Two Washington High School Varsity Football Players Each Win $5,000 in Qwest...

Two Washington High School Varsity Football Players Each Win $5,000 in Qwest Leadership Challenge; Leadership Challenge Also Awards $500 Grants to 97 Washington Nonprofits


Seattle, WA–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – BUSINESS WIRE)–September 26, 2005–The Seattle Seahawks and Qwest Communications International, Inc (NYSE: Q) today announced two student athletes will receive $5,000 from the Seattle Seahawks and Qwest scholarship program in recognition for their outstanding achievements in their communities. Nate Thompson, University High School (Spokane), and Ben Fritsch, Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy High School (Everett), were chosen from nearly 100 varsity football players in the state of Washington to represent their high schools in a statewide competition called the Qwest Leadership Challenge. This challenge invited football players from each of Washington’s 331 high school football programs to volunteer in their community.

“We created this program with Qwest to recognize outstanding student athletes and to showcase them as role models throughout the state,” said Seattle Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke. “The Seattle Seahawks are very excited about this program, which showcases football’s inherent qualities.”

Thompson’s and Fritsch’s projects were selected from numerous worthy submissions because each individual demonstrated strong written and motivational skills to go along with their fundraising efforts and community involvement. Thompson partnered with the Spokane Valley Food Bank to create “Have a Ball This Summer,” a program through which more than 1,800 baseballs, tennis balls, bats, rackets and hula hoops were distributed to needy children, many without homes, much less toys to play with. The entire community of Spokane became involved and 180 service hours were also donated, far surpassing the 40-hour minimum set forth in the scholarship program guidelines.

Fritsch led a group of students in a project called “The Whole Nine Yards,” through which more than 450 hours of service were dedicated to the upkeep of the yards and homes of 11 elderly Snohomish County residents identified by the Volunteer Chore Services as needing help. The Volunteer Chore Services program allows the elderly and sick to keep their houses and remain independent instead of having to live in a retirement or group home. Fritsch still leads a group of regular volunteers throughout this football season.

“Qwest is proud to work with the Seattle Seahawks to honor student athletes, and we are committed to making a positive difference in the communities where we live and work,” said Kirk Nelson, Qwest president for Washington. “This volunteer program challenges high school football players to inspire their teammates, classmates and community members to promote activism and service, which we achieved with more than 3,800 volunteer hours collectively served.”

In addition to $5,000 scholarships, Thompson and Fritsch each received a check from Qwest for $500 to be donated to their respective community programs. Other participating student athletes will be given a $500 grant for the benefit of the nonprofit organization where they donated their time.

The high school players will be recognized at a special game-time ceremony at the Sept. 25, Seattle Seahawks/Arizona Cardinals game.

About Qwest

Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) is a leading provider of high-speed Internet, data, video and voice services. With approximately 40,000 employees, Qwest is committed to the “Spirit of Service” and providing world-class services that exceed customers’ expectations for quality, value and reliability. For more information, please visit the Qwest Web site at

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Two Washington High School Varsity Football Players Each Win $5,000 in Qwest Leadership Challenge; Leadership Challenge Also Awards $500 Grants to 97 Washington Nonprofits