Monthly Archives: June 2015


(Speech given at the Academic Awards Ceremony)
My name is Alex  and I have been a student at Staten Island Academy since Pre-K and next year I will be attending the University of Miami.

Through out the rest of the night, people will receive awards for success in different fields that make up the academic environment of Staten Island Academy. Whether you are an athlete, a singer, an artist, an engineer, a teacher, etcetera, you have been first and foremost a student. While there are many different qualities that could describe a successful student, character is one aspect necessary in order to develop many of these said qualities. Now, I could describe character by starting out with the stereotypical, “the dictionary states that character is the way someone thinks, feels, and behaves, or the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual” and then continue for the next few minutes explaining how this definitions can pertain to everyone here. However, I think the whole idea of character is that there cannot be one definition that pertains to everyone sitting here in this room. Everyone here has a different story, different beliefs, and a different outlook on life. Some believe they should prioritize the humanities rather than the sciences, or there are those that have so many stories of their own that they could fill up six seasons of a television series. With all these differences, these students, these people, have their own characters to help guide through their individual journeys.

In order to be thriving student, one most have the structure of character to help guide him or her, and he or she must not be afraid to change his or her beliefs and feelings when new information is presented to him or her. At the same time, when students fall down during their journey, they should be able to get up, brush themselves off, and move forward without loosing themselves along the way.

As stated before, I am going to be attending the University of Miami in the fall, and during my journey over the past few months when deciding on where to go to college, I developed a little corner of my own character. Before making my decision, I asked many people in my life that, I thought, would give me some strong advice to make the process easier. Out of all the different voices making the decision for me, there were a few people who gave me some of the greatest advice of all, and even though it did not make the decision easier, I would like to say it changed me for the better. They told me that I was faced with a tough choice: I was at a cross roads and the only person who would make the right decision was me. I had to depend on my own character; my own beliefs and rules that I decided to adhere to in order to shape my own future, not the predetermined one someone else saw for me.

So, if I have kept your attention for at least some of this speech, let me just add one more thing. I want you to think to yourself, what makes up my own character? To me, character is not something that can be fully described or can be digitally installed like a program. You determine your own character; you are the one who can ask yourself, “Ok, what am I going to do next?”

A Hole in One

Yes, Staten Island academy has a golf team. Not only has this team been around for decades, but this year was the debut for new golf coach Shawn Novak. Mr. Novak is a very experienced golfer who has been enjoying the game for years. This year, the team amassed many new members. Sophomores Eddie L. and Ryan A. joined, along with junior Phillip B., and Senior Danny C.. Returning members include Sophomores Paul N., Vincent S., Yvonne B., and me, and Seniors Alex V. and Captain Paul B. Also returning is eighth-grader Zack Z. The tigers finished the season 6 and 6 overall, but 5 and 3 in league play.

Apart from just playing, the golf team enjoyed many fun traditions. Every player on the golf team has nicknames. The team’s favorite belongs to eighth-grader Zack Z. As soon as he sat down on the bus for the first time, Captain Paul Blanchard called him a “young buck.” Since then, “Young Buck” has become Zack’s name, and even the schools that we play know him by his nickname. Another great nickname that popped up this year belongs to sophomore Paul N. After every match, Coach Novak calls the Staten Island Advance to report the game details. The players with the best scores also have their names in the paper. Unfortunately, the paper never gets our names right. Usually, the flaws are negligible: some extra consonants, or occasionally a similarly sounding name. Therefore, we were quite surprised when our team got a “new” member. Supposedly, a “Carl Morgan” scored very well for the tigers, even though no “Carl Morgans” enroll at Staten Island Academy. We then discovered that it was not Carl Morgan, but Paul! Now, even teachers tease poor Paul because of the newspaper’s mishap. The laughs, the competition, and the bonding all make the golf team a great fit at Staten Island Academy.