The latest Health Plus/NY1 Scholar Athlete is throws herself into new, challenging sports while leading her school's chapter of the National Honor Society and completing her coursework with an "A" average. NY1’s Jon Weinstein filed the following report.
Almeda Spahija is a jokester with a sense of humor that's noticeable the second you meet her.
But when she hits the track, she's all business. Almeda says sports are a huge part of her life at Grover Cleveland High School, and her coaches say she's one of the most competitive people they've ever met.
“I can't just go to school and then go directly home. It would kill me knowing that I could be out doing something productive instead of just going home and sleeping or something,” says Almeda.
“She’s a very competitive girl, very dedicated and always been devoted to all of her sports,” says Felicia Mair, Almeda’s track and swimming coach.
In sports, Almeda is a risk taker. She pole vaults, one of the most challenging track and field events, and just this year she decided to join the swim team, something she'd never done before.
“Last year she actually found a love for swimming, and she learned to swim, which is pretty incredible, to go from learning to swim all the way to being a competitive swimmer, and just last week she qualified to become a New York City lifeguard,” says Mair.
Almeda stands out in the classroom, too, with an "A" average. She's in the school's competitive honors mathematics and science program.
Her success is even more impressive considering she learned English only after coming to America at age four, when her family moved here from Albania.
“A student like Almeda is the student we all strive to have. She’s the zenith of students, she does it all, and she gets it all done and she does it well,” says principal Denise Vittor.
“She's the type of student that a lot of teachers look for,” says college counselor Silvia Mastropietro.
Almeda's a leader of her school's National Honor Society chapter and manages to balance all her different responsibilities.
“When I get assignments, I complete them,” says Almeda. “I don't just like leave them behind and be like ‘oh, I have another month or whatever until the semester finishes,’ I do them when they're supposed to be due and I never hand anything in late.”
Almeda isn't sure where she wants to go to college yet, but she does know what she wants to study.
“I want to major in biology for sure, and from there on I could take the steps of going to medical school,” says Almeda.
So, for pushing herself to be a better student every day and all with a great sense of humor, Almeda Spahija is the latest Health Plus/NY1 Scholar Athlete of the Week.