Menlo School senior receives CCS Scholar-Athlete honor


Menlo School senior John Holland-McCowan has been named the male recipient for the 2010-11 Central Coast Section Scholar-Athlete Scholarship Awards program.

The program honored six CCS seniors who have excelled on and off the playing field, with Holland-McCowan receiving one of two $1,500 scholarships. He was recognized during a ceremony on Wednesday in San Jose.

"John is truly a once-in-a-lifetime person . . . experiencing this remarkable young man and his efforts to improve things for those less fortunate than him . . . I realized this is one special individual," said Menlo Athletic Director Craig Schoof. "John's work with the community does not stop with his foundation as he also volunteers as a youth water polo coach and has received great praise for his positive coaching style."

Holland-McCowan led the Knights to a CCS Division II water polo championship last fall, and was named to the All-CCS and All-CCS Division II teams selected by the coaches. For the second season in a row, he also was the Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division MVP.

Holland-McCowan, who is headed to Harvard where he will also be playing water polo for former Castilleja coach Ted Minnis, has amassed a 4.09 GPA and has participated in four years of water polo and swimming. Holland-McCowan has made an impact on the Menlo community as an athlete, scholar and community volunteer.

His academic and athletic excellence are self-evident, the CCS committee said, but it is his dedication to the community that makes him stand above others.

With the help of his mother, Holland-McCowan began a not-for-profit organization called Kids Cheering Kids. This organization is made up of groups of volunteers who spend time with kids who have life-threatening diseases, or who are homeless or are in need of special help through tutoring. Holland-McCowan's dedication to children is overwhelming and has earned national recognition.

In addition to the pair of $1,500 scholarship awards, four students received $500. All the program entrants have to apply. Applicants are judged on scholastic achievement, school/community service, athletic achievement and a student essay. The female winner of the $1,500 award was Melanie Hong of Carmel High.

-- Pam McKenney of Menlo School contributed

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