Each year student-athletes from El Dorado, Union Mine and Ponderosa high schools are selected to receive the Tyler Flynn Memorial Scholarship, awarded for heart, intergrity and mastery in athletics.
Funds are raised, mainly through the annual Tyler Flynn Ò44 ForeverÓ golf tournament, and distributed in FlynnÕs honor. The three-sport star at El Dorado in the 1990s lost his life in an automobile accident shortly after his graduation.
This yearÕs athletes include PonderosaÕs Sara Orofino, Union MineÕs Matt De Rosa and Matt Winterer of El Dorado.
Orofino, who graduated with a 4.02 grade-point average, plans to study marine biology with an emphasis in environmental biology at Oregon State University this fall. She ran cross county and varsity track for three years, and played four years of basketball, two on the varsity team.
The track and field MVP in 2008 and 2009 was a team captain and ran a leg of the 4-by-400 relay team that set a new school record in 2009. She and her teammates qualified for the CIF State Cross Country meet in 2006, 2007 and 2008, winning the Sierra Valley Conference and Sac-Joaquin Section championships in 2006-07.
ÒSara is driven, motivated and hard working,Ó said Robert Ralph, a Ponderosa physical education teacher and track coach.
She was a member of the Ponderosa Key Club for three years, compiled 50 hours of community service, was a member of PonderosaÕs Califorinia Scholarship Federation and is actively involved in her church youth group, restoring an orphanage in Mexico, and participating in the Relay for Life, which raises money for cancer research.
Orofino teaches ChildrenÕs Ligurgy of the Word every Sunday to kindergarten through second graders. She also was a volunteer student mentor for students with disabilities.
ÒSara has a vibrant personality that draws people to trust and respect her,Ó guidance counselor Patty Schrichfield said. ÒShe was selected as team captain of her track and basketball teams because her coaches and teammates know she is a role model. She is a terrific all-around young woman.Ó
OrofinoÕs goal is to Òmake a difference. I want my life to mean something and have a purpose.Ó
A rare three-sport star, Matt Winterer excelled in soccer, basketball and track in his years as a Cougar, all while maintaining a 3.74 GPA.
Winterer was an all Pioneer Valley League selection in soccer as a sophomore, and was the track teamÕs MVP.
In his junior year Winterer made the all league soccer team, and was an MVP in track and basketball. He was the soccer MVP in his senior year and made the all league track and basketball teams. He holds the school record in the high jump after clearing 6-feet-7 this year during a meet.
ÒMatt is a quiet but worthy leader. He gains respect by his personal qualities more than his athletic skills,Ó said soccer assistant coach Gail Healy. ÒHe has a very steady temperment and demeanor that is respected by friends, teammates, teachers and coaches.Ó
Winterer will attend the University of Portland to study biology and continue on to graduate school with the final goal of becoming a veterinarian.
ÒI realize that my favorite subject is science,Ó Winterer said. ÒBecause of my love of science and animals, a veterinarian sounds like the perfect job for me.Ó
Winterer volunteered his time at basketball camps for young players and worked as a scorekeeper and gym supervisor for the Placerville Parks and Recreation Department for three years.
Ò… Matt is one of my favorite people at El Dorado,Ó science department chair John Simpkin said. ÒHe has a positive and pleasant personality with an understated and enjoyable sense of humor. He is an unusually capable and hard-working student and a very talented athlete.Ó
Lewis and Clark University in Oregon is the choice of Union MineÕs Matt DeRosa, a two-sport star in football and track and field who graduated with a 4.09 GPA.
DeRosa earned his first varsity football letter in his sophomore year, and was named a football scholar-athlete in his junior season for carrying the highest GPA on the team. He was a captain on the Diamondback track and field team as a junior and made the All Sierra Valley Conference team in football as a senior.
DeRosa, a starting lineman and center on the gridiron, was a discus thrower and shot putter in the spring. He qualified in both disciplines for the Sac-Joaquin Masters track meet in his senior year.
DeRosa plans to pursue a career as a history and social studies teacher and would like to coach football and track and field. He hopes to earn a masters degree in business administration. HeÕs studied the life of Andrew Carnegie and would like to pattern his life after Carnegie, who gave back to those who wanted to learn.
ÒMy dreams are simple,Ó DeRosa said. ÒI want AmericaÕs youth to not only get outstanding educations, but I hope to teach them how to grow up and be respectful citizens.Ó
DeRosa dedicated much of his free time to the Jr. Rattlers football program as an offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. He coached the offensive line in the ShrinerÕs All Star game in 2009 and helped train athletes for the Special Olympics in 2008.
He attended California BoysÕ State in June of 2009, was a member of the National Honors Society for three years, and the California Scholastic Federation from sixth grade through his senior year of high school.
Union Mine Principal Tony DeVille said, ÒI hired Matt to serve as a tutor for our one week Academic Intersession Program … I observed Matt first hand in his role and was extremely pleased.
ÒHe showed up to his assignment early and stayed until his studentsÕ needs were met for the day. He exhibited patience and care with his students, many of whom had already had an unpleasant experience.Ó
Social studies teacher Stephanie Munz told about DeRosaÕs work with the National Honors Society. ÒHis self-initiative, maturity and drive have made him successful academically and as a campus leader. He is an asset to our community.Ó