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A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Joey Zerafa receives Atherton Heart Award Scholarship

Robby Atherton would have definitely approved of the 2013 scholarship winner.
For one, both Robby and Joey Zerafa attended Eisenhower High School. For another, both were or will be Michigan State Spartans.
Both also played both multiple sports and were outstanding in each.
Sadly, Robby Atherton was not able to present Zerafa with the $1,200 Heart Award Scholarship during The Macomb Daily’s annual all-county basketball awards banquet Tuesday at the Mirage.
It was just nine years ago when Robby Atherton was named the county Player of the Year.
Four years ago, his life ended.
In an effort to make sure that the profound impact Robby had on his teammates, coaches, student body and others never ends, the Robby Atherton Foundation was founded. To date, over $180,000 has been distributed as part of its mission to support children and families in need, provide community assistance and scholarships to student-athletes.
The Robby Atherton Heart Award Scholarship is awarded annually to an All-County player who strives to obtain the highest level of performance – on and off the court – through dedication, perseverance, sportsmanship, leadership, teamwork and heart.

                             Joey Zerafa
Zerafa, the son of Don and Mary Zerafa, was voted All-County Class A Defensive Team. A three-year starter, Zerafa was the captain of the basketball team. He was also quarterback and captain of Ike’s football team. Even though he was honored as one of the top five defenders in the county, he was also a huge contributor offensively; hitting 44 three-pointers, scoring 182 points and dishing 48 assists to go along with his 57 steals.
“Joey has a competitive spirit and ability to make others better that you just can’t teach. He drew the assignment of covering the other team’s best player every night and caused fits for our opponents,” said coach Dave Schwesinger. “As impressive as his stats seem his biggest effect on the team can’t be seen in stats. Kids flock to Joey and look to him for leadership.”
Zerafa has a 3.66 grade point average and is also a member of the National Honor Society. He will attend Michigan State University this fall.
Atherton received his Bachelor of Arts in Finance in May of 2008.
The work of the Robby Atherton Foundation never ceases. On Sunday, May 5, the Robby Atherton Foundation will sponsor the Special Dreams Farm 5th annual Walk/Run. There will be a 5k and 10k run and a 5k walk at Stony Creek Metropark’s Eastwood Beach. The Special Dreams Farm was established to supply the special needs community with opportunities to work, learn and live.  For more information, contact
Also, on Saturday, May 18, the fourth annual Robby Atherton Memorial Softball Tournament and Tailgate will be held at Mae Stecker Park on 24 Mile just east of Van Dyke. A limited number of team openings are available, so register early. Even if you’re not playing, it should be a great day at the park.  There will be hot dogs, chips and pop. People are asked to bring a dish to pass, some chairs and blankets, and their “A” game. For more information, call 586.781.8290.


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