As part of the Bay Area All-Star Scholarship Team (BAASST) program, 49ers wide receiver Josh Morgan showed up at Aptos High School Friday to honor one of its scholar student athletes, Marissa Ferrante, with the 49ers Bay Area All-Star Scholarship Team program award.
During Ferrante's advanced placement Environmental Studies class, Morgan opened the door, walked in and headed to the front of the class. With all eyes on him, Morgan announced that he was at the school to announce the recipient of this year's scholarship from the 49ers. Morgan's appearance was a surprise to all the students, including Ferrante, who was nominated for the scholarship by her guidance counselor.
"It meant a lot to be recognized for just what I've done in high school," said Ferrante. "It means a lot to have professional athletes care about the younger generation. And all the other students being able to see him come and support them also."
Following the announcement, Morgan and Ferrante spent time walking around the campus together giving Ferrante the opportunity to ask Morgan, a football star from Virginia Tech, for advice as a student athlete as she looks to start her collegiate journey. Ferrante is planning on attending Stanford University in the fall.
"I gave her advice on balancing school, athletics and her social life," said Morgan. "Obviously she's been doing a great job but I told her that the best thing that would help me through college was my teammates. We did everything together, it was more like a family atmosphere and that's what made my college experience more fun."
Ferrante is a four year varsity athlete at Aptos High Schools where she runs track and field and cross country and also played on the water polo team and swim team. In addition, she is an accomplished triathlon athlete where she most recently was chosen to be one of three junior elite women to represent the USA in the ITU World Championship on the Gold Coast of Australia. As if these accomplishments are not enough, she does all this while maintain a 4.17 grade point average and a great personality.
"She is a super star in so many ways," said Aptos High School Principal Casey O'Brien. "She is just a really nice person, and it starts there. She is really humble but an amazing athlete. Real competitor, on the trails, in the pool. She is just a great kid all the way around and just amazing as an athlete. Very unassuming, very humble but an amazing athlete and a great scholar. She sets a great example for others."
Ferrante's guidance counselor Bryan Anderson, the person who nominated her, relayed the same sentiments.
"She is one of the very highest in the school and definitely taking in consideration all of my academic athletic people, the highest GPA I've ever had in a star athlete," said Anderson. "She's earned her GPA by taking all the hardest classes possible and aced them with A's in every class she's taken."
As a recipient of the scholarship, Morgan also gave Ferrante a 49ers jersey with her name on the back. Along with a $3,000 college scholarship, Ferrante will have the opportunity to attend a home game of each of the six Bay Area sports teams including the 49ers, Raiders, A's, Giants, Sharks and Warriors where she'll be recognized for her honor.
In a collective effort to support youth working towards the goal of higher education, Bay Area professional sports franchises, including the San Francisco 49ers, Golden State Warriors, Oakland Athletics, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco Giants and San Jose Sharks, have teamed up for the 14th year of BAASST. As part of this program, five high school seniors are selected to receive a $3,000 scholarship to be applied toward their college education.
Students are selected from high schools within nine Bay Area counties, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, Marin, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma. Each high school was provided with information about this scholarship and was encouraged to nominate candidates that met the following criteria: a minimum grade point average of 3.0, displays leadership qualities in the classroom and/or inspirational qualities on the athletic field and demonstrates the value of education, good work ethic and community outreach.