FCIAC Scholars excel on the field and in the classroom

Jack Zeldes

Many people believe that high school athletics are only about the state and FCIAC championships. However, the experience of being on these teams consists of so much more than winning. Coaches want their athletes to also be student athletes, taking on academic responsibility and excelling in the classroom.

“We love to have our players be student athletes who are also responsible and organized,” head basketball coach Colin Devine said. “We emphasize the word ‘student’ in the words ‘student athlete’.”
In order to honor these athletes who excel outside of their sport, The FCIAC, gives out the FCIAC scholar of the month.

Recently, several athletes at Staples have had the honor of winning the award.

Gabe Pensak ’15, a varsity soccer player, won the award in September.
“It was very humbling to win the award. I didn’t realize what it was until the FCIAC commissioner emailed me saying I was a recipient; so it was a nice surprise,” Pensak said.

According to the former soccer player, he was nominated by his coach, Dan Woog, and had no idea he was in the running for FCIAC scholar of the month. The nomination process begins with each coach in the FCIAC choosing the student athlete he or she deems to be the most deserving.
The conference selects a different amount of students each month, varying from 29 in September 2014 to 12 in November 2014.

The scholar award is one of only two awards given out by the FCIAC and has included five students from Staples in the months of September, October,and November.

One of them was Fleur Byrne ’17, a track star. While she never worked to receive the award directly, it was a reward for all of her hard work on and off the track.

“Sometimes it can be a challenge to balance school work and sports on an everyday basis. Coming home after practice after 5 p.m. and then starting a night of homework can wear you down; but if you give your best effort to both, it pays off,” Byrne said.

Not only does the award promote pride for winning, but the award of FCIAC Scholar of the Month comes with a nifty prize.

“I received a framed certificate with my name on it as well as a Scholar Athlete t-shirt,” Pensak said. “ And that was pretty cool.”