Avalon Frantz knew something was unusual Tuesday when the voice over Boulder City’s public address system requested that all students congregate in the gym for an unexpected assembly.
“It was just weird,” she said.
When the senior walked into the gym, the bizarre circumstance turned into a full-on celebration.
“I walked in and there’s all these cameramen and just who knows what’s going on,” Frantz said.
Awaiting her arrival was a frenzy of students, faculty members, media, and, most importantly, officials from Wendy’s.
It was then that Frantz, upon seeing her parents, understood the magnitude of the visit.
The assembly was to announce that Frantz was one of 12 national finalists for the Wendy’s High School Heisman award. The honor highlights student-athletes who perform at an elite level in the classroom, in the community and in athletics.
Frantz and her parents will fly to New York City Dec. 7 for a ceremony that runs in conjunction with college football’s Heisman presentation. The national winners will be announced at the event, which will be televised on ESPN2.
Frantz, who competes in volleyball and track for the Eagles, will receive a gold medal and a $2,000 award for Boulder City, among other accolades.
“Most awards just focus on one aspect of your life, because people work hard to excel in just that one area,” Frantz said. “All my life, coming from Boulder City, you’re taught to be well-rounded. This is an award that encompasses all those qualities, and it’s nice to be recognized for putting the time into all these different areas.”
More than 45,000 seniors were nominated for the honor, and the decision was whittled down from 1,020 state finalists to 102 state winners, before a committee selected the final 12.
Frantz follows in the footsteps of The Meadows’ Garrett Gosse, who received the national honor in 2011 and went on to play football at Princeton. The two national winners will be presented with a Heisman Trophy and a $10,000 award for their school.
“Sometimes when you’re in Boulder City, we’re kind of a sheltered community,” Eagles volleyball coach Cherise Hinman said. “We don’t get those kind of national honors. For her to receive that, and to think the magnitude of it that she is one of 12 in the nation to be honored with that award, the significance of it is overwhelming.”
Frantz, a captain and first-team All-Sunrise League setter, had 803 assists, 123 aces and 88 blocks as the Eagles went 28-8 this season, falling to Chaparral in a Division I-A Southern Region semifinal.
“She was a constant perfectionist, always working hard to improve her skills,” Hinman said. “She never stepped back on her heels and thought she could not improve herself as a player. She was always looking to get better and to bring her teammates up to her level.”
But it isn’t just her role in athletics that set Frantz apart.
Frantz is ranked at the top of her class and maintains a 4.8 GPA. She is the president of the National Honor Society, student body secretary, and volunteers extensively.
“It’s just not in the classroom,” Hinman said. “Her community service projects and the other organizations she’s involved with — she does so much. It shows a lot to younger athletes and younger students what they can accomplish if they set their minds to it.”
Frantz plans to continue playing volleyball in college, while studying pre-law and business management.
“When I look back at all I do, it seems like a lot,” Frantz said. “But I try to not focus on ‘Oh, I have so much to do. I have to be here.’ Time management is a skill I’ve sometimes succeeded in and sometimes struggled with. But it’s about not getting caught up in it and just realizing this is what you signed up for and this is what you do.”