On Monday, January 5th the AHS Person of the Year poll closed, officially naming Michael Briggs the winner.
Briggs tallied up an impressive 44.76% of the votes, earning almost half. Anna and Cece Root came in second, winning 30.29% of the vote. Available to the public, the poll was featured on the Warrior Weekly, and was automatically shut down once vacation concluded.
Briggs is a junior at AHS with Down’s syndrome, and a member of the basketball team. Playing for the freshman team his first year, and the JV team as a sophomore, Briggs is now a member of the varsity team.
Briggs said he is “really excited” to be presented with this award. He “works very hard at basketball” and the recognition given to Briggs makes him feel like his dedication is paying off. Briggs said this “has made this year a lot better,” and definitely made this season memorable. His favorite moment is, of course, the fantastic shot he made against Central Catholic. The crowd roared with his name, and the Red Sea joined in as well. To bring together the biggest rivalry in the state is no small feat, but Michael is such a charismatic player that everyone loves to watch.
According to the Andover Townsman, Michael’s mother Kimberly Briggs felt the excitement of this moment, too. “You are already so proud of what he did. But then [with] the crowd’s reaction and The Jungle chanting his name, it is just something you’d ever imagine. You knew he had done something special. There is no stopping Michael.”
Maggie Danisch, Jungle council leader, agrees. Danisch says, “It is really exciting to watch Michael go in to some of the games; the whole crowd gets a lot more focused because everyone loves to watch him play and succeed.”
Coach David Fazio said, “Michael is an inspiration to this team, and we love him more than life.” Just mentioning Briggs to Coach Faz lights up his eyes; he refers to Briggs as “a joy to coach.” But to Fazio, Briggs is just like any other player on his team. Not singled out, or treated like any less than a member of the team.
Briggs says, “Coach Faz is awesome. I like it when he puts me in.” Briggs says his favorite part of the game is shooting, as that is what he spends a lot of time doing. His shooting skills have been recognized by many, especially the Jungle.
Council leader Chris Tully said, “It’s awesome to watch how other teams react to Michael getting in the game. Everyone is very fair and encourages Michael to shoot a few baskets [with] hopes that he makes some.”
Danisch also thinks that “the Jungle has an impact on Michael and his playing. We hype up the game so that Michael feels comfortable going in and I think our cheering definitely helps his confidence. Whether he gets a basket or not, it’s always so exciting to see him get in the game and play for the team he loves!” With tons of support from the Jungle, and the entire student body at AHS, Briggs truly represents someone who has impacted our school community.
Tully said, “I think it’s awesome that Michael has won Person of the Year because he shows so much enthusiasm towards the basketball team whether he gets in the game or not, and that’s something important that any player on any team should posses.”
Fazio also endorsed Michael’s recognition, saying, ”It is truly awesome that he won this.”
Along with basketball, Briggs said his favorite thing in school is P.E. He would also like to “thank his friends Ian and Brendan” for their continued support, and his mother and father especially, for “being there to watch [his] games and cheer [him] on.”
By Taylor Burns