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Thursday, October 2, 2014
28 Bellmore-Merrick Central squads named Scholar-Athlete teams
(Page 2 of 3)
Scott Brinton/Herald Life
Calhoun High School football and lacrosse star Griffin Miller, right, has a 98 average and, as a junior, is already committed to play lacrosse at Dartmouth. Students like him are the reason that all 28 of the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District’s fall squads were designated New York State Scholar-Athlete Teams by the state Public High School Athletic Association, Central District officials say. He was joined here by Jason Elias, a Calhoun English teacher and Kennedy High School soccer coach, who said he stresses academics first and athletics second.

            Central students’ and coaches’ commitment to academics explains why all 28 fall teams at Calhoun, Kennedy and Mepham high schools earned the prestigious New York State Scholar-Athlete Team Award, which is administered by the state Public High School Athletic Association, say district officials. Scholar-Athlete teams have a minimum grade average of 90. Coaches must apply for the honor.

A tough balancing act

            Balancing academic and athletics is “the key to being a scholar-athlete,” said Elias, a Calhoun English teacher who played soccer when he was a student at the school and at SUNY Binghamton. 

            Scholar-athletes must keep their eyes on the prize, according to Miller. “You’ve got to set goals,” he said. “It’s keeping up with the one goal of getting into the school you want.” Miller said he plans to study business in college, in the hope of eventually going into politics. “That’s the big dream,” he said.

            Rabinowitz said schoolwork must always come first if an athlete is to succeed on and off the field. “Our coaches have us put our work before the team,” he noted. He’s applying to Duke, Vanderbilt, Emory and the University of Southern California to study pre-medicine in the hope of eventually becoming a surgeon.

            Durkin said athletics help structure his day, enabling him to stay focused on his schoolwork. When in season, he hits the weight room from 6:15 to 7:30 a.m., before school, and he always has somewhere to go after school before getting down to his homework. He makes it a point to be in bed by 9:30 p.m. “Everyone makes fun of me for going to bed so early,” he said with a laugh.

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