This week's NY1 Scholar Athlete of the Week has a strong drive to give back that is only matched by his perseverance in the pool. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
From starting after-school clubs to captaining the swim team, James Madison High School senior William Koganov isn't afraid to dive in head-first to pursue his passions.
"Will has been an amazing example for kids to not only do academics, do athletics, but be involved in the community in and out," says Marla Rutter, a criminology teacher and coordinator of student affairs at the school.
"I think a healthy community is one of the most important things to a society in general," Koganov says. "Everyone needs some kind of help."
Koganov is in the school's Law Institute, taking advanced placement courses and participating in after-school activities focused on law and debate. Teachers say he stands out as a leader for his peers in the competitive program.
"I think what set Will apart is that he takes on many challenges above and beyond what is required of him as a student," Rutter says.
"He is something that I see rarely, which is a gentleman," said Cecilie Kalina, a guidance counselor at the school.
His ability to inspire has made him the first student in more than three decades to captain the boys varsity swim team as both a junior and a senior.
"I love to lead," Koganov says. "I think I'm a natural leader, and inspiring my teammates is always one of my goals."
"He's an exceptional swimmer. He'll swim through a brick wall for this team," said Michael Davis, the varsity swim coach at the school. "He sets the example by working hard, and others follow."
Koganov also holds leadership roles in the school's Honor Society and Model UN delegation. He started a Red Cross Chapter at the school, which proved instrumental in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
"After Hurricane Sandy, we were really pivotal in the community," Koganov says. "We did a lot of beach cleanups. We did a lot of community cleanups. We volunteered at soup kitchens."
Koganov plans to study business and eventually attend law school. Faculty members are confident that his dedication to helping others will make him an asset at any college he chooses to attend.
"Will is the type of kid that's destined for greatness," Davis says.
So, for setting a positive example in the pool and in the community, William Koganov is NY1's Scholar Athlete of the Week.