The MAC Scholar Athlete (MACSA) program has been a tradition for more than 50 years. As is the case with any program with longevity, evolutions have happened along the way. As it stands today, it is a cohort of 29 young people from high schools across the Portland Metro Area.
The program is led by a joint committee of individuals from MAC and the Multnomah Athletic Foundation (MAF) who have developed its current purpose statement. Spencer Raymond, former MAC Scholar Athlete and current MACSA Committee member explains, “by defining a formal purpose statement, the commit- tee is better suited to serve the students and make the experience of the program relevant and meaningful.”
Part of the program’s continued success is the alumni who realize the value of their experience and remain involved to this day.
Receiving the MAC Scholar Athlete award in 2004 as a 15-year-old sophomore golfer and soccer player at St. Mary’s Academy was a life-changing moment for Anna Friedhoff. She realized that one doesn’t have to be just a student or just an athlete. Excelling in both areas is possible. This awareness carried Friedhoff through playing Division I golf at Gonzaga University and studying law at University of Oregon. Her selection as a Scholar Athlete ignited her desire to find success in many aspects of her life, something she has demonstrated in her work as an attorney and shareholder at Stahancyk, Kent & Hook Portland, as a board member of the University Club board and South Portland Neighborhood Association, and as a Multnomah Athletic Foundation scholarship reader.
Looking back, she recognizes that being an athlete — the competition and working hard to be the best — helped prepare her to be a successful adult. “Golf is a solo sport, so there is no calling-in sick or having teammates back you up. The same thing goes professionally. You have to push and work hard to follow through.”
MAC Scholar Athlete Purpose Statement: The MAC Scholar Athlete Program accelerates the success of promising students by providing access to a community that enhances athletic performance, educational opportunities, and social connections.
Friedhoff believes, especially as a woman, that being competitive is a positive attribute. “When you are working with other people, especially in law, they want you to be tough, and resilient, and strong.” She learned these traits through sports. Her golf coach used to say, “It’s not about pictures, it’s about numbers.” It’s not about appearances or expensive equipment, it’s about your effort, showing up and following through. Friedhoff still plays golf, although she does not always shoot her expected score in the 70s. She does, however, consider herself to be a good ringer when playing with friends and enjoys being on the course.
One of the perks of being a Scholar Athlete is a MAC membership during high school. Friedhoff has continued her club membership as an adult and feels very proud and special to have earned it through the scholarship program. She uses MAC’s facilities to run, walk and take spin classes. She also loves the club’s social aspects. While Friedhoff says she will never be able to thank the foundation and the club enough for the scholarship and the opportunity to be a MAC Scholar Athlete, volunteering on a scholarship review team is a start. She is impressed by her team- mates’ dedication, participation and active involvement. She admits that she is likely one of the toughest reviewers because she uses her 15-year-old scholarship-recipient self as a benchmark.
To learn more about the MAC Scholar Athlete program or to volunteer with the foundation on a scholarship review team, visit our MAC Scholar Athlete page.
The foundation is making a concerted effort to create a MACSA alumni networking group. Readers who are former MACSA or know a former MACSA are encouraged to reach out to us via our contact page.
Written by Jenny Todenhagen from the Joint MACSA Committee.
Originally published in the April 2021 Issue of The Winged M magazine.