Maiden senior Dustin Hipps was honored Saturday as a Carolina Panthers Community Captain during the Panthers' final home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Hipps — who plays football, baseball and basketball at Maiden — received the honor for work in sports, academics and community service.
"It was an exciting and very humbling experience," Hipps said of being honored on the field. "It definitely ranks near the top of my experiences in life. It was pretty cool to be out on the field with those players."
He first learned about the honor in an announcement he received in the mail.
"I received a letter from coach Ron Rivera at the beginning of the month that let me know that I had been chosen." Hipps said. "I was pretty excited about it. When I opened the letter and read it out loud to my family, it made it pretty special."
Academically, Hipps is a part of "Core 48," which enrolls students simultaneously in high school and college courses. He's also maintained perfect school attendance since kindergarten.
Hipps is also a member of "Varsity Blue," which requires student-athletes to maintain at least a 3.5 GPA, and he participates in Beta Club and National Honor Society.
He has a 4.25 GPA and is currently ranked 18th out of 181 students in his graduating class.
His many community activities include junior firefighting, volunteering for Meals on Wheels, participating in church mission trips, sponsoring coat drives for children in need, adopting families during the holiday season, giving time to Special Olympics and helping with local Blood drives.
"It makes me feel good to know that I have made my family and my community proud," he said. "This honor means a lot to me."
To go along with being honored on the field before Saturday's game at Bank of America Stadium, Hipps was also featured in the Panthers' "Gameday" publication, which was issued before Carolina's game against Atlanta on Dec. 11.
Hipps joins Newton-Conover's Mike Comer, a 2010 Carolina Panthers Community Captain, as Catawba County student-athletes to receive the honor.