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Greenhills senior earns scholarship as MHSAA scholar-athlete

homepage jackGreenhills senior Jack Harris, one of only six students at Michigan Class C schools to win a scholar-athlete scholarship this month, is all about balance. 

Balance on the tennis court. Balance in the classroom. Balance in life.

Perhaps that’s why, despite his varsity tennis commitment, Harris has been a mainstay in such Greenhills extracurriculars as chess club. And forensics. And countless theater productions, improvisational shows, jazz band concerts, and service learning efforts.

“Jack is the kind of student-athlete coaches dream of having on their teams,” said Meg Seng, Greenhills’ athletic director. “He’s smart, he’s focused, and he’s just an excellent all-around young man. We couldn’t be more pleased that the Michigan High School Athletic Association has recognized that.”

It’s the kind of character that put Harris in a strong position to earn one of the $1,000 scholarships awarded by the MHSAA and Farm Bureau Insurance. In addition to a varsity letter, the scholarships also require at least a 3.5 grade point average, active participation in other school and community activities, and an essay on sportsmanship.

In his essay, Harris explored the importance of character to good sportsmanship.

“As a tennis player, there is nothing more frustrating than feeling like your opponents have less respect for your enjoyment than you do for theirs,” he wrote. “But, from this seemingly flawed system, the greatest kind of student athlete is able to be formed. The greatest competitor in tennis calls every line as he sees it, cheating neither himself, nor an opponent. The measure of a great student athlete therefore relies not on one’s skill, but one’s character.”

Harris has played three years of varsity tennis and earned three Division 4 No. 1 doubles championships, helping lead Greenhills to the 2015 state championship. He earned all-state honors all three years and also served as team captain.

His involvement in other extracurriculars extends beyond simple participation. He was a captain of the chess club, a head Gryphon Ambassador for the school’s open house program, and the producer of an ACTivate the Cure fundraising variety show for cancer research. In addition, he’s been an active participant in Greenhills drama productions all four years of high school, often visible in the orchestra pit behind his drum kit, and a mainstay of the school’s leading jazz band.

“An award like this means a lot to me,” Harris said. “I’ve always looked to find the right balance at school between academics and my athletic/artistic endeavors, and I’ve been able to do this so well due to the culture here at Greenhills. My coaches have always been encouraging and supportive of their players participating around the school as much as possible, and for that I am very grateful.”

He plans to attend the University of Michigan.

While only six students from Class C schools earned the scholar-athlete awards, the MHSAA will award a total of 32 scholarships around the state. The organization will honor recipients during halftime of the Class C boys basketball state championship game March 24, at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center.

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