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NFF honors six Chicago area student-athletes

Six Chicago area high school student-athletes were honored for their excellence on the football field, in the classroom and in the community during the National Football Foundation (NFF) Chicago Metro Chapter Awards on Monday, February 17 at Halas Hall in Lake Forest, IL. Jeff Joniak, the voice of the Chicago Bears, once again served as master of ceremonies for the event.

The 2014 recipients of the NFF Scholar-Athlete Award include Micah Coffey from Batavia High School, Collin Holte from St. Edward Catholic Central High School, and Mike Mercado from Hiawatha High School. The Chicago Bears Community Champion Award winners include Matt Hughes from Cary-Grove High School, Sam Oriatti fom Stevenson High School, and Richard Schoen from Fenwick High School. Each honoree received a partial college tuition scholarship for the 2014-15 school year, courtesy of a joint donation from the NFF and Bears Care, the charitable beneficiary of the Chicago Bears. Scholarship recipients are nominated by their high school football coach each November.

The NFF Chicago Metro Chapter started in 1966 and is one of the oldest Chapters in the Midwest. It is also one of the most charitable. Since 2006, $152,000 in college scholarships have been provided, ranking the Chicago chapter in the top 5% of all 121 Chapters in the country.

While event honored several student-athletes for their contributions on and off the football field, it also brought together college coaches, former players, and former NFF Scholar-Athlete Award winners. Bears alumni Brian Baschnagel and Keith VanHorne were in attendance, as well as several head college football coaches, including Pat Fitzgerald of Northwestern University, Rod Carey of Northern Illinois University, Tim Beckman of the University of Illinois, Brock Spack of Illinois State University, Jerry Kill of the University of Minnesota, and Mike Nesbitt of West Texas A & M University.

For more information about the National Football Foundation, please visit

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