in his community by volunteering at the Veteran’s Day dinner, shoveling snow for his neighbors and helping them paint their homes. In athletics, Wisto is captain of the cross country team as well as co-captain of the swim team and is a member of the track and field team. He plans to attend Niagara University for biology which he hopes will lead to his lifelong dream of becoming a chiropractic physician.
Sophie Lindamer, Lewiston-Porter
Lindamer earned a 96.673 weighted average, High Honor Roll every quarter of high school and is a scholar athlete. She is the President of the Varsity Club and is a member of the National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, Spanish Club and Leadership Youth of Niagara County. Lindamer is a volunteer coach for NPSL Youth Soccer, Special Olympics Soccer, Special Olympics Unified Basketball and volunteers for local events such as the Mighty Niagara Half Marathon, Jason Raby 5K and various needs of Niagara Culinary. In athletics, she is the captain of the varsity basketball, soccer and track and field teams. She plans to attend West Virginia University to study biomedical engineering.
Anthony Haak, Lockport
Haak earned a 100.36 weighted average (seventh in his class), High Honor Roll every semester, Academic “L” Award (three years), outstanding achievement awards in biology, English, Spanish and world history and is a recipient of the Quality Student of Lockport Award. He is a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, All-WNY Scholar Athlete (in football and soccer), American Legion New York Boys State Member, Junior Rotary Club and Principal Advisory Committee. Haak is also the President of DECA and Vice President of Connect Life for UNYTS. In his spare time he volunteers for the Junior Police Academy, 4-H Summer Camp, Salvation Army, Challenger Soccer Program and the SPCA. Athletically, Haak is a five-time varsity athlete in basketball (co-captain), competitive cheerleading, football (captain), soccer (captain) and track. He is the first four-sport male athlete in Lockport High School history as well as the first five-sport overall athlete in Lockport history. Haak plans to attend the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University where he will study broadcasting and communication.
Samantha Schaffert, Lockport
Schaffert earned a 97.75 weighted average, High Honor Roll Recognition, Academic “L” Award, Academic Honor Award, George H. Ball Community Achievement and is a scholar athlete. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society and Student Council. She volunteers for All Saints Parish, DeSales Catholic School, Lockport’s Canned Food Drive and also spends time as a coach for Flips Gymnastics and the Lockport YMCA. Athletically, Schaffert is co-captain of the varsity volleyball and indoor and outdoor track and field teams. She will be attending SUNY Fredonia to major in sports management and minor in athletic coaching. She has also committed to their track and field team where she will continue her athletic journey.
Yazbeck Sarkees, Niagara Falls
Sarkees earned a 112.165 weighted average and High Honor Roll each semester; he has received numerous curricular and student athlete awards as well as the Clarkson University High School Achievement Award. He is a member of the National Honor Society, KeyClub, L.Y.N.C. and Buffalo Niagara Waterkeepers. In athletics, Sarkees is captain of the varsity tennis team and co-captain of the varsity soccer, unified bowling and unified basketball teams and is a coach for both Niagara PAL and the Special Olympics. He would like to attend the State University of New York at Stony Brook or Clarkson University to pursue a degree in civil engineering.
Molly Chiarella, Niagara Falls
Chiarella earned a 114.63 weighted average, High Honor Roll every quarter of high school, was named 2019 Spectrum News Scholar Athlete of the Week and 2019 All-WNY Fall Scholar Athlete for cross country. She is a four-year officer of her graduating class, member of the yearbook committee, KeyClub and L.Y.N.C. Chiarella has spent many years volunteering for her graduating class of 2020, as a soccer coach for Niagara PAL, as an organizer for the local elementary school mile run and in other community events. In athletics, she is captain of the cross country team and co-captain of the indoor track, outdoor track, unified bowling and unified basketball teams. Chiarella broke the female track record for the 600m with an impressive time of 1:45:78. She plans to attend SUNY Oneonta to major in adolescent education and mathematics. Her long term goal is to obtain a masters in teaching so she can be a high school math teacher as well as a high school cross country and track coach.
Andrew Rambali, Niagara Wheatfield
Rambali earned a 97.066 weighted average, High Honor Roll recognition (three consecutive years), is a scholar athlete (10 seasons) and received several Board of Education recognition awards for academics and sports. He is a member of the National Honor Society, Falcon Athletic Advisory Student Team, Outdoor Club and Student Advisory Council. Rambali has volunteered for Adams Fire Company, Our Lady of Czestochowa Church and St. Johnsburg Fire Company. In athletics, he is co-captain of the varsity soccer team and is a member of the swimming and track and field teams. Rambali plans to attend college for medicine in hopes of becoming a cardiologist.
Brianna Zayatz, Niagara Wheatfield
Zayatz earned a 98.30 weighted average, the President’s Education Award, Falcon Pride Award (twice), Lions Club Award (twice), Comeback Athlete of the Year Award and Second Team All-WNY Soccer Award. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Falcon Athletic Advisory Student Team, Student Athletic Advisory Council, Youth Activation Committee and the Yearbook Club. She volunteers for Adopt-A-Family, Niagara Wheatfield Athletic Department, North Tonawanda Public Library, the Miracle League of Grand Island, Salem United Church of Christ, YMCA Summer Camp and is a tutor. Athletically, Zayatz is co-captain of varsity soccer and track and field and is a member of the varsity basketball team. She will attend Daemen College’s 3+3 program for physical therapy.
Joseph Dell’Oso, Starpoint
Dell’Oso earned a 96.5 non-weighted average, is a 4 year Spartan Scholar and NYSPHSAA Scholar Athlete in baseball, basketball and golf. He was awarded the Buffalo News Honorable Mention All-WNY Scholar Athlete for golf as well as the Starpoint Male Scholar Athlete Award for basketball and golf over various years. Dell’Oso is the President of the National Honor Society, Vice President of the Student Council and is a member of the Math Honor Society. He is a volunteer coach for the Starpoint Youth Basketball Organization and has volunteered for various events including Light the Night for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Lock-In to Lock-Out Cancer and the JDRF Golf Tournament. In athletics, Dell’Oso is captain of the varsity baseball, basketball and golf teams. He plans to attend Niagara University to obtain an MBA and will be pitching for the Division I baseball team.
Lynnea Lemieux, Starpoint
Lemieux earned a 94.11 non-weighted average, Honor Roll recognition and is both a Spartan Scholar and Stellar Scholar. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Math Honor Society, Science Honor Society, SADD, Donate Life Club, Link Crew, Youth Activation Committee, Lock-In Committee, DIY Club and is her class historian. Lemieux has a been an active volunteer for Big Brother Big Sister, Diamond in the Ruff Animal Rescue, Pendleton Food Pantry, Sandlot Saints Travel Softball and is a unified basketball coach. In athletics, she is co-captain of the varsity soccer team and a member of the varsity basketball and softball teams as well as unified bowling. She plans to study biology and dental medicine in college to pursue her dream of becoming an orthodontist.
Patrick Seeley, Wilson
Seeley earned a 99.03 weighted average, High Honors recognition all semesters, an All-WNY Scholar Athlete Award and Wilson Academic Letter. He is a member of the National Honor Society, the National Academy of Finance, Niagara County 4-H; a volunteer with several organizations including St. Luke’s Mission, Wilson Fire Hall, Youngstown Food Pantry, Ronald McDonald and is a Youth Basketball Official. Athletically, Seeley is captain of the varsity golf team and is a three-time first team N-O league golfer, as well as a member of both the varsity baseball and basketball teams. Seeley plans to pursue a degree in finance with hopes to obtain a job in corporate finance or to run his own consulting firm.
Adrianna Frerichs, Wilson
Frerichs earned a 97.22 weighted average, High Honors recognition all semesters, an All-WNY Scholar Athlete Award, Wilson Academic Letter and Wilson Champion Award. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Captains Club, Athletic Office Helper and Niagara County 4-H. Frerichs volunteers with the American Red Cross and for several local community events such as the “Dig Pink” Breast Cancer Fundraiser, Niagara County Fair, Wilson Youth Football and is a Youth Girls Basketball referee. Athletically, Frerichs was named first-team all-league for basketball and softball and earned an MVP for volleyball and softball. She is captain of the varsity softball, travel softball and volleyball teams; she is also a member of the varsity basketball team. Frerichs plans to attend Houghton College where she will play softball and major in inclusive childhood education with an extension into middle school science.