04-22-22 - OHS Boys Varsity Lacrosse vs New Prague

The parents of Jake Anderson, along with current Orono men’s lacrosse coaches, special guests coach Noah Alexander from Jake’s 2013 championship team, and Nick Geiger and Austin Hilgenberg, friends and teammates of Jake, present the 2022 #60 Leadership Jersey to Sam Swearingen on behalf of the foundation they started to honor the memory of their son, Jake. Pictured from left: coach Brett Templin; coach Cory Childs, Lance Swearingen (Sam’s father), Bill Anderson; Sam Swearingen, Kristi Anderson, Jessica Swearingen (Sam’s mother), Nick Geiger; Austin Hilgenberg, and 2013 coach Noah Alexander. (Photos by Frank Landis)

After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the annual Orono Leadership Symposium is returning.

The 2022 Orono Leadership Symposium returns on Tuesday, May 17 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the Orono High School Gym.

The symposium is a partnership between Orono High School and the Jake Anderson “Give 60 for #60” Foundation.

This is the sixth year (not including 2020-2021) that the Give 60 for #60 Foundation has sponsored the Leadership Symposium as part of an initiative designed to teach, motivate, and inspire students with the core values that have become a part of the legacy of Jake Anderson, an Orono student athlete. The guidelines mirror the Orono Pillars of Character.

The Foundation was created to honor the memory of Anderson, a 2013 graduate of Orono High School who died in 2013.

“It feels incredibly rewarding to be able to bring the symposium back to Orono High School,” Kristi Anderson, Jake’s mom, said. “We stay in touch with many of the kids at the high school through friends, neighbors, and athletes we touch. Since announcing its return, we’ve received a handful of notes from past student scholarship recipients, including one from Seamus Hendrickson, last years Jake Anderson Legacy Scholarship, who sent me a heartfelt note stating ‘Now more than ever, after 2 years of isolation & fear, there needs to be a moment where kids are able to realize the significance of it, how they coped, how to make friends again, and regain motivation.’ These are real challenges for our kids and students across the country and we are honored and humbled to do our small part in Jake’s name to bring them inspirational speakers to fill them up and help them rekindle their passions.”

This year’s keynote speaker is Keith Hawkins, a nationally known motivational speaker, leadership consultant, and kindness advocate who believes everyone needs something to do, something to hope for, and something to love.

“Keith Hawkins will spend time with the kids ,talking with them about ‘Giving What They Need’ to others to fuel and fill their tanks,” Anderson said. “This is about the third time we’ve had Keith join us at Orono and he never disappoints. His message around kindness, leadership, and being a good human - no, being ‘Better Than Good’ - is a message we all need reminding of often.”

In addition to the Leadership Symposium, every year the Give 60 for #60 Foundation awards two Orono lacrosse players the ‘#60 Leadership Jersey Award.’ This years recipients are Isabel “Izzy’ Holzschuh, a senior on the Orono women’s varsity lacrosse team, and Sam Swearingen, a senior on the Orono men’s varsity lacrosse team.

“The #60 Award is so meaningful because it comes from the recipients’ teammates and coaches,” Anderson said. “As a living monument for what Jake stood for with leadership, servitude, kindness, and sportsmanship. These role models are at the top of their game, both on and off the field. We are proud to stand on the field with them to recognize them for being a good human. It feels like we don’t always give enough positive recognition of our youth, it takes a village.”

Jake Anderson was a varsity lacrosse goalie for the Orono Spartans and wore jersey #60. Jake was the first player to receive the team leadership award when he was on the team, and rather than retiring his jersey, team coaches decided to carry on the tradition as the #60 Award, knowing Jake would have preferred to share that distinction with other players. The #60 jerseys have been pulled from the Orono lineup and reserved as the highest honor awarded to a varsity member of the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams.

“It’s always a difficult task each year to single out just two players, because so many athletes on the Orono teams embody the ideals this award represents,” Anderson said. She, along with her husband Bill, started the foundation as a way to encourage student athletes to embrace these values and keep the memory of their son alive, said.

“Izzy and Sam are standouts among their teammates and peers, and each displays the kind of leadership, cooperation and ambition on the field that Jake did,” said Bill Anderson.

“Now more than ever, it seems these positive affirmations and recognition could have an even greater impact,” Kristi Anderson said. “Today’s high school students need a different kind of support after living through a global pandemic and other crises. We are proud and humbled to recognizing these two student athletes who mirror the Pillars of Character so firmly rooted in the ethos of the Orono School District.”

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