Danielle Patterson and local McDonald’s franchise owner Josh Kaufman. Photo by Ariel Hernandez
By Ariel Hernandez
Every year, 24 high school boys and girls are chosen from a nationwide pool of more than 800 nominees to participate in the McDonald’s All American Hometown Heroes games. This year, a Southeast Queens athlete is among those heroes.
On Monday, McDonald’s All American Hometown Heroes and American Family Insurance awarded Mary Louis Academy senior Danielle Patterson, who has been selected to play in the 16th Annual McDonald’s All American Girls Game, which will enable her to compete against other elite student athletes throughout the country.
“I would like to express my gratitude towards McDonalds and American Family insurance for presenting me with this award,” Patterson said upon receiving the award. “As a young girl playing basketball, you dream about a moment like this time and time again and for it to actually come true is an extreme honor. I want to thank God for giving me the opportunity to perform at my best, day-in and day-out.”
At the ceremony, Patterson said there were many people in the crowd who had helped her along the way.
“I see a lot of people who have had a great influence on my career thus far – my coaches, athletic directors, athletic trainers, teammates and the entire Mary Louis community,” she said. “On the road ahead, I will always try my best to uphold myself to the standards of this award, both in the classroom and on the basketball court. To my coaches, thank you for never allowing me to settle for anything less than my best. The lessons you have taught me have helped me grow as a person and as an athlete in ways I have never thought possible. To my teammates thank you for giving me the opportunity to get this chance to stand up here today in front of you. I hope that in some way, shape or form, I have inspired you to never let anyone convince you to treat your dreams as if they are too big and shoot for the moon because [even] if you miss, I guarantee you’ll end [up] in the stars.”
Patterson said that the Mary Louis Academy had also prepared her for the University of Notre-Dame, which is where she’ll be attending college in the fall and her basketball coach, Joann Pinnock, praised the athlete’s work both in the classroom and on the court.
“Danielle is a student athlete who exhibits a strong work ethic on and off the court as well as an enthusiastic competitive attitude day in and day out,” Pinnock said. “Danielle is well deserving of this prestigious honor of being selected to play in the 2017 McDonalds’ All American league. I am so very proud of [her] as I am every day as well as [her[ teammates, who are here today, who have supported [her] since day one. As a coach and alum of The Mary Louis Academy, this is the proudest day of being a Hilltopper.”
Not only was Patterson awarded, but the American Family Insurance also honored Patterson’s mother, Diane Patterson, with the American Family Insurance Dream Champion Award for supporting Patterson’s dreams.
Patterson dedicated her McDonald’s All American Hometown Heroes award to her parents.
“To my parents, thank you for always pushing me to achieve my dreams and rise above any limitations, for always being right by my side and for leading me in the right direction,” Patterson said. “I owe this award to you both.”
Patterson will be on ESPN this summer as she competes in the 2017 McDonald’s All American Girls Games.
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144 or firstname.lastname@example.org