The Reliant Scholarship for Champions program has awarded scholarships to eight Houston-area athletes, and two of them are from Humble ISD.
Humble High School senior Avery Sheldon and Kingwood High School senior Evan Loyka are each 2016 recipients of a $5,000 scholarship. Students are nominated by a teacher or coach based on excellence in both athletics and academics. Leadership, community involvement and service, and ethics are also criteria.
Reliant, in partnership with the Houston Texans, selects the winners and awards them with funds for higher education. Reliant started the program in 2005, and since then has awarded more than $405,000 to 80 students from the Houston area.
Both students were surprised by the Texans prize patrol. Loyka thought he was going to a lunchtime pep rally prior to Kingwood’s football playoff game against South Houston. Avery also was in the last football pep rally of the year in the Humble High gymnasium.
“All of a sudden, I saw two men walk to the middle of the gymnasium with a large check and they explained that they were with Reliant Energy and the Texans. My first thought was that it was a check for our football team, but then they talked about the Scholarship for Champions and asked me to come down and accept the scholarship,” said Loyka. Both boys were indeed very surprised when former Houston Texans wide receiver J.J. Moses and NRG sponsorship associate Briggs Webster announced their names as scholarship winners.
The students also recently appeared on a television segment on KHOU 11, and the achievements of all eight winners will be recognized in a special pre-game ceremony at the Texans home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars Dec. 18.
Humble High teacher Craig Stowers nominated Sheldon, who is an Academic All-District Varsity Baseball player being scouted by four universities. Sheldon maintains a 4.8 GPA.
Sheldon's mom, Belinda Sheldon said, “This is such an honor for Avery to be selected for this award. Avery has always been a passionate, dedicated and talented student, player and overall great young man. Raising him has been easy for us as he always goes above and beyond to make the right choices and do things to show his love for God and his family. We couldn't be more proud of him as he is growing into his own and becoming an adult.”
Sheldon said, “The scholarship ceremony was an amazing experience to see that I'm respected and highly regarded by my coaches and teachers. And it was pretty great hearing all of the student body chanting my name. This scholarship means the world to me. Not only does it show that I'm making an impact in the lives of people around me, but the money will hopefully make deciding on one of the universities that want me for baseball a little easier for me and my family. This was really an amazing honor. I didn't even realize all that would come with this scholarship, and I can't explain with words how much this means to me.”
Kingwood High School football coach Barry Campbell nominated Loyka for his award. Loyka is a football team captain, homecoming king, varsity baseball player, and is also in the top one percent of his graduating class. Loyka said, “I am excited to receive this award, but I couldn’t have done it without my team. Thank you to everyone for making this happen.”
Loyka's parents, Jeff and Kathy Loyka, said, “We are feeling very grateful and blessed. This is a very proud parent moment. It is wonderful that Evan’s hard work and dedication in and out of the classroom is being recognized.”
Coach Campbell echoed their sentiments by saying, "I don't think there is anyone who deserves this award more than Evan. He's earned every bit of everything he's accomplished. He is such a hard worker and is dedicated to everything he does – athletics and the classroom. We're extremely proud he is on our team and that we get to be a part of this.”
eeling very grateful and blessed. This is a very proud parent moment. It is wonderful that Evan’s hard work and dedication in and out of the classroom has been recognized!” Coach Campbell echoed their sentiments by saying “I don’t think there is anyone who deserves this award more than Evan. He’s earned every bit of everything he’s accomplished. He is such a hard worker and is dedicated to everything he does--athletics and the classroom. We’re extremely proud he is on our team and that we get to be a part of this”.
Moses had this to say about both boys: “Out of the many student athletes in the Houston area, Reliant is proud to select these eight athletes who demonstrate leadership both on and off the field. I am so honored to present these scholarships to Evan and Avery. They are great kids with great parents and this is a great way to honor them. They exemplify what a student athlete is all about. We are so proud of them. I know they have bright futures ahead.”
Other 2016 winners are Ahmed Eisa of Sharpstown High School, Christine Henderson who is home-schooled, Justin Herbert from Hempstead High School, and Yu (Leon) Liu from Magnolia West High School. Two additional students have yet to be awarded their scholarships. To nominate a deserving Houston-area student-athlete, visit scholarship.myreliantenergy.com.