For DonorsFor Applicants

Silverback Scholarship

2 winners, $5,000 each
Application Deadline
Jul 30, 2022
Winners Announced
Aug 30, 2022
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
Undergraduate junior
Leadership experience on collegiate sports
3.0 or higher

Collegiate athletics can provide invaluable connections that positively impact the trajectory of a student athlete's future.

As former collegiate athletes, the Rushing family would like to support other varsity athletes that are making a difference on their team but aren’t always monetarily recognized. These are the hard-working “glue guys/girls” that help make everyone else around them better by doing the little things that might go unnoticed. The Silverback Scholarship will be awarded to one male and one female college athlete with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. 

In order to apply, you must be a junior undergraduate collegiate athlete, graduating in 2023. Similar to a silverback gorilla, you should exemplify grit, determination, and a passion to lead your teammates.

To apply, write about your experience in varsity collegiate athletics, how you exemplify leadership in and outside of the game, and how you represent the qualities of a “glue guy/girl.”

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published April 29, 2022
Essay Topic

Please tell us about your experience with collegiate athletics. How do you exemplify leadership in and outside of the game? What characteristics define a "glue guy/girl"? Why do you feel that you exemplify these qualities?

400–600 words

Winning Applications

Hannah Davies
Lees-McRae CollegeOakland, FL
College Athletics is challenging. Every team needs a solid leadership foundation to be successful. Throughout my college experience, I have grown tremendously as a leader. From freshman to junior, my growth has been astounding. I filled vital roles from the beginning, and those have only grown. The group had not experienced a player like me before. The previous year, the Lees-McRae Women's Soccer team had finished 11th place in the conference. As a result, the team needed a "glue girl." I define a glue girl as someone with the leadership qualities I will discuss. The glue girl holds the team together through tough patches and crucial times. During my first year, hard work, leadership skills, and determination led our team to fourth place in the forum. Leadership skills and ability to communicate helped our team make it to fourth place. Making an effort to instill confidence in my teammates and believe they were good players. As a rising junior, my acquired skills make me the leader I am today. On the field, I am a directional player. Teammates need to trust a leader. Within our team, we need to hold people accountable. Accountability has been a challenge in the past; however, I stepped up and filled this role. Holding others accountable can be challenging, seeing as confrontation can be uncomfortable. However, I have learned that conflict is worth it for our team to reach its potential. I bring accountability, encouragement, communication, passion, and integrity into a team environment. If I need something from a teammate, my approach is to encourage them and tell them precisely what it is I need from them. Teammates look up to the passion I have for the game. I am always the first player on the field and the last player to leave the area. I am passionate about the game and show passion for each player to be the best they can be. As a team, integrity unifies us. My teammates look up to me, feel comfortable coming to me, and view me as a group leader. I exemplify being a leader off the field through making the right choices, maintaining a good GPA, tutoring teammates, and being there in times of need. It can be tempting to make questionable choices in college, but I am a disciplined student-athlete. I desire to have fun while maintaining my GPA and athletic abilities. As a student who spends most of my time in the library, my teammates follow suit and maintain their GPAs. Our group finished with an average GPA of 3.6 this past semester. Tutoring teammates helps them manage their time, giving them personal time when needed instead of spending countless hours trying to figure out assignments. As a result, my group of girls feels comfortable coming to me when in time of need. They do not view me as a strict leader. They understand why I am tough on the field, but they know who I am off the field. I make an effort for each person to know who I am as an individual so they can feel comfortable coming to me. From a young age, I had to hold my family together. My father was a drug addict, and my mother was an alcoholic. As a result, I had two younger brothers to care for and a broken family I attempted to hold together. However, my childhood made me an efficient leader. It taught me to be a glue girl and step up in times of need under pressure. Every day I work to reach my highest potential as a leader.
Daniel Gay
Northern Illinois UniversityChicago, IL
Coming into Clark Atlanta University, the 2019 recruiting class for the baseball team was one that made up the majority number of the people on the team. We had nine incoming freshmen on the team. As a freshman on the team, I had many responsibilities like taking care of team equipment, our home field, and helping to lead the other freshman. Before, I became an effective leader. I first had to listen, learn to be empathetic, and follow. As a freshman, you do not have much authority. You get yelled at for not having experience in the new team system. You have to conform to the system that you are a part of. These things mold you into someone who can eventually lead and lead effectively. I spent my time under the guidance of one of our more vocal leaders, learning from when he would speak up and help other players or when he would sit back and watch them. Watching someone else's role would eventually help me change how I would lead. This past semester we played our first full year of baseball because of the recent Covid quarantines. I was selected, to our "Leadership Committee." This title means I was officially a leader, an exciting time. The tools of empathy, listening first, not being reactive, having composure, and being vocal would now be put to use. We had a new freshman class ready to be led and groomed for the upcoming season. The new class was nothing like our class. They were more rebellious and less willing to do the freshman tasks. They were harder to lead and less responsive to my leadership style. Everyone is different, and people react differently to each action. I had to learn what they needed from me. The 2025 class needed someone to rally behind, a person with energy and passion. They did not need a second parent that told them what to do. I did not understand that initially, this caused many unnecessary arguments. I created a separation between myself and the freshman. That affected the team's chemistry. I had to observe myself and adapt to what was needed. I saw that they needed a teammate and not an egomaniac. Once I realized this, our season turned around. Being a leader doesn't stop on the field for me. I feel like it is in me. I enjoy finding solutions. I enjoy listening if people need someone to talk to and vent. Being empathic and what people need are skills that help with all relationships, not just ones on the field. Being a glue guy also has these characteristics they hold the team together, make the sacrifice plays, compromise, and find the middle ground for the group. An effective leader is also a glue person. I am all of these items. I want to find or create the solution, even if I am part of the problem. Removing myself for the betterment of the team is something that I understand and value.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Jul 30, 2022. Winners will be announced on Aug 30, 2022.

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