Eastern Tech's Fadojutimi and Maritime's Hodge win McCormick Unsung Hero Award (Pre-dinner video interviews with Keith Mills here)
One never played organized girls' basketball. The other was an undersized linebacker.
Those obstacles didn't stop Eastern Tech's Dunsin Fadojutimi and Alcedo Hodge from Maritime Academy. Monday evening at Martin's Valley Mansion in Cockeysville, they became the 76th and 77th recipients of the Charles Perry McCormick Scholarship.
They were chosen from a field of 118 from 73 area public, parochial and independent high schools. Each will receive a four-year college scholarship worth $40,000.
Fadojutimi was the only player on the Mavericks' girls basketball roster who never played on an organized team. She was the team's hardest worker.
Eastern Tech coach Kim O'Connor said Fadojutimi "pushed her limits physically and emotionally and enocouraged her teammates to do the same. Dunsin does whatever it takes to be part of the team and play the game."
Fadojutimi, who takes Advance Placement (AP) and Engineering courses, needs two buses to get to and from the Baltimore County school. She plans to attend Lincoln University in Pennsylvania in the fall.
"I can go and finish college for sure," said Fadojutumi, the fifth Eastern Tech student since 2005 to win the McCormick Scholarship. "All my work has paid off. If you hard work for something, you can get a good end result."
Alcedo, 5-foot-8 and 150 pounds, was asked to move to middle linebacker from cornerback for Maritime. He willingly made the switch and became a leader for the Baltimore City football program.
"He strives unselfishly to be a leader and mentor to those who may not developed the perseverance to become one of the top players on the field," said Maritime coach Samuel Brown.
Alcedo works two jobs to help support his family. A few days ago, Alcedo and his mother were wondering how they would pay for college.
"It opens a lot of doors," said Alcedo. "I'm not going to take it for granted and follow my dreams."
Alcedo said he plans to attend community college then transfer to a four-year university. His resolve was strengthen in the wake of last week's unrest in Baltimore City.
"No matter what certain individuals portray about our city, I know what my city is capable of," said Alcedo. "I won't let it conquer me or get in the way of my future."
Alcedo is the first Baltimore City senior since 2010 (Dunbar's Joshua Melton) to win a McCormick Scholarship. Alcedo and Fadojutumi both appreciated the support of family, coaches and teachers.
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was the keynote speaker at the event, which the 75th anniversary for the McCormick Unsunng Heroes event. The NFL's only five-time Most Valuable Player and 14-time Pro Bowl selection, drew a standing ovation from the audience of more than 700, as he delivered a message of leadership.
Manning said success on the football field requires "a million little pushes" from every member of the organization, from the owner down to the equipment manager. He also entertained the audience with a few jokes about his numerous endorsement roles as well as his fabled appearance as a guest host of Saturday Night Live.