It's always awesome to see when local students are recognized for their works in school, and in sports. And recognized at a national level, at that.

Rome Free Academy high school senior Tommy Dunn has been named a Great American Rivalry Series Scholar Athlete for 2020.

In 2004, a company iHigh, Inc. created the Great American Rivalry Series to celebrate this uniquely American sport and the cultural phenomenon of “Friday Night in America.” The Series shines the spotlight on top high school football rivalries across the nation, where long-standing traditions are valued, expectations are sky high, and followers are committed.

Each year, select schools across the country are invited to participate in the Rivalry Series – schools that have always had the game, a traditional rivalry going back many years in which thousands of players, coaches and fans have participated. It is the game "the whole community embraces, looks forward to and talks about all year long."

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Recipients of the GARS Scholar Athlete Award are chosen annually as part of the Great American Rivalry Series which will be activating the program at its 1000th Rivalry game this fall. Scholar Athlete Award winners are recognized for their “on-the-field” and “in-the-classroom" success.

“We are very happy to recognize these senior athletes for their outstanding performance on the field and as students throughout their high school careers” noted Rick Ford, GARS CEO. “In this very unique year, we felt it is even more important that the Great American Rivalry Series and our Presenting Partner, the United States Marines, continue the 17-year tradition of recognizing their achievements.”

With his selection, Dunn will receive a $500 scholarship on behalf of the Great American Rivalry Series and, through a partnership with the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is eligible to become a member of the inaugural Great American Rivalry Series Scholar Athlete Hall of Fame Team.

Dunn is one of 144 GARS Scholar Athletes selected across the country. From those 144 nominees, a 25-member Great American Rivalry Series Scholar Athlete Hall of Fame Team will be determined through a 30-day voting period where friends, family and community can show their support for their Scholar Athlete.

The voting period for all Scholar Athletes will run simultaneously from November 16 to December 14.

Of the 144 nominees, the 25 who receive the most votes will earn their spot on the Inaugural Great American Rivalry Series® Scholar Athlete Hall of Fame Team and receive an additional scholarship.