Michael Fritz didn’t have a chance to hear his name being announced as the Outstanding Graduate of the School of Education and Behavioral Studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University’s Honors Chapel ceremony last month.
That’s because he was in Charlotte, N.C., receiving two national awards for his work in his chosen field, physical education.
Fritz received the Outstanding Future Professional award from the Southern District of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance at the organization’s national convention in April. During the event, he also was named Outstanding Major of the Year by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education.
“It is a great honor to be selected for these awards,” said Fritz, who graduated last week from PBA with a degree in physical education. “AAHPERD and NASPE are highly regarded professional organizations, so to be recognized by them is assuring. It let me know that I was on the right track to being successful in my future career. These awards will also serve as motivation to stay at my best.”
Staying at his best is something to which Fritz, of West Palm Beach, has aspired for some time.
Before enrolling at PBA in 2010, Fritz served in the U.S. Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom and was part of the troop surge in Iraq from 2007 to 2008. He became a decorated team leader and earned several awards and medals.
At PBA, he served as vice president and co-founder of the Student Veterans of PBA. He also volunteered as a trainer for the Cancer-Related Fatigue Program, assisting cancer patients in overcoming the debilitating fatigue that comes from their treatment through a physical therapy regimen.
He said he considers his involvement in this program to be one of the activities he enjoyed most during his time at PBA.
“It gave me an opportunity to help those who really needed it,” he said. “It allowed me to use the skills I already had to benefit those struggling with horrible circumstances. It also gave me insight as to the difficulties that people have to overcome in their lives.”
Fritz was also actively involved in promoting health and physical activity on campus through such popular events as the annual Strongman Competition.
His career goal is to work as a high school physical educator and strength and conditioning coach. He has been able to gain valuable experience this year by serving as an interim teacher for physical education classes at John I. Leonard High School.
He said that being chosen as the Outstanding Graduate of his school was not only confirms that he was able to complete his chosen degree, but that he was able to do so to the best of his ability.
“Being the best isn't nearly as important as being your best,” he said, “and that is what this recognition means to me.”