Community Captain: Samuel Keenan

The Carolina Panthers have selected Samuel Keenan, a senior at Lancaster High School (Lancaster, 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.

In addition to being a part of a football team that advanced all the way to the state semi-finals, starting as a tight end for the past three years and earning a varsity letter in both football and track, Keenan can also be proud of the fact that he is ranked number one in his graduating class of 380 with a perfect 4.0 unweighted GPA. With this notable accomplishment, it comes with no surprise that Keenan regards academics as his first priority. Keenan's academic awards range in subjects from English to science, math, AP history and Spanish. Keenan's list of honors also includes being named a SC Junior Scholar, a Wofford Scholar, Academic Junior of the Year and Jr. Civitan International Club Officer of the Year.

Keenan's academic achievements goes on to include other notable distinctions, but his leadership and service is truly what sets him apart. "Sam is more than just an exceptional student, he is a leader both in and out of the classroom and is always searching for ways to serve his school and community," said Lancaster High assistant principal, Rosalyn Thomas Mood. Keenan has served his school as freshman class vice president, sophomore class vice president, junior student council senator and now as student body secretary. Keenan has extended a helping hand to his community through the Junior Civitan Club where he has raised money for those in need, collected pennies for Pennies for Patients, an organization that aids people with Leukemia and will travel to Canada in the spring to participate in a twelve-hour dance-a-thon that will raise funds for the Junior Civitan research center.

Keenan's record of outreach endeavors also includes raising money for the Special Olympics, church mission trips, Eagle Scout projects and his latest undertaking, "Backpack Feeding." Keenan created this project to feed underprivileged students at Brooklyn Springs Elementary and Lancaster High. This program allows students who will not get a well-balanced meal on the weekends to pick up backpacks filled with food on Friday afternoons. For Keenan, who considers community service to be a substantial part of his life, this program not only helps him to fulfill that calling but it will truly make a difference in the lives of his peers and others within the community.

Keenan has received numerous Academic scholarship offers including the University of South Carolina Honors College, Clemson University, Wofford College, Erskine College, Anderson College, Lee University Tennessee and Presbyterian College. He is still undecided to as to which institution he will attend in the fall of 2010, but he will major in bio-medical engineering.

The Community Captain Class of 2009 recipients so far this season are Thomas Teal of Marlboro High School (Marlboro, SC), Dylan Bowman of West Brunswick High School (Shallotte, NC), Jonathan Bowie of Hendersonville High School (Hendersonville, NC), Darius Lipford of Hibriten High School (Lenoir, NC), Colin Summers of Needham Broughton High School (Raleigh, NC), Michael Harpe of Spartanburg High School (Spartanburg, SC), Joshua Jenkins of Enloe High School (Raleigh, NC) and Samuel Keenan of Lancaster High School (Lancaster, SC).

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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