Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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Ylli Dema: Two-Sport Captain Tops His High School Class, Directs School Play

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This week's NY1 Scholar Athlete is focused on his studies while playing two sports and directing his class musicals.

Those who know Ylli Dema say he is his toughest critic. The Port Richmond High School senior plays two sports, directs his class' annual musical, and will graduate as class valedictorian in June.

"Throughout the years, it's been very overwhelming, especially with all my sports and activities that I've been in," Dema says. "But it's definitely rewarding knowing that I have come this far in my high school career.

Dema has played on the volleyball team all four years at the school and will serve as captain this season. He also captained the boys swim team while serving as the manager for the girls team.

"I just think he's a great leader, motivator, and, just from his dedication the sport, just a great all around guy," says Sue Salg, the boys' volleyball coach. "Someone that's just a pleasure to coach.

Dema says one of his favorite accomplishments in high school was producing and directing his class' annual SING! production, which has won first place the last three years.

"I learned a lot about management and organization and leadership skills," he says. "I definitely had to presume my role, and I learned a lot about how to organize a whole play, because it was pretty difficult at times.

"He writes, directs, produces and puts the entire show together with as much passion as he puts into his schoolwork," says Vincent Medugno, SING! coordinator.

Dema was one of 25 city students selected to be on the Mayor's Youth Leadership Council his junior year. He and his peers met each week to discuss issues affecting the city's education system before presenting solutions to the mayor.

"I don't know when Ylli Dema sleeps," says Richard Trant, an AP English teacher. "Maybe he doesn't need sleep because he has outperformed, as far as the sheer abundance of Ylli's work, he's outperformed basically all the other students."

Dema wants to study biomedical engineering in college and is looking forward to trying out new hobbies and activities.

"I kind of want to learn how to draw because I think it's really cool," he says. "I definitely want to do things I haven't done before."

So, for his excellence in academics, sports and the arts, Ylli Dema is the latest NY1 Scholar Athlete of the Week.

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