Preceding Sunday's Colts game vs the Houston Texans, the 2015 Indiana High School Academic All-Stars presented by American Family Insurance were honored on the field of Lucas Oil Stadium. Standing in letterman jackets representing high school football programs throughout the state, 25 student-athletes were recognized as role models of both academic and athletic excellence by the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA), the Indiana Football Coaches Association (IFCA), the Indianapolis Colts, and American Family Insurance.
The honorees were selected through IFCA's polling of high school football coaches around the state; ultimately, the group compiled a list of 25 student-athletes who ranked in the top of their respective classes. As a group, they've reached an extraordinary level of academic accomplishment, with 20 individuals being valedictorians and 4 salutatorians.
The 25 student-athletes were invited to the Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday, where they participated in a full morning's worth of events, which honored them for their achievements both on and off the playing field. The celebration included a continental breakfast, an awards ceremony featuring remarks from Toby Jacobs, Chairman of the IFCA Colts Academic All-Stars committee, Bill Maynard, Sales Director for American Family Insurance and Mike Prior, Indianapolis Colts Youth Football Commissioner, as well as a pre-game field visit for the student-athletes.
Jacobs, the first to address the audience, explained the difficulty in choosing the recipients and thanked the coaches for their nominations and committee for their hard work during the selection process. Jacobs congratulated the team members on their academic successes but also challenged them to "be great as a student, son, or as a brother or friend."
25 student-athletes were recognized as role models of both academic and athletic excellence by the IHSAA, the Indiana Football Coaches Association, the Indianapolis Colts, and American Family Insurance.
Speaking on behalf of American Family Insurance, the WI-based insurance company dedicated to inspiring the dreams of local high school students, their families and communities, Maynard remarked, "On the field you've shown the determination and dedication that it takes to pursue a dream. You show us how valuable high school football can be because it shows us the best in you. But it goes beyond the locker room. You represent some of the finest, most well-rounded individuals both on and off the playing field. You live a life of intent and it's exciting to see that because no matter what your next dream is you have the right mind set to achieve it." He continued, "You have set an exceptional example for those who follow you…You remind us all to consider our own dreams once again. You are making the most of your opportunities and we can all learn from you."
Prior closed the event by offering advice for the student-athletes on moving forward into both college athletics and in life; Prior urged: "Keep your dreams alive." He continued, "It's about your perseverance and P.R.I.D.E…personal responsibility in daily effort."
Following the awards presentation, the student-athletes received on-field recognition during the pre-game ceremonies, and the All-Stars also assisted with opening and presenting the full-field American flag for the National Anthem. They then joined their families in the stands to watch the Colts battle the Texans.
2015 marks the 17th year the Colts, the IHSAA and the IFCA have partnered to present this annual award to Indiana's top football student-athletes.