The Erkis Berliner Scholar Athlete Award was the final presentation of the evening. Each May, the JCC honors area high school seniors with this award that was established in 1985 to honor local Jewish high school students who demonstrate outstanding academic and athletic success, sportsmanship, leadership, and participation in community service.
Endowed by the family of Don Erkis, the award for excellence in the classroom and on the field is given in memory of Don Erkis and Lou Berliner, both of whom were active sportsmen throughout their lives. To qualify for the Erkis/Berliner Jewish Scholar Athlete Award, applicants must be Jewish, and must plan to attend college upon graduation. Applicants must also reside in central Ohio, have a 3.0 or above G.P.A. after seven semesters, and have participated in a high school sport, club level sport, or another amateur sport.
This year, 15 highly-qualified Jewish high school seniors from Bexley, Columbus Academy, Columbus School for Girls, Columbus Torah Academy, Dublin Coffman, New Albany, and Worthington Kilbourne High Schools applied for the award.
Jewish Scholar Award winners for 2014, Maya Saar from Columbus School for Girls and Jake Tuckerman from Columbus Academy were announced as the 2014 recipients. They were each awarded an annual JCC membership, $50 gift certificate, and a free fitness evaluation by a JCC Personal Trainer.
Maya Saar participated in four years of high school swimming, receiving the MVP award her sophomore year. During her senior year, she was the Captain of the Swim Team, which won CCL’s, Sectional, and District championships. Maya swam year round on the JCC Dynamo Swim Team. She was a Student Council officer her senior year. She also writes for her school newspaper and is involved in a number of clubs, including the Jewish Cultural Club and Latin Club. Maya also volunteers at a local veterinary clinic. Maya will attend Brandeis University in the fall and will compete on their swim team.
While attending Columbus Academy, Jake was a member of the two-time DIII Ohio State Championship Track and Field team during his sophomore and junior years. He won State Individual titles in the 4x800m Relay in 20012 and the 4x400m Relay in 2013. He also earned All-State honors in the 800m Dash in 2013, as well as Academic All-Ohio in all of the above mentioned events. While representing the United States in Israel for the Macabbi Games, Jake earned Bronze medals in the 800m and 4x800m relay. In soccer, Jake was a 4-year varsity letter winner and the leading point and goal scorer on back-to-back District Championship teams in 2012 and 2013. He earned Suburban News Player of the Week and First Team All District honors. He served as Freshman and Sophomore Class president, and he currently serves as Student Body president. He has recently been inducted as a National Merit Finalist and a member of the Cum Laude Society, while also participating on The Service Board and in the Art Society. Jake will attend Columbia University where he will run on their track team.