Community Captain: Michael Harpe

The Carolina Panthers have selected Michael Harpe, a senior at Spartanburg High School (Spartanburg, SC), as a 2009 Carolina Panthers Community Captain. The Carolina Panthers Community Captain program recognizes high school football student-athletes in North and South Carolina who excel in the classroom, in the community and on the field.

The program is designed to recognize outstanding young leaders and to encourage their future development as role models while they continue their personal growth in college and in their professional careers.

For the past six years, Harpe has shown a true dedication to the game he loves. "Football isn't just a game to me; it is an opportunity to better oneself as a friend and as a person through guidance from coaches and teammates," said Harpe. Despite the challenges of managing the responsibilities of both football and academics, Harpe has found a way to stay focused and get the job done. On the field, he is a tight end and long snapper for the Vikings. In the classroom, he has earned a 4.45 weighted GPA and ranks 27th in a class of 411 students. Harpe's fine academic record speaks volumes about his work ethic and determination to succeed. "Michael's teachers and coaches indicate that he welcomes a challenge; he is not easily discouraged, and he approaches his work with open mindedness, eagerness, confidence, insight, vigor and dedication," said Glover Smiley Jr., Spartanburg High School guidance counselor. Harpe has further developed his academic interests by participating in organizations like the National Honor Society, French Club, National Beta Club and the Mu Alpha Theta Math Society. Harpe's record of academic honors includes the Academic Excellence Award, Principal's Honor Roll, Honor M Academic Award and the President's Education Award.

As a well-balanced individual, Harpe also finds time in his busy schedule to give back to the community. He not only reaches the community through participating in the Tippers Service Club, Student Council and FCA, but his philanthropic endeavors continue on a personal level. For the past three summers, Harpe has worked with Salkahatchie Missions to rebuild houses for underprivileged families, and he volunteers every second Sunday at a local soup kitchen with his church.

As Harpe leaves behind the legacy he created at Spartanburg High School through his athletic and academic leadership, he will go on to set ablaze a new trail at either the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Wofford College or The Citadel where he will realize his dream of playing collegiately in the fall of 2010. Harpe's undergraduate studies will be in environmental science, and he aspires to obtain a master's degree in environmental engineering.

The 2009 Carolina Panthers Community Captain Class will be recognized during a special on-field ceremony at the Panthers home game versus the New Orleans Saints on January 3rd. Winners will receive an authentic Community Captain jersey and will have the opportunity to participate in select Panthers community outreach events with current Panthers players.

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