Caroline Schultz, a junior from Northeast High School in Anne Arundel County, was selected as a finalist for the U.S. Army-Pro Football Hall of Fame Award for Excellence March 10. The award goes through a nationwide process and receives hundreds of applications.
Schultz is one of 20 student-athletes who will be honored in Canton, Ohio, Aug. 8 during the NFL Hall of Fame ceremonies. The U.S. Army-Pro Football Hall of Fame Award for Excellence seeks to highlight student-athletes who excel academically, athletically and are positive role models in their communities.
"Caroline was chosen, because she met the criteria for excellence in athletics, academics and community service. She also wrote a superb essay defining excellence," George Veras, the executive vice president, chief revenue officer and executive producer for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, said in a statement.
At Northeast, Schultz is a member of the field hockey, lacrosse and unified bowling teams. She was inducted into the Northeast National Honor Society in May 2014, is in the Class of 2016 Scholars Program and is a junior class officer. She also sings in the school's vocal ensemble.
"I really didn't think much of it -- just another thing I would apply for with all the scholarships for colleges I have been applying to," Schultz said. "When I found out that I had been selected as a finalist, I thought it was a mistake. I didn't think I was going to get picked. I'm viewing it as a really great opportunity."
Schultz is also a member of the school's Human Performance Signature Program, a program that focuses on bettering its members' minds, bodies and souls.
"I really do strive to be better as an all-around person, whether if it is my physical, mental or spiritual self," Schultz said. "Doing the activities that go with the Human Performance Signature Program really does help me reach my accomplishments, because they help me focus better."
Schultz is active in different community service programs, including the Young Consumer's Program, Archdiocese of Baltimore High School Leadership Institute, St. Jane Frances High School Leadership, St. Jane Frances Summer Mission, Catholic Heart Work Camp and the DARE to Care Foundation.
"I do my community service mostly through my church. I don't think there is really any better feeling that you can get unless you are helping someone," Schultz said. "It is just a pure, genuine feeling that I am kind of addicted to."
U.S. Army high school recruiter Staff Sgt. Matthew Reardon brought the idea to Northeast to have a student apply for the award.
"Looking through the different potential candidates, what really stood out about Caroline was the giant contribution that she has made to her community, and the positivity that she brings to her local area," Reardon said.
"Finding out Caroline got selected was amazing. I was in a meeting and got a phone call from someone in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and I thought it was a joke at first. This is a huge nationwide process, and to think that someone from the town of Pasadena, Maryland, was chosen over the hundreds of other applicants is incredible."
Looking ahead to the summer, Schultz is excited about the prospect of going to Ohio for the ceremonies associated with the award and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"Meeting the other finalists will be an exciting thing to do," Schultz said. "I am curious to see what their backgrounds are and what their stories are. Just to see who wins overall and what their story is will be exciting."
Schultz is in the process of figuring out which college she would like to attend after graduating from Northeast.