SPORTS

U-Prep's Rebecca Gaido, Ryan Osborne of Fall River named 2022 Scholar-Athlete winners

Ethan Hanson
Redding Record Searchlight

High school seniors Ryan Osborne of Fall River and Rebecca Gaido of U-Prep took top honors at a Thursday luncheon where they were announced the 2022 Scholar-Athlete boys and girls winners. 

Osborne is the fifth student to win the competitive Scholar-Athlete award from Fall River and the first Bulldog since Jace Neugebauer in 2016. 

Gaido became the fourth student from U-Prep to win the Scholar-Athlete award and the first Panther to win the acclaim since Matt Hatter in 2015.

Rebecca Gaido of U-Prep holds the plaque she received for being named the 2022 Record Searchlight/Rotary Club of Redding/Seamans Family Foundation Scholar-Athlete girls winner on Thursday, May 12, 2022. Ryan Osborne of Fall River was the boys winner but couldn't attend the ceremony at the Elks Lodge because he was competing at a track and field championship meet.

The two students were among a dozen finalists for the scholarship award, a North State tradition for graduating high school seniors since 1983. The only time the award was suspended was in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Record Searchlight, the Rotary Club of Redding and the Seamans Family Foundation each serve on a selection committee to review student applications. This year, the judges received 27 applications from Shasta, Siskiyou and Tehama counties.

Longtime Rotary Club of Redding member and Scholar-Athlete judge Steve Westlake noted the effort each of the students exerted on and off the field to earn their spot as finalists.

Ryan Osborne of Fall River was named the 2022 Record Searchlight/Rotary Club of Redding/Seamans Family Foundation Scholar-Athlete boys winner on Thursday, May 12, 2022.

"We had tremendous candidates and it's nice to see we have strong leadership skills leading us into the future," Westlake said. "It's unbelievable with what's gone on the last two years to see these young leaders battle through adversity. It makes us all very proud and it makes us all sleep better at night knowing there are leaders in the future."

Osborne and Gaido each received $1,500 scholarships. Each of the finalists received $500 scholarships.

About Rebecca Gaido

Gaido has accepted a soccer scholarship at Eastern Washington University.

She led U-Prep to three CIF Northern Section titles during her tenure as one of her team's midfielders. She also runs track and was a top five finisher at the 2021 CIF Northern Section Cross Country championships. 

She managed to fit community activities into her busy sports schedule. 

"I somehow try to get some sleep in there because that's always a struggle," Gaido said. "I try to balance my sports and school life as best I can."

She is fluent in Chinese and did a summer program teaching English to students in Beijing and Dezhou while in the eighth grade.

She stayed with host families in Dezhou and taught students between the sixth and 12th grades.

Gaido said she started learning Chinese in kindergarten while attending Redding School of the Arts and studied in China in the eighth grade.

"We got the (students) and their families during the day and did some fun activities," Gaido said. "We got to go home with the families and have a really cool cross-cultural experience."

Gaido was also a volunteer at the YMCA and replanted California native plants along the Sacramento River Trail after the Carr Fire in 2019. 

About Ryan Osborne

The 2021-22 season was a year chocked full of achievements for Osborne, who accepted an athletic and academic scholarship to play football at Harvard University this fall. His plan is to enter Harvard's pre-medicine program with the goal of becoming an orthopedic surgeon.

Osborne became the first athlete from Shasta County to earn the annual CIF Scholar-Athlete award, considered the most prestigious award given by California's governing high school sports body.

He also led Fall River to a perfect 13-0 season which culminated in the Bulldogs winning the CIF State Division 7-AA bowl game — becoming the first football team in Shasta County history to win a state football championship.

Osborne led efforts at Fall River to help students who were battling emotional and mental issues related to the coronavirus pandemic. He started a peer mentoring program that paired seniors at his school with sixth, seventh and eighth-graders. 

He was also a referee for youth basketball games at Fall River Elementary School, was voted as vice president of student council twice and was named the school's FFA president during the 2021-22 school year.

Osborne was interviewed at the Reach Higher Shasta college signing event on Wednesday because he was expected to compete in the CIF Northern Section Division IV Track and Field Championships on Thursday at West Valley High School when the awards luncheon took place at the Redding Elks Lodge.

"I want to start off by thanking the Rotary Club of Redding, the Seamans Foundation, and Record Searchlight for naming me as the 2022 Scholar-Athlete of the Year. I'm really appreciative for the award," Osborne said. "I'm really thankful for the opportunity to get help with my future career." 

Westlake noted that future Record Searchlight Scholar-Athletes have to possess traits such as commitment, focus and discipline. Future candidates also have to achieve a high GPA as well as be committed in various extracurricular activities, such as school clubs and performing arts. They also have to take on community service opportunities.

"Don't just stop at playing sports," Westlake said. "Excel in all entities that will get you considered for an award as prestigious as this."

Ethan Hanson started working for the Redding Record Searchlight after four years with the Los Angeles Daily News as a freelancer. His coverage includes working the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament in South Bend, Indiana, and writing about the St. Louis Rams' move to Los Angeles with the Ventura County Star. He began his career as a play-by-play broadcaster for LA Pierce College from 2011-2017. Follow him on Twitter at @EthanAHanson_RS.