Bianca Borda, a member of the softball team at Paint Branch High School in Montgomery County, was named the U.S. Army Impact Player of the Month for April.
Borda, a senior, also plays volleyball and basketball for the Panthers. She was nominated for the award by Paint Branch's softball coach Cari Huffman, who referred to Borda as a model student-athlete in her nomination email.
"This young lady is unmatched by her peers in her commitment to academics and athletics," Borda wrote. "A three-season athlete, Bianca balances school, sports, and taking on leadership roles within the National Honor Society and Best Buddies organization."
Borda found out she won the award before one of Paint Branch's games. Huffman lined her team up and made a speech over a loudspeaker talking about the qualities of the individual who was being recognized before announcing that it was Borda.
"When she said it was me I was so shocked. I didn't know I had been nominated and really appreciated it," Borda said. "It's something not many people win, and something Paint Branch hasn't won before. I still feel really honored because I know winning an award like this does not happen often."
Borda plays first base and patrols the outfield for Paint Branch. Her best defensive effort came against perennial powerhouse Sherwood April 26, when she recorded five putouts in Paint Branch's large center field.
At the plate, Borda was referred to as a short-game executor for the Panthers because of her tremendous speed. Mostly a singles hitter, Borda was still able to crack a double against Springbrook March 21.
Borda is a two-time captain for the Panthers. She admits she was surprised to become a captain her junior year but relished the idea of getting to be a leader for her team for multiple seasons.
"I like to lead simply because I don't want to look back on a situation and have regret about not saying something," Borda said. "Being a captain is about having that moment when you can tell one of your teammates needs help getting motivated, whether if that's encouraging words or just a hug. I love that responsibility."
That enthusiasm to lead is something her teammates appreciate.
Chelsea Macatangay has been a teammate of Borda's since she was 8 years old. The two have competed on the softball diamond and on the volleyball court together at Paint Branch. To Macatangay, what sets Borda apart from others are her intangibles.
"Her determination, drive and high energy is what makes her the amazing athlete she is. She's not afraid to be a leader and always sets an example to her teammates," Macatangay said. "From playing volleyball to softball with her, Bianca has grown in confidence. Even throughout all the sports she still manages to have strong grades and tremendous courage. I know that along the way she will continue to succeed and strive in potential."
In addition to playing sports and maintaining a high GPA, Borda is also heavily involved with Paint Branch's chapter of the Best Buddies organization. The global organization focuses on pairing students with mental and physical disabilities with other students within a school, with the aim of ensuring that every student at the school will have at least one friend.
Borda has become a familiar figure within the organization at Paint Branch, and her contributions have been widespread.
"Bianca Borda's supportiveness and reliability as my friend carries on into her work in leadership positions," the club's student president, Samantha Dao, said. "As my dedicated Best Buddies officer, she is always looking for ways to help out and does everything with great enthusiasm. She's a pleasure to work with."
Borda has been accepted to and will attend Schreyer Honors College at Penn State University next fall. She plans to study electrical engineering.
Issue 233: May 2017