Saturday, December 27, 2014

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Attention teachers, administrators, counselors and coaches: Do you know a student who excels in the classroom and on the playing field? Nominate them to be a Ford Lincoln of Queens NY1 Scholar Athlete by following the directions below.

Marcella Smotkin: Tennis Star Knows How to Read Between the Lines

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This week's NY1 Scholar Athlete of the Week stays active year-round, with a packed schedule of sports and other extracurricular activities. NY1's Anthony Pascale filed the following report.

There is no such thing as a quiet day for Marcella Smotkin. The Leon M. Goldstein High School senior spends her mornings impressing teachers in her advanced placement classes.

"She just has a great study skills and generally is just a lovely young lady with a lovely personality," says humanities teacher Colleen Adrion.

Her afternoons stay active with martial arts, ballroom dancing, and tennis practices. Smotkin says athletics have been a part of her life for as long as she can remember.

"I started when I was really young, I was about five. My parents were always taking me to lessons and I started liking it," says Marcella.

Her tennis coach says Smotkin's lifelong dedication to sports has paid off. She credits Smotkin with helping lead the team to the PSAL Championship in 2011.

"She has such drive and she can pull through at any time, when times get tough," says girls tennis coach Joanna Soares.

Smotkin is also involved in a number of after school clubs, even starting a book club herself last year.

"A couple of friends and I, we were just talking, we were like, we're missing -- there's no clubs just to read a book and just analyze it. And we had a couple of tests coming up that we needed to read books for, so we thought, why not just start a club?" says Marcella.

This spirit also led Smotkin to create a Russian language club at the JASA Senior Center, where she has volunteered for the past four years.

Smotkin says her parents' support has always been her motivation.

"They're always there supporting me, telling me, you don't have to do everything but if you do, you'll satisfy yourself, you'll feel accomplished, and it will make you feel better," Marcella says.

She hopes to stay close to home for college and plans to study dentistry.

"It's just, it's our body and it interests me," she says.

So, for always taking an extra step to pursue her interests, Marcella Smotkin is the latest NY1 Scholar Athlete of the Week.

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