Junior Daniel Brown of Haddonfield Memorial High School has attained many academic, athletic and community service achievements. Since he was a freshman, he has been keeping his grades high, playing sports and giving back to his community.
For all of his outstanding accomplishments, Brown was awarded the Dwight D. Eisenhower Leadership Award on Wednesday, June 8. The award is given to students interested in going into military service who have great achievements in five categories. Normally given at a ceremony held at West Point, the award was given to Brown at the HMHS library with him surrounded by staff, family and friends.
“I’ve always had an interest in the military and serving my country … I was really excited (to receive this award). I feel like it really shows what you’re able to accomplish at our school and help set my path for the future,” Brown said.
Brown was actually the start of the award being a part of HMHS. When he was a freshman, Brown went to his guidance counselor, Jeff Holman, asking if the award was given at the school. Holman found out it was not, contacted the West Point Society of New Jersey, and had HMHS added as a participating school. The award was first given last year to Jonathan Baxter, a current senior interested in the reserves.
The Dwight D. Eisenhower Leadership Award recognizes high school juniors in New Jersey who demonstrate outstanding performance in the areas of academics, athletics, community service, good citizenship and leadership. According to Holman, Brown represents all of these criteria in amazing ways.
He is a high-A student with a demanding workload, taking two AP classes and planning to take four next year. He is a multi-sport athlete who has participated in soccer, football, swimming and baseball. Brown also holds the leadership position of treasurer in the Haddonfield Fire Company’s Explorer Program, which introduces high school volunteers to firefighting careers.
“With his academic record, athletic achievements, his leadership as well as the fire company exemplified all of the criteria that the award requests,” Holman said.
Those who are chosen to receive the award are invited to West Point for a Leadership Awards Recognition Day. However, Brown did not attend as he had a baseball tournament game to go to, showing his dedication to his hometown and team. Instead, HMHS held a separate ceremony in its library so he could still be recognized.
“I definitely would have liked to have gone, but I think this is more special because a lot of my family and friends could come,” Brown said.
Tom Baird, Haddonfield’s 2016 Citizen of the Year, presented Brown with the award. Baird graduated from HMHS and the United States Military Academy at West Point before serving in the army for three tours in Vietnam, where he earned a Bronze Star of Valor and a Purple Heart. Baird has held various leadership positions in Haddonfield, including president of the Haddonfield Alumni Society, president of the Haddonfield Lions Club and commander of Haddonfield American Legion Post 38.
“It (was) my pleasure to award the Dwight D. Eisenhower Leadership Award to Daniel,” Baird said. “We hope to continue to do this. We have a lot of great young students in our school.”
Brown aspires to attend either the Navy or Army service academies and would like to study engineering or computer science.