McCormick & Company has announced some major changes, including four new scholarships worth a combined $25,000, for its annual Unsung Heroes Banquetwhich will be held for the 77th time in May of 2017.

The event, which began as a way to honor the unsung heroes of local high school football teams, in 1940, also began honoring girls basketball players in 1987. Since then one male and one female Unsung Hero have each received the Charles Perry McCormick Scholarship, currently valued at $40,000 over four years. This tradition will continue, but in 2017 Unsung Hero honorees will no longer be limited to just football and girls basketball.

All participating schools, select private schools in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) and the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland (IAAM) as well as all of the public schools in Baltimore City and Baltimore County, will now be able to nominate one male and one female Unsung Hero, regardless of sport, to attend the banquet and be considered for scholarship awards.

“Opening the Unsung Heroes Program up to all sports gives a larger number of High School Students an opportunity to be recognized for their unselfish play and dedication to their team.”  

This is not the only major change coming in 2017 to the Unsung Heroes Program. In addition to the $80,000 committed to the two grand prize winners, McCormick has added four new scholarships. Two 2nd prize scholarships, one male and one female, have been added with each winner receiving a one time scholarship of $7,500. In addition, two 3rd prize scholarship winners, again one male and one female, will also be selected to receive a one time scholarship of $5,000 each.

“Giving back to communities where we live and work has always been a very important part of McCormick’s history and culture.   By investing in these young people we are helping to create stronger futures for them and their families.  We’ve been very proud to have awarded over one million dollars towards this amazing program.”

Since 1969, McCormick has awarded more than 1,000,000 in scholarships to Unsung Hero winners. This total will now increase by more than $100,000 annually.

Of course, every student-athlete nominated is a winner. In addition to being recognized with their peers for the inspiring contributions they make to their teams, schools and communities, in front of their family, coaches and administrators, the Unsung Heroes are the stars of the night at the Unsung Hero Banquet, enjoying a fabulous meal, positive media attention, and a keynote address from a nationally renowned speaker.

Also, weeks prior to the dinner, all Unsung Hero honorees are invited to the Baltimore Ravens M&T Bank Stadium for a Night with the Ravens. During this evening, the athletes and  a guest enjoy a meal  and participate in various skills competitions, while interacting with a Ravens’ player, the team’s mascot Poe and the Ravens’ cheerleaders. All of this, as well as gift packages with various items from  the Ravens and McCormick.

The 2017 keynote speaker has not yet been announced, but last year the address was given by University of Maryland Women’s Basketball Coach Brenda Frese. The year before, NFL quarterback Peyton Manning was at the dais. Going back even further, speakers have included a who’s who list of local and national legends, including Brooks Robinson, Jesse Owens, Lenny Moore, Johnny Unitas, Roger Staubach, Mary Lou Retton, Dick Vitale, Dr. Ben Carson, John Harbaugh and Wes Moore, among many others.

“We look for speakers with an inspiring message, especially ones that have a positive impact on the students as they take next steps into their future.  We want them to come away with a feeling that they’ve been honored for their unselfishness and inspired by someone who values their contributions to their schools and their teams.  All of these are very important life lessons.”