Lowe's Hometown Heroes program acknowledges the accomplishments of North Carolina high school students who excel in the combined areas of academics, community service and athletics. Nicholas will receive an awards package, including a plaque, as well as tickets to the May Winston Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway, where he will be recognized for his award during the race.
Northern Vance High School will receive a $1,000 Lowe's gift card on Nicholas' behalf.
"Nicholas has excelled in the classroom, on the playing field and in his community," said Sylvester Bulluck, Nicholas' coach on the Northern Vance tennis team. Now a junior at Northern Vance, Nicholas has twice received the "Athlete's Foot" award, given to the tennis player who best exemplifies good sportsmanship, leadership and scholarship. He has lettered in soccer for three years and was named to the Henderson Daily Dispatch's All-Area Soccer team for 2002 as a midfielder. Nicholas was also twice elected co-captain of the tennis team.
In the classroom, Nicholas has excelled by earning 23 "A" grades and only one "B," all while taking the most academically rigorous classes, including advance placement classes in U.S. history and environmental science, honors English and advanced math. He will attend Boy's State and also the Governor's School West this summer, one of four nominees from Vance County.
Previously, Nicholas has represented Northern Vance at Summer Ventures in Math and Science at Western Carolina University.
Nicholas' actions and activities benefit his community as well. While earning his Eagle Scout award, Nicholas recognized the need for benches at a town park, home to the county's only public tennis courts. He solicited donations of building materials from his local Lowe's and other area businesses and organized a group of scouts to build six benches.
He has also volunteered hundreds of hours interning at the local Chamber of Commerce, where he stuffed envelopes, wrote news articles, and wrote and taped community service spots for the local radio station among other duties.
"Nicholas brings the highest level of performance to any task he undertakes," said Eric Pierce, principal of Northern Vance High School. "His efforts make our team, our school and our community better."
"Nicholas Long III is not only an accomplished student athlete, but he consistently shows the qualities of a strong leader and community advocate," said Gray Abercrombie, Lowe's divisional marketing manager. "He is an excellent choice for the Lowe's Hometown Hero award, and we are pleased to recognize his accomplishments this way."