NY1 tips our hats to the city's best and brightest with our Scholar Athlete of the Week. For nearly 20 years we've awarded about 500 high school seniors with scholarships. This is all part of our partnership with the Public School Athletic League. Leisha Majtan introduces us to our first honoree of 2018.
A love of soccer runs through Leanna Tzanides' veins.
The Fort Hamilton High School senior's father and sister played the sport on this same field.
"My whole entire family has played soccer and it's one of those things that we bond over," Tzanides said.
The defender started playing the game when she was 5-years-old.
The skills she learned then have carried the team captain all through high school as a four-year starting player.
"I research different drills and different types of practice strategies to do so as I was teaching the other girls, I was also learning myself," Tzanides said.
It's being part of a team that Tzanides says she loves most about the sport.
"No matter what, you're never going to be on the field by yourself. And you have those great team mates and you're working together and as you're learning, you're doing it with other people," Tzanides said.
Tzanides' coach, Edward Coyne, says her leadership is invaluable to the team's growth.
"By her being as dedicated and hardworking as she was, it made the other kids also better athletes," Coyne said.
Tzanides' academics are just as impressive as her athletics.
The honors student excels in her advanced placement English and History courses, scoring straight A’s across the board.
She's also a mellophone player in the school's award-winning marching band.
Outside of school, Tzanides is a dedicated volunteer at the Greek School of Plato in Bay Ridge.
She teaches young students traditional Greek dance and how to read, write, and speak the language three days a week.
Teachers say she handles her packed schedule in stride.
"What makes Leanna so special is that she's very very humble and she's also super dedicated to whatever she takes on," said Justin Sosa, Tzanides' English teacher.
Just like her dad and sister inspired her to play soccer, Tzanidis is now following her brother’s footsteps in her studies.
She’s off to Fordham University in the fall where she plans to major in pre law.
She also hopes to continue playing soccer.
And so, for being committed to her goals on and off the field, Leanna Tzanides is our Scholar Athlete of the Week.