By the time this article sees the light of day, Shannon Murphy will have already delivered her valedictory address at Falconer Central School's graduation, already walked across the stage at the Reg Lena Civic Center in Jamestown to receive her diploma and already posed with friends and family for photographs to commemorate Thursday night's commencement.
None of that should come as a surprise to anyone who knows her.
"The Falconer Class of 2012 holds Shannon in the highest regard,'' wrote Mike LeBaron, a mathematics teacher and the Lady Golden Falcons' cross country and track and field coach in his letter of recommendation, "and they are happy and proud of her."
From left, Mike LeBaron, Falconer track and field coach; Shannon Murphy; and Dave Nelson, Falconer cross country coach and athletic director.
P-J photo by Valory Isacson
But beyond the successes in the classroom and during the cross country and track and field seasons - the list of honors is voluminous - there are snapshots of Shannon that set her apart from her peers and make her a worthy recipient of the 28th annual Frank Hyde Memorial Scholarship.
The $1,000 scholarship, which was presented to her last night, is awarded to the outstanding college-bound athlete from the newspaper's circulation area, which covers Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Warren counties.
"Mr. Hyde would have been pleased to know her,'' LeBaron said.
Athletically, Shannon is a six-year varsity letter winner in track and cross country. Below is a partial description of her running successes.
In cross country, Shannon was a two-time Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association sportsmanship and scholar-athlete recipient (2010, 2011); a member of the all-Western New York academic team (2012); a four-time team most valuable player; a two-time CCAA Runner of the Year (2009, 2010); a two-time CCAA meet champion (2009, 2010); a four-time first-team all-CCAA selection; a Section 6 individual champion (2008); a four-time state championship qualifier (2008-2011), including a medalist (11th place) in 2010; and a second-team all-state choice (2010). Shannon also helped her team to a four Section 6 runners-up finishes (2007-2010); and a first-place berth in Class C-2 (2011).
In track, her highlights include being the school record holder in the 800, 1,500 and 3,000 meters and the 2,000 steeplechase where she also holds the CCAA record; being part of the school record-setting 3,200 relay; earning CCAA meet individual titles in the 800 (2008, 2011) and the steeplechase (2009, 2010 and 2011); claiming a fifth place at the state meet (2010); capturing Section 6 championships in the steeplechase (2009 and 2010); and earning The Post-Journal's girls track Athlete of the Year (2011), the Super 8 MVP (2011), the Joe Paterniti Sportsmanship Award (2012) and the Falconer team MVP (2010, 2011, 2012).
And those accomplishments - the team hasn't lost a CCAA meet in six years - don't include all of her honors this spring as the application deadline was more than a full month before the end of her track season.
"The success of this track and field team means as much to her as her own individual performances,'' LeBaron said. "Shannon's work ethic and commitment to team is quite remarkable."
In the classroom, she compiled a 99 average and will continue her education at the State University of New York at Geneseo where she plans to major in biochemistry with designs on a career in medicinal research.
"Academically, I have found Shannon to be a teacher's dream,'' LeBaron said.
Outside the classroom, she is involved in the Falconer Honor Society; Relay for Life; the Falconer Girls Athletic Association as its secretary; the Math Club; and the student government, where she is the class historian. Shannon is also the director of Chautauqua County Footsteps (a teen-led Christian group in Chautauqua County); is a lifeguard at Jamestown Community College; the treasurer of the Falconer Track Club, a volunteer coach for the Falconer Flyers and a seventh-grade student tutor.
Other honors include: Bausch & Lomb Honorary Science Award; JCC College Connections Student of the Year (2011); JCC Dean's List; Wendy's High School Heisman state finalist; and National Merit Scholarship Commended Student.
"Shannon has been an important member of our school and the community," said high school principal Jeff Jordan.
But, as noted above, there is more to Shannon than accomplishments and activities.
"When I asked her what she attributes her ability to make moral and responsible decisions,'' wrote high school guidance counselor Tina Duliba, "she responded, 'My parents. They have taught me that it is my responsibility to assist others, and that I have a civic responsibility to my family and community."'
To that end, Shannon has been developing that character trait since she was a just a little girl.
As a 9-year-old, she ran in her first road race on a New Year's Eve "Resolution Run" with her uncle in Ohio. By the end of the 3.1-mile run, Shannon finished in 306th place in a field of about 600 and ended up writing an essay about the experience for a sixth-grade English class.
"Although I didn't win any award and I got sick in front of about 100 spectators, I didn't care,'' Shannon wrote in December 2005. "Nothing could tarnish my self-achieving victory. Now every year I go back out to Ohio and and I re-live that race. It reminds me of the brave little girl who tried something new, accomplished it, and never gave up.''
Fast forward more than six years to last night's graduation and a post-commencement gathering at nearby Tracy Plaza.
"I am giving Shannon a big hug,'' LeBaron wrote, "(and) saying goodbye to an unforgettable student/athlete and hello to a life-long friend."
Past winners of the Hyde Scholarship are: 1985, Steve Penhollow, Cassadaga Valley; 1986, Rich Crane, Sherman; 1987, Nancy Dornsife, Randolph; 1988, Mary Mansfield, Pine Valley; 1989, Jackson Rohm, Southwestern; 1990, Pam Crowell, Pine Valley; 1991, Cory Emory, Sherman; 1992, Ken Davenport, Falconer; 1993, Jennifer Tate, Falconer; 1994, Justin Johnson, Jamestown; 1995, Andy McMaster, Jamestown; 1996, Patrick Swanson, Sherman; 1997, Adam Beckerink, Frewsburg; 1998, Matthew Baideme, Westfield; 1999, Leigh Baumgart, Falconer; 2000, Craig Swanson, Jamestown; 2001, Trevor Cable, Frewsburg; 2002, Kathy Baum, Ripley; 2003, Ashley Kulju, Maple Grove; 2004, Rob Prinzi, Jamestown; 2005, Matt Mazgaj, Southwestern; 2006, Natalie Thorpe, Southwestern; 2007, Michael McGinnis, Falconer; 2008, Nicole Frederickson, Jamestown; 2009, Jennifer Andrews, Randolph; 2010, Mallory Deuink, Clymer; and 2011, Joey Campion, Jamestown.