Anthony Munoz presents RVHS’s Lydia Els with award

| May 19, 2015
Award: Anthony Munoz, who played 13 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998, presented River View High School senior Lydia Els with an award for being named one of 20 high school athlete finalists for the U.S. Army-Pro Football Hall of Fame Award for Excellence. The presentation took place at the end of the school’s May 18 awards ceremony. Beacon photo by Josie Sellers

Award: Anthony Munoz, who played 13 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998, presented River View High School senior Lydia Els with an award for being named one of 20 high school athlete finalists for the U.S. Army-Pro Football Hall of Fame Award for Excellence. The presentation took place at the end of the school’s May 18 awards ceremony. Beacon photo by Josie Sellers

WARSAW – Anthony Munoz was honored to be at River View High School on May 18.

“I love being able to recognize young men and women from all across the country for their hard work,” said the former NFL player and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Munoz, who played 13 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998, took part in a ceremony naming River View High School Senior Lydia Els as one of 20 high school athlete finalists for the U.S. Army-Pro Football Hall of Fame Award for Excellence.

“Thousands of applications come in for this, but I get the fun part of honoring the finalist,” he said.

The U.S. Army-Pro Football Hall of Fame Award for Excellence highlights the achievements of student-athletes across the country and focuses on athletic achievement combined with excellence in academics and community engagement.

“I’m so excited and humbled,” said Els, who is the daughter of Jon and Lynn Els of Warsaw.

Lydia thanked everyone who took part in making the ceremony possible and helped her throughout her years at River View after receiving her finalist award from Munoz.

“This is an outstanding school,” she said. “The teachers care deeply about their students and I’ve had the best coaches and teammates who always encouraged me and pushed me. I also couldn’t have done this without the love and support of my family and friends.”

Lydia is in the top 10 percent of her class and very active at River View and in the community. She is student council president, in the National Honor Society, involved with Ohio Model United Nations and attended the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Conference. School activities include chamber choir, ECOL choir, and spring musical. She has been a member of Letterman’s Club, Math Club, Global Society, and LIGHT Club, as well as a teacher’s aide and is a four-year varsity letterman of the volleyball and swim teams. Lydia also was a member of the New Wave Volleyball Club, Rising Tide Aquatic Club, Licking County YMCA Sharks, and currently swims with Pau Hana Swim Team at Denison University. Currently she serves as the Appalachian Bacon Nation Queen and was the 2013 Coshocton Canal Festival Queen, 2009 Princess and 2002 Jr. Queen. She attends Newpointe Community Church where she is a volunteer with the children’s ministry.

“Get involved, try your best and strive for excellence,” said Lydia to those in attendance. “There will be challenges, but you can conquer them with dedication and persistence.”

Munoz also had some words of encouragement for the crowd.

“To be successful you have to do three things,” he said. “Don’t give in to your circumstances, don’t give up, and don’t be satisfied. If you incorporate these character traits into your life you can accomplish just about anything.”

Munoz only played one full season in his four years at USC because of injuries and the only game he got to play in during his senior year was the Rose Bowl.

“After that I focused on the getting ready for the draft and the Bengals ended up taking me with the third pick,” he said. “If I would have listened to negative people I wouldn’t be wearing this gold (hall of fame) jacket. Be determined and be committed. That’s why I love our relationship with the Army. They strive for excellence, not just being average.”

During the ceremony Sergeant First Class Andrew Folmar also presented RVHS Principal Chuck Rinkes with a special plaque for the school.

“This is for creating an environment where individuals can thrive and become outstanding citizens,” Folmar said.

The winner of the U.S. Army-Pro Football Hall of Fame Award for Excellence will be announced Saturday, Aug. 8, during the 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend.

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About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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  1. Donna Young says:

    This was covered on 6 TV. What a wonderful award for Lydia.