"We're proud to play a part in supporting athletic and personal development programs for women and young girls," said Marilyn Ware, chairman of the board, American Water Works Company. "The talent and accomplishments of these young women contribute to the growth of women in sports, and allows them the opportunity to share in the excitement of the Women's Final Four."
In its fourth consecutive year, Hoops & Heroes began as an effort to promote women's sports and to invest in tomorrow's leaders. The program is now an annual event, growing each year in popularity and participation. Past program speakers have included prominent sports figures such as Robin Roberts of ESPN and Good Morning America!; Maryalyce Jeremiah, chair of the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Committee; Anne Donovan, head coach, Charlotte Sting; Cathy Andruzzi, basketball TV commentator and former executive director, 2000 NCAA Women's Final Four; and Michelle Marciniak of the Seattle Storm. Hoops & Heroes reaches out to over 900 high schools across the country.
Beginning this month, American Water Works will invite high school officials to nominate players on their basketball team to represent the school as its scholar-athlete "hero." The Company is asking each applicant to write an essay, in 500 words or less, that describes "how participating in sports has contributed to my personal growth" and also answers the question: "If you could have lunch with any female leader or role model of today or in history, who would that be and why?" The students will submit their essays for final judging by a panel of distinguished community leaders from across the country.