New Jersey student awarded for demonstrating exemplary leadership and commitment to physical and emotional well-being

Supporting the next generation of health advocates, the American Heart Association awards five high school seniors with $1,000 college scholarships to energize their commitment to community health through service-learning opportunities. The grants are a part of the American Heart Challenge™, a school-based program that helps middle and high school students feel good about their health, while doing good for the community.

The American Heart Association, devoted to a world of healthier lives for all, offers a service-learning in-school fundraising program that prepares students for success by offering leadership development opportunities, community service hours and a college application booster in addition to supporting their physical and emotional well-being.

Juniors and seniors across the country who participated in their in-school or virtual American Heart Challenge program for the 2021-2022 school year were eligible for the scholarship program. Student applicants were required to demonstrate leadership skills within their school’s American Heart Challenge event and showcase their passion for impacting community health. Applications also required a letter of support from their school American Heart Challenge advisor.

“I was very honored when I found out that the American Heart Association awarded me with a scholarship to be put towards my college expenses, said Briana Keenan, scholarship award recipient and student at Pascack Hills High School. “I am very grateful for all that the organization does to support others, and I encourage everyone to become involved, even if it’s just by learning more about it!”

2021-2022 scholarship recipients:

  • Sarah Gutierrez of Carrolton School of the Sacred Heart Miami, Fla.
  • Esha Hindupur of Canyon Crest Academy in San Diego, Calif.
  • Briana Keenan Pascack Hills High School in Montvale, N.J.
  • Anna Shanar of Ridge Point High School Missouri City, Texas
  • Olivia Wilson of Southwest Christian High School in Chaska, Minn.

“Each of these students represents the spirit of the American Heart Association’s mission to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives,” said Raymond P. Vara, Jr., chairman of the board of the American Heart Association. “We are encouraged by their commitment to improving the health and well-being within their local communities and are hopeful these scholarships will continue to shape their future actions of serving and inspiring others.”

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans[1] only 20% of kids get enough activity to meet physical activity recommendations. The American Heart Challenge is rooted in proven science which has shown that kids who are regularly active have a better chance of a healthy adulthood[2].

Funds raised by American Heart Challenge participants support the American Heart Association’s scientific research and outreach programs, while creating healthier communities. Schools are encouraged to register now for the American Heart Challenge to bring expanded curriculum resources to their classrooms for the 2022-23 school year.

To learn more about other school programs, or to make a donation to the American Heart Association, please visit