ABILENE - Abilene Christian junior student-athlete Cecilee Perez of the women's basketball team recently was recognized as a second team honoree for the 2011 Academic Momentum Award, which has been presented annually since 1995 by The Scholar Baller Program in conjunction with the National Consortium for Academics and Sports.
A total of 49 student-athletes nationwide were chosen for the award, which encompasses all NCAA championship sports in Divisions I, II and III.
Nominees for the Academic Momentum Award were selected based on each student-athlete's academic improvement and the impact each of their academic performances had on his or her classmates, teammates, academic advisors and professors.
A total of 17 male and female award recipients from NCAS partner school were selected for the first team, 16 recipients comprised the second team and 16 more were selected to the third team. There were 89 nominations received from 55 different colleges and universities.
Ann Varner, ACU's Director of Athletics Academic Services, nominated Perez for displaying significant academic improvement since the start of her first semester. Perez is a sociology major with a criminal justice emphasis.
"I'm very proud of Cecilee for being able to overcome some early challenges," Varner said, "while maintaining a great, positive attitude that has allowed her to succeed both on the court and in the classroom."
Perez appeared in all 27 games for ACU as a sophomore in 2010-11, averaging 6.9 points and 2.4 rebounds per game with 54 assists, 12 blocks and 21 steals. The year prior she registered 10 minutes per game for the Wildcats with a 2.7 ppg average.
Though seven games this season Perez is among the team's leaders with 13 assists and four blocks, and has posted point and rebound per game averages of 4.3 and 2.9.
A former first team All-South Texas selection, Perez graduated from Gregory Portland High School in 2009.
The NCAS is an ever-growing organization of colleges and universities that provides opportunities for current and former student-athletes to continue their pursuit of higher education, while working in the community with children to address social issues. Established in 1985, the overall mission of the NCAS is "to create a better society by focusing on educational attainment and using the power appeal of sport to positively affect social change."
Established in 1995, the Scholar Baller movement evolved in response to concerns that the student-athlete's athletics role increasingly superseded the student role. In order to address this issue, the founding members of Scholar Baller developed a groundbreaking program to bridge the gap between education and sport utilizing student-athletes' passion for entertainment and athletics. As a result, the Scholar Baller program has produced unprecedented outcomes in student retention and academic achievement.
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