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Everything Earned Athletic Award

Thank you to all of the schools who earned it.

Elk & Elk Partner Jay Kelley wraps up our inaugural year of the Everything Earned Athletic Award Program with his remarks on this year's campaign, our winners and the future of the program.

We started the Everything Earned Campaign this year as a method for our firm to have connections and come in contact with members of small communities, specifically through their athletic departments.

What we had hoped was to see how we could inspire people to actually get involved in their communities, achieve in the classroom and perform on the field, court or in the swimming pool.

What we found is people were already doing all of this and beyond.

What we found was over 98 percent of the students we came across who were participating in athletics were also on the honor roll. We found that each and every one of the teams was active in the community. Every one of these teams had a coach who not only inspired the players and the participants, but left an impression upon us.

We thought we were going to be doing something so great for others, but we really underestimated how great these people are, how much they're doing for others and the impact it would make upon our firm.

We called it Everything Earned, but the thing I want to focus on now is what we have learned.

We have learned the young kids in our community are absolutely incredible. They're smart, they're engaged and they're actually performing in the classroom and on the field or in the pool at such a high level. We left each one of the schools more impressed than the one before it.

As adults, we sometimes sit around and question what they're doing on their phones, what they're doing in their social lives and how their generation is doing. We are so proud to realize this is one heck of a generation, and this world is in great hands with them.

So what I would like to say to those kids, to those coaches and to those schools is actually thank you.

Thank you for opening our eyes, and hopefully the eyes of everyone who sees these videos, to how incredible you are. Your achievements are amazing and, as we told many of you, what you do every day we would consider amazing. It's so incredible that it's your normal. So to each of those schools, you've earned it.

We intend to keep the program going in a similar format next year, and to try to expand upon it. What we really want to do is challenge people to get involved at their school, to get involved in their community and, most importantly, to support these young kids so they can continue to grow and continue to do great things.

About Elk & Elk's Everything Earned Athletic Award

The Everything Earned Athletic Award offers deserving high school teams in Northeast Ohio the chance to earn $1,000 courtesy of Elk & Elk. The program was launched in the fall of 2015, and dozens of athletic directors from area high schools proudly nominated teams from a wide variety of sports to represent their school. Each month, Elk & Elk will select one team to receive a $1,000 award to benefit their program.

Learn more about our 2015-2016 Everything Earned Athletic Award recipients:

Euclid High School (June 2016)

Westlake High School (May 2016)

Willoughby South High School (April 2016)

James F. Rhodes High School (March 2016)

Max S. Hayes High School (February 2016)

Lutheran High School East (January 2016)

NOTE: Nominations for the 2015-2016 Everything Earned contest are now closed. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates about future contests.