NEWTON, NJ—Newton High School senior, Steven Ward, is this year's' Newton district recipient of the 2020 Pass It Along Scholar Athlete award.

Ward will join the other honorees at the 35th annual Pass it Along Scholar Athlete banquet on March 5 at the Lake Mohawk Country Club in Sparta. The event is made possible by this year’s presenting sponsor, The Orthopedic Institute of New Jersey, located in Sparta.

“The Scholar Athletes were nominated by the school principals and athletic directors of twelve local school districts, based on their hard-work, altruism, and ambition both in the classroom and on-the-field,” according to the organization.

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Ward, who is sponsored by the Newton Medical Center, is a senior at Newton. He has been a varsity swimmer for all four years and currently holds the team record in the 100 freestyle. He  has qualified for the Meet of Champions all four years and has been an All County Swimmer and part of the Herald Team of the Year.

Along with swimming, Ward is a top student.  He is in Advanced Placement or AP and honors classes and holds a 4.4 GPA, ranking second in his grade.

“I am involved with the National Honors Society, French National Honor Society, Peer Leadership, and the Academic Bowl team, who got second in their competition on Friday,” Ward said. “I also have received the Rensselaer Medal for Math and Science.”

Ward also swims for Lakeland Hills YMCA.

“I swim six days a week for 11 out of 12 months,” Ward said. “I compete for the national team and I have placed top 16 nationally seven times for Short Course nationals and 10 times for Long Course Nationals since sophomore year.”

A short course is a 25-yard pool and long course is a 50-meter pool, Ward explained.  “On LHY I hold three Short Course team records and four Long Course team records.”

Ward will be attending Bowdoin College the next year, where he will continue to swim and plans on either majoring in business or mathematics.

According to Pass It Along, to connect their mission with the nominees, their staff members will work with the nominees over the course of four to five meetings to plan, create and deliver a service project. Pass It Along's mission is to build confident, resilient, compassionate teenagers through self-discovery, volunteer and leadership opportunities.

"The 2020 Scholar Athlete Service Project provides the opportunity for high school students with developmental disabilities to participate in a day of sports, craft, and activities. The field day will be held at the Sussex County YMCA, and we will be offering: Basketball, Soccer, Arts and Crafts including bracelet making, sock puppets and painting, board games and other activities such as corn hole or Just Dance,” Ward said.

Along with their recognition at the annual banquet and being named the Scholar Athlete for their district, the students will receive a scholarship.