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2019 Thomas Hines Outstanding Senior Award: Cal Maxwell

Getting to know Thomas Hines Outstanding Senior Award Recipient: Cal Maxwell

Each year the department faculty choose a student for this award based on these qualifications: Demonstrates leadership abilities inside the classroom, through class contributions and participation Displays leadership in extracurricular activities, outside of the classroom setting and requirements. Academically successful by maintaining a GPA of 3.25 or higher Dedicated to the profession and involved in a professional organization/association/or club that promotes leadership, expertise and career development

How do you feel about winning this award?

My time at NC State has been nothing short of spectacular. It is an honor to be awarded the Thomas I. Hines Outstanding Senior for the Department of Park, Recreation, and Tourism Management for this year. This award is voted on by the faculty of the department. Although I have been able to accomplish a lot during my time here at State, it was all able to come to fruition due to the support and help of so many people. Thank you to all of the incredible professors and faculty of the department.  

What made you decide to major in Sport Management?

I chose Sport Management as my major because growing up, I saw the positive impact athletics had on my life and those around me. Sport Management seemed like a great avenue to help take that impact and use it as part of my future career.  

How and why did you create the Spirit League for Children?

During my high school days in Asheville, NC, I played on the basketball team and developed a strong relationship with one of my assistant coaches, Mike Schoor. Mike moved to Apex, NC after my junior year, and we reconnected when I came to school here at State. Mike has a stepdaughter with autism and noticed that she did not have a basketball league of her own here in the triangle area. Mike also knew that I grew up with an autistic cousin who loved to play basketball. This was something we really connected over and we got together and he presented the idea of a basketball program for teens and young adults with special needs in the triangle area. We saw the need for a program like this in the area and we jumped on the idea. We got connected with local Special Education teachers, found a gym space with some basketballs, and from there Spirit League was born.  

Where do you get your personal motivation?

My personal motivation comes from a lot of areas such as family and friends. However, the most important part of who I am is my faith in Jesus Christ. That is where my identity lies and it is what pushes me to love and serve those around me. When I was five years old, I was in a bad car accident and was almost killed. I had to get 60 stitches to close a massive wound on my face. Everyday I wake up and look at that scar knowing that God kept me alive that night for a purpose. I am incredibly blessed to be in the position I am right now and I have a unique opportunity to try and have a positive impact on those around me through my words and actions.  

What has been a highlight of your time at NC State?

These past four years at NC State have been incredible. This was my dream school, and it lived up to all of my expectations. There are so many highlights, but the biggest ones to me are the relationships I have built. I have made many life-long friends through NC State that I would not trade them for anything.  

What are your plans following graduation?

While I am not sure what my immediate plans are for after graduation, I plan to be in the area working in either business development or within the recreation field. I plan to stay in the Raleigh area so that I can continue to work with Spirit League.  

What is your dream job?

I would have to say my dream job is to one day help Spirit League become a national organization. I would love to see it positively impact teens and young adults with special needs all over the country and possibly all over the world.    

Read more about Cal on this CNR Graduation to Vocation Article