Each year the Absecon Social and Athletic Club grants six awards of $100 to a graduating 8th grade student from Absecon Public Schools. A boy and girl are selected from the nominees for each of the three awards detailed below.
All the award recipients are selected from the nominations by the ASAC Board at the June meeting with the exception of The Kay Higbee Award, which is selected by Mr. Pete Higbee.
Nominations are accepted at all times during the school year and should be submitted on the Award Nomination Form by an ASAC member in good standing. Forms should be received by the Board before the June meeting.
- The Kay Higbee Award
Background: Kay Higbee was an outstanding athlete that coached both girls and boys. She stressed fundamentals and taught sportsmanship as the most important. Kay and Lee, her husband, raised six boys. Three of them (Chip, Scott, and Pete) have and/or are still coaching in ASAC programs. Seven of their grandchildren have played ASAC sports. This award is presented by Mr. Pete Higbee, one of his brothers, or another family member.
Qualifications: This award is presented to a graduating (8th grade) student from the Absecon Schools that participated in ASAC basketball and plays the game fundamentally, the way it's supposed to be played. The recipient must also show good sportsmanship toward others.
- The Tom Merendino Award
Background: Tom Merendino was one of the original members of ASAC and exemplified the word "volunteer". Although he never had a child go through the program, he coached Little League Baseball and Basketball for more than 20 years. He officiated Basketball for ASAC's Junior League through High School League. Mr. Merendino was also the 12 year-old All-Star coach for 20 years until his passing in 1991. For these reasons, this award is presented in his honor.
Mr. Merendino was only 5'-4" tall, but the courage and leadership he displayed helped him achieve the rank of Captain in the United States Army. He was awarded many medals including the prestigious Distinguished Service Cross. During Mr. Merendino's army career, he found himself in Normandy in the year 1944 and is listed in the book, The Longest Day, about the well known battle to win WWII, D-Day.
Qualifications: This award is presented to a graduating (8th grade) student from the Absecon Schools that participated in ASAC baseball or basketball programs. The recipient should possess the qualities of being courteous, competitive, coachable, and most of all an aggressive team player. The element of being an aggressive team player is crucial to the award since Mr. Merendino was a fierce competitor who exuded good sportsmanship.
- The Bob Mancinelli Award
Background: Bob coached various sports in the town of Absecon from the late 90’s up until 2020. He spent time from the late 90’s through the early 2000’s coaching his 3 children (Robert, Nicholas, and Victoria) in soccer, baseball, football, and basketball through the ASAC sports programs. He continued coaching the boys traveling Babe Ruth baseball team all the way through the 2020 season. That following year, he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and in April of 2022, he lost his battle with cancer.
Bob was renowned by everyone who knew him. Players and parents alike loved his style of coaching and he always had the ability to motivate young men. He had many successes on the field and always incorporated “being a good person off the field” with his players. His always positive attitude and love of the game rubbed off on his players, making their time playing baseball fun and exciting.
Qualifications: This award is presented to a graduating 8th grade student from the Absecon School district that have participated in the ASAC baseball or softball program. This award goes to a player whom encompasses Bob’s love and passion for the game. This athlete is also determined to work hard to improve themselves on and off the field. They not only play the game well, but motivate their teammates and all those around them. The element of a positive and supportive attitude is crucial to the Mancinelli award.