Clovis High School senior Graham Hauss praised his fellow nominees as he accepted the 2017 B’nai B’rith Student Athlete Award on May 15.
“I’m truly inspired by every one of you,” he said in a brief speech after winning the prestigious award.
Hauss then said he was “completely honored and humbled” and spoke of his faith.
“I have an amazing God who has gifted me with amazing talents, and I am so proud that I get to serve as one of his athletes,” he said.
The B’nai B’rith award was presented at a dinner in Clovis Veterans Memorial District. Several hundred people attended the annual event.
Hauss’ athletics talents are in the pool, where he has competed in water polo and swimming for the Cougars. He will receive a $2,500 scholarship as the winner.
Hauss is the fourth Clovis High student in a row to win the B’nai B’rith award. Nicholas Nevills won in 2014, and Adam Prentice won in 2015. Last year’s winner was Cassidy Crouch.
The Fresno chapter of B’nai B’rith, a Jewish service organization, has presented the award since 1952. In the beginning, nominees came from four high schools.
This year, 16 high schools in the Fresno-Clovis area each nominated a student. The other nominees from the Clovis Unified School District were:
▪ Mia Castillo from Clovis East High School — tennis, soccer, badminton, and track and field.
▪ Danae Marquez from Clovis West High School — basketball.
▪ Kyle McKenney from Buchanan High School — water polo and baseball.
▪ Brooke Tjerrild from Clovis North High School — gymnastics and track and field.
They and the other nominees will each receive a $500 scholarship.
Each nominee is evaluated on athletic ability (65 percent), scholastic ability (25 percent) and community activities (10 percent).
On the Clovis High swimming team, Hauss is a seven-time champion in the Tri-River Athletic Conference, a six-time champion in the CIF Central Section and a three-time state champion.
He’s also received All-American recognition. The Fresno Bee has twice named him an All-Star, and Clovis High has twice named him team captain and most valuable swimmer. In addition, he has lettered in both swimming and water polo.
In the classroom, Hauss has achieved a 4.48 grade point average, and he plans to study business communication at Arizona State University.
He is a life member of the California Scholarship Federation and the National Honor Society, and he belongs to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Key Club, as well as other campus organizations.
In the community, he has volunteered with Special Olympics and Kids Day, which benefits Valley Children’s Hospital, and he has prepared care packages for the homeless through Poverello House, in addition to other volunteer activities.
All 16 nominees have long lists of athletic, academic and community achievements, which led master of ceremonies Terry Fox to tell the crowd: “You wonder when and how they are able to do what they do.” Fox added that the 16 nominees “give us hope for the future.”
Hauss made it clear in his acceptance speech that others have helped him and that they deserve praise.
“I wouldn’t be here without every one of of these amazing people,” he said. “Those guys are the true champions, too. It’s not me who won. We all won.”