Hampton High School junior Jordan Busshaus is a serious student, according to her basketball coach, Mary Bukovac. And that is something a coach doesn't always notice, Ms. Bukovac said.
"You might not think a coach notices how much a student studies," she said, "But [Jordan] will be studying on the bus when we are traveling or on the bleachers while she is waiting for practice."
Others have also noticed Jordan's study habits, which have paid off for Jordan, who has a 4.5 grade-point average. Jordan recently was honored with the Patience Blayden Spirit of Sport Award from Chatham University.
Amanda Leff Ritchie, senior public relations specialist at Chatham, said the award is based on academics, athletics, competitive spirit, sportswomanship, community service and integrity.
"The award is named in honor of a former Chatham athletic director who dedicated 34 years to achieving greater awareness and recognition of women's collegiate athletics," Ms. Ritchie said.
This is the 18th year that Chatham has honored local female high school and college athletes who make positive contributions in the classroom, on the playing field and in the community.
Jordan won the award in the high school junior category. She's a starting forward on the girls basketball team at Hampton. Ms. Bukovac said Jordan will be a two-year letter winner at the end of this season.
"She is a great part of our team -- this team is so supportive of each other and that is part of their success. Jordan is a key component of this, but it is also her efforts off the court that make her special," she said.
Jordan also is on the high school dance team and participates in competitive dance. But the work that Ms. Bukovac refers to is her volunteer work at HealthSouth Rehabilitation in Harmarville and Paws for the Cure, with the Susan B. Komen Foundation. Jordan also sings in her church choir and participates in the Future Business Leaders of America, Rotary Interact Club and Student Council.
Jordan is shy on mentioning her accomplishments, and was surprised when she was selected as the recipient of the honor.
"There were so many other girls with so many accomplishments, honestly, I didn't think it would be me," she said.
Jordan said she enjoys her work at both HealthSouth and Paws for a Cure. For the past three years, she and her dog, Maxx, have participated in the Paws event.
"It's really fun -- it isn't like it is a big deal," she said.
The award is important for female athletes, said Jordan, to demonstrate just how far women have come in sports.
"It used to be that women weren't considered athletes. This shows that we are athletes and that we should be taken seriously as athletes," she said.
Although she was surprised when they announced her name, Jordan is proud of her award.
"It is such a big honor to represent girls who play sports all over the country. I love basketball and it is wonderful to be part of my team, and honored for that," she said.neigh_north
Kathleen Ganster, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.