On May 26th, the YES Prep Hobby gymnasium was buzzing with excitement as students, staff and families gathered for the Athletics & ASPIRE program's inaugural YES Prep Hobby ESPY banquet. Modeled after the popular ESPY Awards, this event celebrated the accomplishments of our student athletes and recognized their hard work and dedication throughout the year.
From standout performances on the basketball court to classroom achievements, the YES Prep Hobby ESPY banquet honored the top athletes and sports performances of the year. Our program's talented and driven student athletes and contributors were recognized for their achievements in a variety of categories, including Athlete of the Year, All-District Awards, the JOY award and Parent of the Year!
The event not only celebrated the accomplishments of our student athletes, but also brought our community together in a spirit of camaraderie and support.
How the ESPYs came together
The event couldn’t have been possible without the help of two of YES Prep Hobby’s most devout staff members — Anthony Gipson, athletic director and Jalicia Hines, ASPIRE coordinator — who wanted to give students a one-of-a-kind experience that they could look forward to in the future.
The idea was originally brought to attention when Gipson was curious how many of his students were familiar with what a banquet was. “I wanted to host an ‘ESPYs-like’ event for our students regardless, but a big factor was to show them what a banquet experience feels like. They know they get recognized at the end of the school year for their work in the classroom, but not on the court and on the field.”
Gipson wanted to show that giving Aviator athletes something to appreciate and commemorate could serve as a great motivator in life, and also, that you can get rewarded for your hard work.
Now the stage had been set, but Gipson knew in order to bring the event to life, he would need a running mate. When Hines found out about the idea, she knew it would work because of how well the two had worked together. “I always want to go big for my kids. They deserve it,” said Hines. “So, when Gip[son] proposed the idea, I helped lay out a plan and we ran with it. It was so seamless because we work well as a team.”
The ESPY event itself was extremely detailed, down to the “red-carpet runway” theme which played off Hobby’s mascot, the Aviator. Before taking off to their seats, students strolled through the runway, showing off their Sunday Best outfits and preparing to enjoy a night of celebration and receive awards alongside their peers.
"We wanted to start with everybody there first, walking that red carpet so they could feel special. That was the first thing.” said Gipson. “We took some great pictures to make our students feel special and after that, we ate our dinner while attendees connected with students, coaches, staff and families.”
The catered dinner set the perfect tone for the night, building anticipation for the main event. At the first ESPYs, a plethora of prestigious awards were presented, including the ASPIRE award, All-District Awards, Parent of the Year Award and the highly coveted Athlete of the Year Awards, affectionately known as Mr. and Miss Aviator.
Athlete of the Year
Celebrate Emily Tovar and Joseph "JoJo" Aguilar, our incredible 9th grade stars and tri-sport athletes, as they took the crowns of Hobby's inaugural Mr. and Miss Aviator! Gipson raved about their outstanding contributions to Hobby's athletics department, saying, "Their impact is truly commendable. These exemplary athletes not only excel in multiple sports but also lead the way in academics, setting the bar high for us all. Let's give them a big round of applause for their exceptional achievements!”
Parent of the Year
At the banquet, amidst all the excitement, one moment truly stood out - the award for Parent of the Year. And the deserving recipient? None other than the incredible Mrs. Toyama. "She went so above and beyond helping me out this year," Gipson shared. "So being able to recognize her and seeing her light up made me so happy."
Toyama went above and beyond to support the program in countless ways. From running concession stands at the games to providing unwavering assistance to Gipson, she consistently ensured a positive experience for each and every student-athlete.
But it was a particular act of selflessness that truly touched hearts. On her own wedding anniversary, Toyama and her husband chose to spend their special day working the concessions at one of the games. This gesture left no doubt in Gipson's mind - this remarkable parent deserved to be recognized and appreciated!
Awardees and Shoutouts
Congratulations to all our amazing awardees this year! You can see the full list of winners below including a special shoutout to Principal Brown who played a monumental role in making the banquet a success.
Athlete of the Year
Emily Tovar 9th: Volleyball, Basketball, Soccer
Joseph "JoJo' Aguilar 9th: Cross Country, Basketball, Soccer
Parent of the Year
Mrs. Toyama, YES Prep Hobby Parent
Emily Tovar 9th : Volleyball, Basketball, Soccer
Zy’ Kore Dolfe 8th : Basketball, Soccer
Issac Rosales 9th : Basketball
Melany Ojeda 9th : Soccer
Manuel Orazco 9th : Soccer
All Academic Award - Joseph Aguliar 9th : Cross Country, Basketball, Soccer
Ana Cruz: ASPIRE Assistant
A big shoutout to Principal Brown, who is fully committed to creating the most phenomenal experience for the students at Hobby. Not only did she assist in capturing beautiful pictures of families and kids, but she also stayed actively involved by texting the event coordinators to ensure everything was running smoothly. Most importantly, she prioritizes campus staff's well-being and encourages others to take time for themselves. YES Prep Hobby couldn't ask for a better leader!
The Importance of Enrichment
Enrichment programs, whether held during or after school, are the secret to helping students thrive and become well-rounded individuals. Not only do they introduce students to exciting new interests and opportunities, but they also ignite focus and creativity in the classroom.
Hines’ time with students revealed to her the key to keeping students engaged and motivated. “Academic success is important, but let's not forget the power of enrichment. Those extra two hours after school make a huge difference in shaping students into who they were meant to be.”
It brings out another side of the students. Things they can't experience in an academic setting, such as art, basketball, technology, etc. are what enrichment was designed for, and both Gipson and Hines agree that these programs enable students to be more focused and approach learning in a whole new way.
Through these efforts, our students have the chance to explore their gifts, develop new skills and pursue their passions. And events like the YES Prep Hobby ESPY banquet provide a platform to celebrate their accomplishments, recognize their hard work and inspire them to continue striving for excellence.
Let's take a moment to reflect on this incredible event and celebrate the amazing impact of our extracurricular programs on the lives of our students!
Click here to scroll through our Hobby ESPYs photos
Click here to rewatch the livestream of the event