Two students from the Liberty Union High School District were awarded this year's prestigious Contra Costa County National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Scholar Athlete Award. Freedom High School senior Ryan Rodriguez was selected for outstanding back, and senior Chris Leyen from Liberty High School was selected for outstanding lineman.
The criteria for the award included outstanding academic application and performance, exemplary school leadership and citizenship, and superior football performance.
Rodriguez earned an overall 3.9 GPA, was on the Principal's Honor Roll throughout high school, and has been honored as an NCS Scholar Athlete.
He was named BVAL's Most Valuable Player on offense, first-team All-BVAL quarterback, and second-team All-BVAL defensive back. Rodriguez has broken every quarterback record in the Freedom Football program, was Freedom's 2008 varsity team captain and voted the school's Most Valuable Player for 2008.
Ryan's accomplishments this season on and off the field are a direct reflection of his drive and will to succeed at anything he does, said Freedom coach Kevin Hartwig. It has been my pleasure to watch Ryan go from Freedom's ball boy to one of Freedom's most accomplished student athletes.
Rodriguez's proud parents are La Paloma Principal Larry Rodriguez and Freedom High School vocational education instructor Elizabeth Rodriguez.
Liberty's Leyen earned a 4.04 GPA throughout his high school career and ranks second in his Class of 2009. The son of Liberty dance teacher Shannon Leyen, Leyen has received many academic and athletic awards at Liberty, from Principal's Honor Roll every term to Most Improved and Most Inspirational Student awards. His athletic prowess extends beyond the football field to wrestling, swimming and track.
Leyen was highly recommended by Liberty coach Nate Smith, who wrote in the application, In all my years, I have not had a student-athlete whom I would recommend for anything that would rank above Chris Leyen. He is truly an outstanding individual in everything that he sets him mind to achieve.
The two will be honored at a banquet on Feb. 19, 2009, held at the San Francisco Airport Marriott, where each will receive a $1,000 scholarship to his school of choice. After graduation, Rodriguez plans to study communications at UC Davis or Cal Poly SLO, and Leyen plans to study business and engineering at Stanford University.
Contributed by Sarah Singrin