The latest Scholar Athlete of the Week is a National Honor Society member, active class participant, and soccer star. NY1’s Jon Weinstein filed the following report.
For Fort Hamilton High School's Graziella Orecchio, soccer is a family thing. Every week, her family gathers for Sunday night dinner, and they talk about everyone's various soccer games. She says it's all a part of her heritage.
“Being Italian and playing soccer is very important to me, and my whole family plays and I just stuck with it and loved it,” says Graziella.
Graziella is a four-year starter and the team's best defender. She's the Tigers' captain and is almost like a coach on the field. Her ability and direction helped lead the team to a division title this year.
“She's just done a great job. She doesn't make mistakes, she has a great attitude, she gets the others to do the extra work along with her, and that shows great leadership qualities. And she's just a wonderful person,” says Edward Coyne, Graziella’s soccer coach.
Her leadership qualities are also evident in the classroom. She's a National Honor Society member with an “A” average, but teachers say it’s her participation in class that sets her apart.
“She's full of life and energy, she's always excited to be in class, to contribute. She's a leader in the classroom—whenever she had group work, she was always the one who came up with brilliant exciting ideas and was always willing to spearhead them and move them forward,” says Tanja Larsen, world history teacher.
Graziella is also a member or her school’s basketball team and uses her natural ability to help kids in her neighborhood by running clinics to teach the game to the next generation of players.
“They're kindergarten to second grade. They can't even dribble the ball, but it makes me proud that they want to play basketball and that they’re trying,” says Graziella.
Graziella doesn't know where she's going to college yet, but she does know she wants to play soccer when she gets there.
“I don't want to stop now. I want to continue playing soccer. I love it so much,” says Graziella. “I don't want it just stopping in high school, so I want to try out, hopefully make it and pursue it there.”
So for setting an example for her fellow students on the field and in the classroom, Graziella Orecchio is the latest Health Plus/NY1 Scholar Athlete of the Week.