ELIZABETH, N.J. - John E. Dwyer Technology Academy senior Ya-Sha-Rah Brathwaite was recently selected as a 2018 Wendy’s High School Heisman School Winner.

Nearly 42,000 applications were received for this year’s competition from high school scholar-athletes graduating with the class of 2019. Eligible students had to be graduating with the class of 2019, have a cumulative high school grade point average of a B (3.0) or better, participate in at least one of the 47 sports recognized by the International Olympic Committee and/or the National Federation of State High School Association and be a leader in his/her school and community.

Brathwaite was one of more than 7,500 from throughout the country to be named a 2018 Wendy’s High School Heisman School Winner.

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The current captain of the Elizabeth High School Girls Track & Field Team, Brathwaite has enjoyed a remarkable career as a three-sport athlete in cross-country track as well as indoor and outdoor track and field. She currently holds five individual records and six relay records, including last season’s record-breaking performances of 56.32 in the outdoor 400m, breaking the old record of 58.25 by almost two seconds; 24.92 in the outdoor 200m, breaking a 19-year-old record; and anchoring a 48.25 in the 4x100m relay, breaking an 18 year-old record. She also qualified for an unprecedented four events at the 2018 NJSIAA Meet of Champions.

During the summer, Brathwaite competed in the Johnson and Johnson Invitational and USATF qualifying meets, for which she qualified for 3 events.  At the USATF Hershey National Junior Olympic Championships, she had the 26th fastest time in the 400m (57.78), the 39th fastest in the 400m hurdles (1:10.69), and the 46th fastest in the 200m (25.93).

As great of an athlete as Brathwaite is on the track, she excels equally in the classroom, carrying a 3.86 grade-point average while serving as an Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) tutor, a member of the Dwyer Environmental Club, and a member of the Union County Student Training and Enrichment Program (UC STEP). She plans on continuing her track and field career in college while majoring in Criminology or Business Administration.

The Wendy's High School Heisman was created by Wendy's founder Dave Thomas in 1994.  Dave Thomas dropped out of high school when he was 15 years old in order to work full-time and went on to become one of the most successful entrepreneurs in history.  While this nontraditional path led to his prosperity, it always worried Thomas that others would follow in his footsteps and expect to achieve similar fame and wealth by not finishing high school or attending college.

Since 1994, Wendy's High School Heisman has honored more than 600,000 of the nation's most esteemed high school seniors who share Wendy's values of giving back to their communities, treating people with respect, continuing education and excelling on the athletic field.

“Ya-Sha-Rah has demonstrated exceptional characteristics that we hope all of our students aspire to,” stated Elizabeth Public Schools Superintendent Olga Hugelmeyer. “She has revealed great leadership qualities in the classroom and on the track while maintaining the Elizabeth Public Schools standard of excellence through her hard work, dedication, and determination. Our learning community is very proud of this wonderful achievement and we look forward to celebrating more of Ya-Sha-Rah’s successes in academics and athletics during her senior year and beyond.”

“We have so many students who are having a positive impact on their school community through their outstanding achievements, whether in the classroom, on the athletic fields, or out in the Elizabeth community,” said Elizabeth Board of Education President Maria Carvalho. “I am happy to see that Ya-Sha-Rah’s outstanding efforts in all three of those areas has been recognized by Wendy’s and, on behalf of the Board, congratulate her for earning this prestigious honor.”

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