Senior Alex Rurik honored at Student Athlete Award ceremony
Throughout the year, individual student athletes stand out on the field, court, and track. Through scholarships and ceremonies, the Fresno B’nai B’rith Student Athlete Award Program seeks to honor the accomplishments of outstanding senior athletes. For the 68th annual ceremony, senior Alex Rurik was nominated from Fresno Christian for his athletic skills and academic excellence, May 20.
Founded in New York in 1843, B’nai B’rith was originally established to create a society that integrated all Jewish immigrants into American life. Since its origination, B’nai B’rith has spread throughout the world, with representation in over 40 countries. The program works to “unite in the work of promoting the highest interests of humanity and the Jews: of developing and elevating the mental and moral character of our people…”.
In 1951, members of the B’nai B’rith Fresno Chapter contrived the Annual Student Athlete Award to commemorate student athletes and their families for their pursuit of athletic achievement and academic success. The event is open to all high schools that enroll in the Fresno zip code, with one nominee from each campus. With 16 nominees for 2019, Brock Jones of Buchanan High School was the overall winner, earning a $2500 scholarship.
Maintaining a 4.17 GPA and playing both baseball and football, Jones plans to attend Stanford University in the fall on scholarship for both sports. Majoring in management of science and engineering, Jones anticipates being drafted into the MLB and using those funds to open a car business with his father.
“When you are juggling a lot of different things between sports, academics, and a social life, things can get very stressful,” Jones said. “Despite the stress and the busy days I would not have wanted it to go any other way. Helping others has always been a huge part of my life and I genuinely enjoy being around special needs students and youth who don’t have it as easy as most of us. I don’t know what it is about either of those groups, but they bring out the best in me and put a smile on my face that no game nor grade can.
“I really look forward to this next step of my life,” Jones continued. “Becoming a collegiate athlete has always been a dream of mine and now that the time is here I can finally say that I reached a huge stepping stone in my life. I hope that during my time at Stanford I will have a huge impact on the football team, baseball team, and in the Palo Alto community as well.”
Each finalist is evaluated 65% on athletic ability, 25% on scholastic achievement and 10% on school/community involvement. Rurik, three-time soccer Captain and three year varsity tennis letter winner, was grateful to represent FC and thanks his coaches and family for their support.
“The entire B’nai B’rith experience was absolutely incredible,” Rurik said. “It was great to meet some of the other athletes and cool to see how humble a lot of them were. Seeing the accomplishments of everyone else nominated, I was stoked to be a part of that elite group. It was a pleasure to sit with the other nominees and a big congratulations to Brock for winning; a great guy and well deserved.”
In the following tweet, Alex Rurik is honored at the B’nai B’rith awards ceremony, May 20.
Congratulations @alexrurik23. We look forward to hearing about your next successes. Also cheers to @brockjones1459. This is a wonderful honor for all 16 #Fresno @BnaiBrith finalists. #thefeather https://t.co/hHAL0Fcw46
— The Feather Online (@thefeather) May 21, 2019
Campus athletic director Jon Penberthy nominated Rurik for the award. Recognizing his athletic and academic achievements, Penberthy appreciates the dedication Rurik brings to the FC community.
“Alex Rurik was a great candidate to represent Fresno Christian for the B’nai B’rith award,” Penberthy said. “Alex won a Central Section Championship in tennis, was MVP of the WSL as a junior and senior, had multiple soccer awards and played varsity soccer all 4 years. His off-campus contributions were off the charts all while maintaining a GPA well over 4.0.”
Originally representing four high schools, the event now honors participants from 16 high schools in Fresno County. Each nominee receives a $500 scholarship and the overall winner accepts a $2500 scholarship to be used toward further education.
ESPN Radio announcer Paul Loeffler attended the ceremony and presented an award to Clovis North senior Ben Forbes. Inspired by the obstacles the students have overcome, Loeffler attends the event as a reminder of Fresno’s future leaders.
“The nominees for the B’nai B’rith Student Athlete Scholarship truly are the best and the brightest in Fresno and Clovis,” Loeffler said. “It’s a challenge to try to grasp everything these young men and women have accomplished, not just in their respective sports, but in their academic pursuits as well. This event is an annual reminder that our community is producing future leaders who have the ability and creativity to tackle the challenges ahead.”
As the Master of Ceremonies for the banquet and member of the B’nai B’rith Student Athlete Award Committee, Steve Negin strives to honor not only athletic abilities, but the student as a whole. As athletes move on to the next chapter of their lives, he hopes that they would give back to the communities that they started in.
“We are trying to honor some of the best and brightest in our metropolitan community and we want them to go on and pursue their dreams,” Negin said. “I would hope that they would pay it forward and become the best that it can be. There were a lot of people who contributed to their success and I hope that they would contribute to the next generation as well.”
Since 1952, the B’nai B’rith organization has commemorated over 800 students who have gone on to various professions. The awards ceremony stands to recognize student athletes and remind the community of their future leaders.
For more articles, read 19th annual Central Valley Honor Flight honors 68 veterans and Senior Reflection: Sam Cross.@thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline.
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