Hunter Connellan, a member of the CBA senior class, was presented with a 2017 Golden Osprey Award by the Jersey Shore Chamber of Commerce last week. The Golden Osprey Awards are presented to individuals who have achieved prominence in their particular field of endeavor and significantly contributed to the betterment of their community.
Connellan’s award was the Aspiring Youth Award, which recognizes exemplary community service and was presented to Connellan for his “Let’s Learn to Lax” program. Connellan founded the youth lacrosse program at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School in Asbury Park, where he has been a CCD teacher for young students. The program is designed to not only teach youngsters the game, but also add in a weekly “life lesson” along the way.
To get the idea off the ground, Connellan used his monetary savings from caddying to purchase over 50 new lacrosse sticks and accessories. The staff of Our Lady of Mount Carmel supported Connellan’s idea and allowed him to teach their students in their after-school programs during the school year. In the summer, Connellan brought his idea to the recreation camps in the area.
“The smile on these kids’ faces when they are catching a ball with the stick or making a goal is absolutely incredible,” Connellan said. “What I learned [through his program] was far greater than what I taught. These kids came and ran without shoes, scoring goal after goal, and gave us smile after smile. These kids have very little, yet they are so happy to be with you.”
Aside from learning lacrosse, Connellan has included life lessons such as maintaining a healthy body, goal setting, and importance of gratitude, among others.
At the 32nd annual Golden Osprey Awards Gala, Connellan was presented his award by a special guest, CBA varsity lacrosse head coach, Mr. Dave Santos ’83.
“Hunter compassionately serves the underprivileged, strives to excel academically, and is active in a number of extracurricular activities in the pursuit of a well rounded education,” Santos said. “In short, he epitomizes everything that a CBA man is supposed to be. Congratulations to Hunter and his family on this well deserved award.”
Connellan is the first CBA student to win a Golden Osprey Award. His program has been featured in local publications such as The Two River Times and Coast Star Newspaper.