LLScholarshipWinners_2021.jpg

South Williamsport, Pa. -- For nearly 30 years, Little League® International has honored the memory of its founder through the Carl E. Stotz Little League Baseball Scholarship, awarding outstanding high school seniors in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, with financial assistance to support the pursuit of their higher education.

While the traditional in-person recognition was canceled for the second year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Little League is proud to recognize the achievement of 15 Lycoming County High School Seniors, awarding each student with $750 for a total of $11,250 in scholarship funds.

Beginning this year, Little League International expanded the Scholarship program to allow for a male and female student from each of Lycoming County’s nine high schools to submit applications, which are then reviewed by an internal panel. Since the program launched in 1994, Little League has awarded $226,850 to 237 students, including this year’s honorees.

“For nearly three decades, Little League International has been able to help recognize its local high school seniors for their academic knowledge, leadership qualities, and commitment to further education,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO.

“While the past year and a half has put many programs on hold, we are proud to be able to continue this offering and help the future generations as they continue their education," Keener continued. "On behalf of everyone at Little League International, we congratulate these 15 incredible students and wish them well as they continue their next step in their academic journey.”

Below are each of the 15 recipients of the 2021 Carl E. Stotz Little League Baseball Scholarships, along with an excerpt from their application essay on “Why Little League has become so valued in communities around the world:”

Lydia Barbour – Montoursville Area High School

Named Vice President of both the National Honor Society and the National Spanish Honor Society, Ms. Barbour also served as a member of both the English and Science National Honor Societies and the Rho Kappa/Social Studies Honor Society. Along with her academic success, Ms. Barbour was also a four-year varsity tennis player, serving as captain her senior year while being named three-time District Doubles Champion and a three-time state qualifier. Ms. Barbour will be attending Misericordia University in the fall as a member of the tennis team.

“Little League has become a staple in many communities because of the positive impact it has had on the children in their communities. Little League has not only taught kids how to hit home runs, but also how to go out into the world as outstanding human beings.”

Dylan Bennett – Montoursville Area High School

A District 4 All-Academic First Team honoree in both wrestling and football, Mr. Bennett has seen success both academically and athletically during his high school career. As a wrestler, Mr. Bennett was a four-time District 4 Champion and three-time Northeast Regional Champion, and on the gridiron was named a two-time District 4 Champion, PHAC All-Star, and 2020 First Team All-State Outside Linebacker. Academically, he was a member of both the National Honor Society and Science National Honor Society. Mr. Bennett will be attending the University of Pittsburgh in the fall.

“Little League teaches kids how to be respectful and exhibit sportsmanship. Reciting the Little League pledge is a perfect example. Also, shaking hands after each game teaches good sportsmanship, something you don’t see at higher levels of baseball and softball.”

Cale Blakely – Jersey Shore Area High School

During his four years at Jersey Shore Area Senior High School, Mr. Blakely was heavily involved with a variety of the school’s band, choir, and theater programs, while also sharing his talents with a number of local theaters throughout the Lycoming County community. In addition to his extracurricular talents, Mr. Blakely also displayed his professional and academic skills as a four-year member of the Future Business Leaders of America, while also earning first place at the Computer Solving Problems Regionals and second place at the Introduction to Financial Math Regionals. Mr. Blakely will be attending Penn State University in the fall.

“Although my personal participation within the [Little League] program was a short one, lasting mostly through a couple of my younger years in Elementary and Middle School, the effect upon my personal character and the connections I have made have never gone away.”

Michael Fisher – Williamsport Area High School

Top-ranked in his class academically, Mr. Fisher has also produced a significant resume away from the classroom as a musician, taking stage at Carnegie Hall in New York City, spotlighting as a soloist with the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra, and even performing the National Anthem for the Williamsport Crosscutters. In addition to his academic and musical skills, Mr. Fisher also was a member of the varsity Track and Field and Cross Country teams and was a part of the Youth Development Task Force and Students Against Destructive Decisions. Mr. Fisher will be attending the New England Conservatory of Music in the fall.

“You cannot understand the world or life without understanding every perspective surrounding it. Little League, even in my elementary school years, gifted me the opportunity to see that different cultures are not a reason to separate, but rather an opportunity to unite and learn.”

Cecilia Fink – Williamsport Area High School

The Chair of Marketing for the Youth Development Task Force and a member of the National Honor Society, Ms. Fink ranks in the top five of her class and was named the recipient of Young Wise Woman of the Year by the YWCA. Outside of her academic work, Ms. Fink runs her own jewelry business, is a member of the school’s Sinfonietta Orchestra, and participated on the Swim, Track and Field, and Cross Country teams. Ms. Fink will be attending the University of Pittsburgh in the fall.

“[Playing Little League], we learn the value of our team and that everyone plays an important role. This is how we learn to be happy for our teammates and how Little League shapes kids’ focus from ‘I’ to ‘we.’ This is what develops the kids of today into the adults of tomorrow. And for any kid who played Little League, they know the value of ‘we.’”

Zachery Gottshall – Hughesville Junior/Senior High School

Named an East Lycoming Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Student, a Superior Delegate for the Mock Constitutional Convention, and a member of the National Honor Society, Mr. Gottshall has proven his academic success both in and out of the classroom. In addition, Mr. Gottshall was also a member of the high school Jazz Band, Marching Band, and Concert Band as well as a variety of high school clubs. Mr. Gottshall will be attending Brown University in the fall.

“As culture continues to shift toward electronic devices, baseball helps students build important face-to-face social skills and develop habits of respectful competition. It encourages physical activity in contrast to the virtual activity that students are becoming accustomed to and inspires perseverance to meet an increasingly demanding world. One thing is clear: If the need for Zoom isn’t going anywhere after the pandemic, neither is the need for Little League.”

Cassandra Gee – Loyalsock Township High School

A five-time District Champion combined between her time on the varsity golf, basketball, and softball teams, Ms. Gee’s high school success was found both in and out of the classroom. In addition to her athletic success, Ms. Gee was also named the 2021 Loyalsock Township Student of the Year, 2021 Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen Award, a two-time member of the National Business Honor Society, and Class President. Ms. Gee will be attending the University of Notre Dame in the fall.

“As technology continues to take over the world, the importance of Little League and its emphasis on teamwork is even greater. Interactions may be virtual, but teamwork will always be real and palpable. Little League provides that opportunity for children.”

Cierra Getz - Hughesville Junior/Senior High School

Throughout her high-school career, Ms. Getz was a three-sport athlete on the soccer, basketball, and track and field teams while also playing as a member of the volleyball club. In addition to her athletic success, Ms. Getz was also a member of multiple AP Clubs, National Honor Society, Student Against Destructive Decisions, Model UN, Future Business Leaders of America, Constitutional Convention, and a three-time Class President. Ms. Getz will be attending Susquehanna University in the fall.

“I feel that Little League is essential to the childhood experience because it is a safe outlet for kids to truly have fun, while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Personally, I feel that young athletes should be able to step onto the field and forget about any problems in their life. The Little League organization has made this possible for kids not only in the United States, but all around the world.”

Joseph Khateri – South Williamsport Area Junior/Senior High School

Serving as President of the Future Business Leaders of America, High School Class Vice President, and the Treasurer of the Foreign Language Club, Mr. Khateri has been involved in every aspect of his high school career, both academically and away from the classroom. In addition to his educational advancements, Mr. Khateri also helped to take over his family’s business over the past two years, balancing his personal, academic, and professional life along the way. Mr. Khateri will be attending Germanna College in the fall with hopes of attending James Madison University in the future.

“Moving forward, kids will love Little League not only for its competitiveness and overall fun, but also because of how a pillar of kids’ youth has returned. It is one of the symbols to the youth of the world that life may be getting back to normal, and to enjoy every bit of it in the present and future.”

Paige Kistner - South Williamsport Area Junior/Senior High School

A two-time member of the National Honor Society, as well as the Class Fundraiser Chairman for the Class of 2021, Ms. Kistner was heavily involved with the planning and success of her high school class. In addition to playing three years of high school tennis, as well as dancing since she was in Kindergarten, Ms. Kistner also volunteered at the Little League Baseball World Series to help raise money for a local non-profit foster care and adoption agency. Ms. Kistner will be attending Saint Francis University in the fall.

“For as long as I can remember, my brother, Kaiser, participated in Little League. He did not just play for fun or to make friends, which are some of the greatest aspects of the program, but to improve himself and share the love of the sport. It is not just a sports program that can teach kids to throw, hit, and catch a ball, but rather to enhance what it means to be a good citizen, person, and player.”

Juliana Kriner – St. John Neumann Regional Academy

A four-sport athlete, as well as the President of the Student Council, Key Club, and Spirit Club, Ms. Kriner has proven her leadership skills both in the classroom and in her extracurricular activities. In addition to these activities, Ms. Kriner is also the recipient of the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Award, a Junior Rotarian recipient, a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Central PA Student of the Year nominee, and a Pennsylvania College of Technology Youth Leadership participant. Ms. Kriner will be attending Point Park University in the fall.

“The basis that Little League gave me, and continues to give millions of children, is that every single person is important. It teaches children that in order to be successful and unite for a common goal, everyone’s participation and teamwork is required. Children who participate in team sports and activities form a bond with others in that group. It provides a sense of trust in others and lets them rely on each other.”

Madison Maihle – Jersey Shore Area High School

A four-year member of the Future Business Leaders of America, Ms. Maihle was also named a member of the National English Honor Society, as well as the National Spanish Honor Society, where she served as Vice President. Along with her academic success, Ms. Maihle was also the captain of both the varsity soccer team and the North Union United Club Soccer team, a member of the track and field team, and earned a fourth-place finish in Health Care Administration at the 2019-20 Region 7 Leadership Conference. Ms. Maihle will be attending Lycoming College in the fall.

“All in all, children depend on the Little League program for competition, reward, and work ethic. Learning these skill sets is what will carry these children through everyday experiences. The desire and determination it takes to make it to the Little League World Series cannot be taught through any other youth sports program in the world.”

Kennedy Marsh – Montgomery Area Junior/Senior High School

A member of student council since she was in seventh grade, as well as a three-time National Honor Society member and two-time member of the Future Business Leaders of America, where she earned first place in Organizational Leadership at the Region 7 competition, Ms. Marsh has been involved with her class activities from a young age. In addition to her academic success, Ms. Marsh also was a member of the swim, cross country, and track and field teams, earning various district, state and Junior Olympic awards in each. Ms. Marsh will be attending Lycoming College in the fall.

“What is unique to Little League is its impact on those outside of the sport as well. For me, although I was not a player, the Little League World Series introduced me to a world of cultures and broadened my horizons in a very meaningful way.”

Rory Oden – Muncy Junior/Senior High School

A four-year member of the varsity softball and tennis team, where she served as team captain in both sports, Ms. Oden was also a member of the Future Business Leaders of America, founding member of the Doing Good in the Neighborhood community service project, two-time President of the National Honor Society, officer on the speech and debate team, and a participant in the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Seminar. Along with her own personal success, Ms. Oden also served as a tutor for a second grader and an eighth grader. Ms. Oden will be attending Carnegie Mellon University in the fall.

“In all of our futures, there will be times where we may not agree with our coworkers or bosses, and we must remember the teamwork and compromise that we learned starting in Little League. We must allow the pitcher to pitch, and the catcher to catch, and face whatever ball comes at us together as a team.”

Kelly Showers – Montgomery Area Junior/Senior High School

The top-ranked student in his class, Mr. Showers served as a three-time member of the Future Business Leaders of America, held roles of Class President and Class Vice President, and was elected CEO of his group’s company during Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week. In addition to his academic prowess, Mr. Showers also participated in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Youth Leadership Program, was named Montgomery Area Junior/Senior High School Senior of the Year, and was selected for the College Board National Rural and Small Town Recognition Program. Mr. Showers will be attending Rochester Institute of Technology in the fall.

“Overall, Little League grants children amazing opportunities that not only provide them with skills, and a new perspective, but also give them lifelong memories to look back on.”

About the Carl E. Stotz Little League Baseball® Scholarship

The scholarships perpetuate the memory of Little League’s founder, Carl E. Stotz, recognizing his commitment to the development of youth in Lycoming County. The year following his passing, in 1993, the Little League International Board of Directors established this scholarship program to recognize Mr. Stotz’s commitment to the local, Lycoming County community, and commemorate his vision in creating a community-based organization to provide a competitive, healthy outlet for children to learn the values of teamwork, dedication, and sportsmanship.

The Stotz Scholarship recognizes high school seniors from Lycoming County school districts who excel in academics and citizenship. In order to be considered, a graduating senior must be in the top 25% of their class at one of the nine Lycoming County high schools.

In addition to academics, the applications are reviewed on merits of good citizenship and whose spirit exemplifies effort, determination, and persistence in attaining the goal of higher education.

Each interested senior submits two letters of recommendation and an essay on why Little League Baseball and Softball become so valued in communities around the world. Applications for the scholarship are generally accepted between December and March and are awarded based on the applications received.


Support our journalism

Our content is free, but our journalists work hard. 100% of your contribution to NorthcentralPa.com goes directly toward helping us cover the important news and events in our region. Thank you for saying that local news matters!