With a winning essay and video, along with your votes, this student athlete has won his school team $5,000!

Connor Grogan and his football coaches found out on Christmas even that Connor had been selected as the 2012 Heart of a Giant winner and was honored at this past game with a check that will benefit the whole team!

The award recognizes athletes who not only work hard but have persevered in the face of adversity with an indomitable will and characher. While most athletes discussed themselves in their essays explaining why they should win, here's what Connor wrote:


"I would like to take this time to turn the focus towards my football team as a whole. After all, football is the ultimate team game. Just three weeks ago, our community of Manasquan, New Jersey was hit with a hurricane that caused damage more devastating than we ever could have imagined. To walk out of the house (many not our own because we were forced to evacuate) on Tuesday, October 30 and see that everything we had ever known our whole lives was turned into rubble was an indescribable feeling of tragedy. We could have retreated back inside and drowned in our sorrows. We could have complained to one another about what material items we lost as a result of the “superstorm.” We did just the opposite, though. We as a team acted like Warriors and showed determination like I had never seen before. The Manasquan High School football team sprung into action, unloading trucks of food and supplies at local churches and digging through countless pounds of sand to rescue people from their beachfront homes. Absolutely no one should have had to see the things we saw, but we kept the course. We went toe-to-toe with adversity and persevered.

A week later, the community and the team was once again in a hole. A brutal snow storm left “Vic Kubu Warrior Field” covered in six inches of snow just three days before our scheduled home game against division rival Rumson-Fair Haven. There was obviously work to be done at our respective homes cleaning up after the hurricane, but we opted to come together as a team and shovel the entire field to get it ready for the game. We knew the pople needed a home football game that weekend to get their minds away from all that had panned out.

Saturday rolls around and the fourth quarter of the game has begun. We are losing 9 – 0. How fitting. We are faced with another difficult obatacle to overcome, and once again, we showed that you cannot underestimate the heart of a Warrior. A couple big plays later I am on my knees crying as the scoreboard reads 14-9 in our favor.

Two weeks worth of pain and frustration turned into happiness as tears streamed down my face. In my 17 years, I have never been more proud to be a part of not just a team, but a whole community."

As the Grand Prize winner, Connor received a $5,000 check for equipment for his high school and recognition on-field during the N.Y. Giants Week 17 home game against Philadelphia.

Coach J. Price has this to say: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime kid who wanted so badly to represent a whole team of them. I know I’m biased but what they did in the time span that they did it was amazing – not to mention we had kids working with us (Connor included) who had not yet been back to their homes! And not one kid ever asked ‘what’s in it for me?’! If there was ever a kid who truly believes he represents EVERYONE around here that was ever deserving of an award recognizing heart, it’s Connor.

And this doesn’t include being diagnosed with a broken bone in his leg but deciding to play through it (x-rays later revealed a severe bone bruise), only to re-enter the game two quarters later to score the game winning TD against Wall on Thanksgiving!”

Congratulations, Connor! You have made a whole lot of people in this community proud!