Throughout the fall season, Erin Dimeglio captured the nation’s attention as she boldly went where no girl had gone before, lining up at quarterback for a Florida varsity high school football team. In the process of her final high school season Dimeglio completed a pass, was named homecoming queen and, more significantly, earned the respect of all her teammates and foes.
Now, the soon-to-graduate South Plantation (Fla.) High senior is earning financial benefits where plaudits had come before. As reported by the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Dimeglio was awarded a $20,000 scholarship presented by Foot Locker’s Scholar Athlete Program and the social change website DoSomething.org. DiMeglio was one of 20 national recepients of the award, chosen from among nearly 26,000 applicants.
"I was speechless. I had no idea what was going on," DiMeglio told the Sun Sentinel. "I didn't read the paper at first. I just wanted to know why all these people were staring at me. It's exciting to win this, to know that someone picked you out of all those people. It's really going to help out my parents."
DiMeglio will use the scholarship at the University of Central Florida, where she hopes to walk on the girls basketball team. The three-sport standout -- she also stars as the quarterback of the flag football team -- was recruited by a handful of smaller girls basketball programs, yet decided that she would rather take her chances at walking on with the Knights.
Given the obstacles and preconceptions she’s already overcome, it’s hard to find any fault in her self confidence.
Her football teammates have little doubt that Dimeglio will achieve what she puts her mind to, at Central Florida and elsewhere thereafter.
"Girls can do anything we can do," South Plantation starting quarterback John Franklin, who signed with Florida State in February, told the Sun Sentinel. "Hard work trumps any gender. She went through everything we went through. Everything we had to do, she had to do and she did."