Jacob Chaplin, 2020

FLAG Flag Football is excited to present their 2020 Marc E. Lewis Youth Scholarship in the amount of $3,500 to Jacob Chaplin from Blackstone, Massachusetts. Jacob is currently a senior at Blackstone-Millville Regional High School. His contribution and efforts within his community reflect who the scholarship was founded—a graduating senior who has made high school and/or community sports safer for and more inclusive of LGBTQ+ student athletes.

One of Jacob’s goals within his community is to emphasize inclusivity and acceptance in both athletic programming and the community at large. He has been a Cross Country and Track and Field athlete throughout his high school career, serving as Captain of this year’s Varsity Indoor Track Team. He is the current president of his school’s Student Council, plays leadership roles in several other extracurricular activities, and leads workshops on leadership and communication. In all that he does, he makes a difference through sports and activities to better the environment for all.

Jacob leads by example by being true to himself as an openly gay athlete. He continually addresses offensive and demeaning language by others. He leads his team by interrupting demeaning language and explaining the impact of people’s words and actions. He takes the time to ensure that offensive words and behaviors are addressed, even if they are used by or in front of fellow athletes and friends. Jacob explains that offensive language, even in jest with friends, affects the community at large as anyone in the community could be LGBTQ and that using demeaning terms could foster a hurtful or negative environment. The Head Cross Country and Track and Field Coach at Blackstone-Milville, Symonne Scott, said, “He has grown and blossomed into a confident, outspoken advocate for his community. He joined the team as a quiet, timid young man and has since found his voice and has used it to empower not only his fellow teammates but his peers who have yet to find their voice.”

As an elected leader of the student council, Jacob is able to utilize a variety of outlets to promote LGBTQ acceptance for the community at large. He partners with the Gay Straight Alliance at BMR as well as outside organizations including Special Olympics and regional community partners. At school lunches, the GSA holds activities to demonstrate identity, create acceptance of varying identities, and to show off your own. Jacob serves as a role model by embracing the ideals of inclusivity and acceptance through his personal actions and by educating others. His efforts embody the promotion of inclusivity for the LGBTQ community and beyond, reaching out to various communities and groups that may feel left out.

Coach Scott went on to say, “[Jacob] is truly a role-model for future generations, demonstrating it is OK to be who you are and to always speak your truth, even in the face of adversity.”

Jacob will be attending the University of Maine in the fall to study political science. FLAG Flag Football is honored to present Jacob with the Marc E. Lewis Youth Scholarship for not only his efforts thus far, but what we know he will achieve in his future endeavors.