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Falcons supported, awarded for excellence in the classroom on Monday

Senior Brandon Silva did not expect to be supported by an audience of the children he coaches when winning a high honor on Monday.

A few of the players at Silva’s surprise were there to support him as he was awarded the Male Falcon Medal of Honor award at the Athletics Honors Ceremony Monday night. Silva was one of the starting midfielders for the Falcons for four years.

The Male Medal of Honor award is one of the most prestigious awards given out by the athletic department. This award is given to a male and female athlete who has excelled in scholarship, athletics, leadership and service.

“It means a lot to me; I’ve always seen that award [Falcon Medal of Honor] as something prestigious,” Silva said. “I never thought that I would win it. It’s a great honor and I’m very happy to receive it.”

Silva wasn’t the only athlete to be awarded, as junior women’s basketball player Deborah Hoekstra was awarded the Junior Scholar-Athlete of the year award.

Silva, currently in the first year of the University’s two year Kinesiology graduate program has had a 4.0 GPA during his five years at the University.

Silva did not know that he was nominated for the award and was very surprised when it was announced that he was the winner.

He is an assistant coach for the Bowling Green Soccer Club and some of the kids from that team were there to support him on his award.

“It means a lot to have the parents and the kids support what I’m doing,” Silva said.

Silva was a big part of the men’s soccer team in his four years on the field. He was a three-time captain and was an Academic All-American his final season. Through his four years he missed one game and started in all 74 that he played in.

Brandon is thankful for all of the support he has gotten about the award and being a Falcon.

“It means a lot to have a lot of support from the community,” Silva said. “It means a lot to have the parents and the kids support what I’m doing.”

In front of her teammates and mother, Hoekstra received the Female Junior Scholar-Athlete of the year award.

“It’s tangible evidence of how hard I work in the classroom,” Hoekstra said. “It gives recognition to all I do outside of basketball.”

Outside of the basketball court Hoekstra is an Applied Health Science major who has kept a 4.0 GPA in her three years at the University.

This is another award that Hoekstra can add to her list of junior year accomplishments. Included in those accomplishments are a Mid-American regular season Championship, a 30-5 regular season record, a 16-1 record at the Stroh, an Elite Eight appearance in the WNIT, the most improved player award on her team, and the scholar athlete award for her team.

“I’ve been soaring pretty high these past couple weeks,” Hoekstra said. “It’s one of those things you don’t realize how good you have it … until you look back at it. I’m extremely blessed.”

To her, nothing can top the MAC Championship because it was a team effort and she “could not have asked for a better group of girls to win it with,” she said.

Among all of the accomplishments she has earned she ranks the Junior Scholar-Athlete award tied for second with the most improved award she received at the women’s basketball banquet on April 14.

“My teammates voted me the most improved, that’s huge to see where I have come from since my freshman and sophomore year,” she said. “Scholar athlete is something I have been working towards for the three years I have been here. It’s been countless hours studying, doing exams and homework.”

It may be hard to think someone could top the year she had, but with one year left she is in a position where she can improve upon it.

“I don’t know if I will be able to top all of the accomplishments I have this year but I will work my butt off to try,” Hoekstra said.

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