Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Mercy Student Wins State Heisman Award

Published December 8, 2005

Brett Bartels, a student from Our Lady of Mercy High School in Fairburn, recently received recognition as the male state winner for the 2005 Wendy’s High School Heisman Award.

Bartels, an active parishioner at Holy Trinity Church in Peachtree City, was chosen from the 592 nominated high school seniors in the state of Georgia as the male winner. The annual award celebrates high school seniors who excel in athletics, academics and community service.

Jessica Highsmith of Ware County Magnet School in Waycross was chosen as the female winner.

Bartels’ accomplishments throughout his high school career more than qualified him to win this award. He is an athletic standout as a member of the varsity basketball and baseball teams, captain of the football team and school record holder of most passing yards and touchdowns. Academically, he was selected as a National Merit semifinalist and maintains a 4.0 GPA while taking five advanced placement courses.

Bill Schmitz, athletic director at Our Lady of Mercy, said that Bartels is an example for all students.

“Brett is an amazing student athlete. He is the example of what we are striving for all of our student-athletes to become at Mercy,” he said. “As his AD and his coach, I can honestly say that Brett has excelled beyond expectations in so many areas that it is overwhelming. We are extremely proud of Brett, what he has accomplished and what he means to our school.”

In addition to his academic and athletic accomplishments, Bartels spends time serving his church and community. At Holy Trinity, Bartels is an altar server team leader and serves as a religious education instructor for kindergartners. He has also attained the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank in Boy Scouts of America and is a member of Troop 175, sponsored by United Methodist Church of Peachtree City.

Wendy’s founder, the late Dave Thomas, supported the ongoing commitment to the advancement, development, and support of young people. He encouraged their aspirations to improve themselves and their communities and with this in mind created the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award.

“Our nominees are among the most remarkable and inspiring seniors across the country,” said Jack Schuessler, chairman and CEO, Wendy’s International. “Wendy’s is proud to celebrate the outstanding achievements of these students as they serve as role models in their schools and communities.”

In addition to Bartels and Highsmith, nine males and females from the state were selected from more than 14,000 nominees nationwide as state finalists and will receive a bronze medal. Among these honorees is Ryann Kopacka from Blessed Trinity High School in Roswell.


For more information about the Wendy’s Heisman Award, visit