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Athletes of Distinction

Lea Plarski Award
2005-2006 NJCAA Lea Plarski Award Presented to Patrick Lepper

The National Junior College Athletic Association awarded the 2005-2006 Lea Plarski Award to Patrick Lepper of John Wood Community College (Quincy, Ill.).

Lepper maintained a 3.71 grade point average while taking part in numerous volunteer and leadership activities at John Wood, including Jump Rope for Heart, Read-A-Kid-A-Book Month and helping with Upward Bound. He also worked the finish line at the YMCA Thanksgiving Turkey Run and volunteered as a coach and official for the Catholic Youth Organization.

A scholarship member of the men's basketball team, Lepper was also the treasurer of the National Honor Society Phi Theta Kappa at John Wood.

Mike Elbe, John Wood Athletic Director and head men's basketball coach, wrote this about Lepper, "Pat has always been an extremely competitive player for me. One thing that really sticks out in my mind about Pat is he would always be one of the first player's to pick someone up when they got knocked down, whether it was a teammate or an opponent. He has always showed high qualities of sportsmanship."

In addition to his community and extracurricular activities, Lepper was an integral part of the John Wood men's basketball team. He was a two-time team caption and guided John Wood to a 33-30 record over his two seasons.

As a freshman, Lepper led his team to a second-place finish in the Collegiate Conference of Central Illinois and was a third-team all-conference selection. In his second season Lepper was a first-team all-region and all-conference selection. He has left his mark on the John Wood record books, ranking fifth in career three-pointers with 125.

All of Lepper's basketball accomplishments are especially impressive considering as a freshman in high school he was cut from the junior varsity team. He came back the following year to not only make the team but become a starter. Five years removed from being cut Lepper signed a NCAA Division I scholarship with Indiana Purdue University at Fort Wayne where he finished his basketball and academic career.

"His positive attitude and mental toughness got him where he is today," said Elbe. "In his sophomore season I could trust him to make sure that he would get his teammates ready for the game physically and mentally. His attitude, focus and ability to lead make him stand out around his peers and teammates."

William Simpson, President of John Wood Community College said, "Pat Lepper is the ideal model for a college student - athlete, scholar, and gentleman. He has distinguished himself in all regards by being selected for membership in Phi Theta Kappa and All Conference and All Regional in basketball. Pat is well regarded by his teammates and classmates and is a solid citizen. He is the type of student the NJCAA is proud of and appropriately has recognized him with the Lea Plarski Award", said Simpson




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