When senior Justin Lorenz walked into Jacobs High School’s senior awards night banquet last week and spotted someone wearing Foot Locker gear, he knew something was up.
Lorenz, a three-sport athlete, had applied and gone through the interview process for the Foot Locker Scholar Athletes scholarship, and he knew he was a semifinalist, but he still hadn’t heard from Foot Locker.
“So I walk in, and I sit down. I’m surveying, and there’s a ton of people on stage,” Lorenz said. “I see a guy dressed in Foot Locker [gear] and, oh my God, my heart started pounding so fast.”
By the end of the evening, Foot Locker representatives had handed Lorenz an oversized check for $20,000.
Foot Locker awards the scholarship to 20 students across the country each year. It takes into account three components: athletics, academics and community service.
Lorenz played three sports in high school: cross country, swimming and track and field. He considers those to be tuneups for his true athletic passion: triathlons. He spends the summers competing in triathlons with Illinois-based club Multisport Madness Triathlon Team.
The academic component was no problem for Lorenz, either. He will attend Duke next fall and plans to double major in electrical and computer engineering, and computer science.
Lorenz believes what put his application over the top, however, is Pedal Empowerment, an organization he founded with the goal of providing bicycles to kids who might not be able to afford one otherwise. Last summer alone, Pedal Empowerment raised more than $10,000 in donated bikes – about 80 bikes – for the Boys & Girls Club of Dundee Township.
“A bike is an expensive thing,” Lorenz said. “I want to be able to bring that passion to others. I might not be able to help every single kid because there’s so many kids that go through that Boys & Girls Club, but it’s really great to help the ones that I can.”
Lorenz said he plans on doing another bike drive this summer before he heads to Duke. He again will be donating bikes to the Boys & Girls Club of Dundee Township.
“It was a really good experience,” Lorenz said. “I was able to bring joy to kids who never had the experience of having a bike before.”
Lorenz’s parents, John and Tracy Lorenz, passed their love of triathlons down to Justin and his sister Alex Lorenz. Justin Lorenz plans on joining the club triathlon team at Duke.
Justin Lorenz said he has seen videos from years past of Foot Locker surprising other students who had been awarded the scholarships, and although he knew he was a semifinalist, he still wasn’t sure it would work out.
“It was a great experience,” Lorenz said. “It was really cool to see all the hard work pay off.”