JuLy 18, 2014

Giving respect to the athlete and the intellect

A funny thing happened in The Record-Review office this spring. As we do each year, we participated in Fox Lane High School’s ASPIRE program, which gives graduating seniors several weeks of real-world job experience. Each year we are lucky to host one or two students eager to check out life in a newspaper office, and this year was no exception.

What proved to be a surprise was that not only did intern Jen David show talent and originality as a writer, she was named female athlete of the year at Fox Lane High School.

Her double-threat skills as writer and athlete — track and field star and a field hockey standout — are by no means unique.

The Fox Lane annual senior sports banquet last month honored superintendent’s scholar-athletes; male and female scholar-athletes of the year; and male and female athletes of the year. Hosted by Fox Lane athletic director Beth Staropoli, more than 200 people attended the event at the Holiday Inn in Mount Kisco. In addition to the special awards, each Fox Lane senior athlete was acknowledged for participating in a varsity sport during their final year at the school.

According to Ms. Staropoli, there are two types of scholar-athletes. To determine superintendent scholar-athletes, the department requests the rankings of all students, who must be varsity athletes in their senior year. To be eligible, students must be in the top 10 to 15 percent overall. This year, academic strength was so solid that even those eighth to 15th on the list boasted a GPA above a 93.1.

Superintendent’s scholar-athletes were Jordan Pasetsky, Tommy Palmerton, Zoe Wood, Paige Cloonan, Robert Potenza, Nicole McAlvanah, Silas Grossberndt, Jennifer Grecco, Ben Barton, Ryan Luparello, Andrew Harrison, Jake Cohen, Lauren Raue, Emma Duggan and Sara White.

The award of scholar-athlete of the year goes to the top varsity athlete with the top GPA. These honors were delivered to Zoe Wood and Jordan Pasetsky. Jordan, who may be best known as the goalie on the Fox Lane boys soccer team, which improved to an 11-5-1 mark and an eighth seed in the Class AA playoffs after finishing just 2-13-0 the previous season, was also a member of the boys varsity basketball team, which advanced to the Class AA quarterfinals before losing to Mahopac and finishing with a 17-3 record. Zoe had a standout campaign on the tennis court as the Lady Foxes’ first singles player.

According to Ms. Staropoli, the criteria for athlete of the year is performance in the senior year alone. In this category, Jen David and Jake Cohen were the winners. Jake was the quarterback of a Fox Lane football team that won its last two games of the year to finish just below .500, at 4-5, while Jen stood out in the shot put and discus for the track team.

“I think recognizing senior athletes who have contributed so much to Fox Lane is vital,” said Ms. Staropoli. “It’s important that at our senior dinner we reinforce that being a student-athlete is so important.”

At the event, the school introduces every student-athlete and shares which college they are attending. “It’s a great way to reward and recognize them as they start their next phase of life,” Ms. Staropoli said.

Among the colleges that Fox Lane’s student-athletes will attend this fall are Harvard, Virginia, Penn State, Duke, Colby, Colgate and the University of Indiana, along with Penn and Boston College.

Athletics is also an important way to unite the community and overcome differences. In addition to her athletic and academic career, Jen wrote features and news stories for The Record-Review, including a piece on the awards dinner. Jen quoted this from her sister, Sonia, a former volleyball star who graduated from Fox Lane in 2009:

“Fox Lane Scholarship night was an outstanding opportunity, where often, as a student of color, I found few,” said Sonia, who graduated from the University of Vermont and now attends Harvard Divinity School. “My confidence was boosted by the positive reinforcement that my hard work was valuable. I was encouraged by my peers and teachers.

“One day, I’ll donate to scholarship night,” Sonia added. “It is so important that we support young hopefuls from Fox Lane.”

We agree. The lessons and goals of athletic competition are intertwined with those in the classroom: to make our kids the best that they can be, on the playing field and in the classroom.

Read more local coverage of your hometown in this week’s issue of the The Record-Review. Newsstand copies are available at several locations listed above, or subscribe today for convenient home delivery.

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