William Monroe High School rising senior Evan Wagner was honored last Tuesday as the second-ever recipient of a summer camp scholarship honoring Ethan Paladino who passed away in 2016.
In February 2015, Paladino learned he had a brain tumor known as Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. He passed away at the age of 12, but his love of football lives on through the award that sends one Greene County high school student to a summer football camp. Wagner will attend Sports International Football Camp featuring members of the Washington Redskins next month.
“It means a lot to me because when I go to camp I’m not just going for myself, I’m going for Ethan,” Wagner said, adding that it was a heartwarming moment to meet the Paladino family. “It was a great experience meeting them and realizing this is for their son.”
Mike Cochran of VFW Post 1827 presented Wagner with the award on June 11.
“We’re looking for student athletes who are also engaged in the community because that’s something Ethan was passionate about,” he said. “Evan’s resume and recommendations from the school fit right in line with the ethos that Ethan subscribed to. We’re trying to drive home the concept of being part of something bigger than yourself. We don’t want to let the legacy and the light that Ethan put out fade.”
Wagner says he’s looking forward to bringing back what he learns from the three-day camp to Monroe. William Monroe’s head football coach Jon Rocha agreed.
“He’s the complete player—character, attitude, performance. If he gets one thing out of this camp and brings it back, whether that’s technique or leadership, that’s great for us,” Rocha said.
Wagner has suited up for Monroe since he was an eighth-grader, playing both tight end and defensive end positions. He earned an all-district second-team nod for his performance at tight end last season. He is also the goalie for the boys soccer team. Wagner said he’s looking forward to his senior season and looking into playing football at the next level upon graduation.
“I’m looking forward to playing with the same people and playing with them all one last time,” he said.
William Monroe’s first game of the 2019-20 season is slated for Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. against Turner Ashby High School. Information about the annual Ethan Paladino football scholarship will be available through the high school and at www.myvfw.org/va/post1827 around August.