Channel View Friends: Ready To Move On
Motivated, ambitious and gifted – are the qualities possessed by five seniors at Channel View High who will graduate this June and attend college as honored students. Breland Archbold, Christopher Carr, Justin Zemser, Folorunso Fatukasi and Nkozi Stewart have all been rewarded for their academic and athletic excellence by various universities and institutions across the nation.
On June 24th, the five best friends will graduate and part ways on their new educational journeys. Archbold will head to Long Island University’s CW Post campus on a joint football and academic scholarship, with 95 percent of fees being covered by the college. Fatukasi will also ply his trade on a football scholarship playing for the University of Connecticut Huskies. Carr will swap the east for the west coast as the University of Southern California has offered him a prestigious leadership scholarship. When asked about the long distance to travel to college it did not faze the 17-year-old Rockaway local. “My family wants what’s best for me and I want to succeed. The distance doesn’t matter.” For Carr, the ambition and drive to succeed in college outweighs the distance away from family and friends.
Justin Zemser received a rather unique scholarship from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, while Nkozi Stewart was accepted to the United States Air Force Academy Preparatory School in Colorado Springs. After 10 months Stewart will move on to the U.S. Air Force Academy. Their achievements and ambitious nature is recognized with high regard by all at Channel View High School. A proud principal, Patricia Tubridy, described her seniors as “something else” and had no doubt they will “rise to the top” in the new adventures away from the Rockaway school. The boys have even taken time out of class and other obligations to mentor younger students – a commitment also recognized and praised by Tubridy.
The five are best friends and separating for college will not change this fact. I was stopped short by referring to them as best friends – “We’re almost family, there are plenty of ways to keep in touch these days with phones, Facebook and Skype,” explained Zemser. “We are all motivated to succeed and pursue different walks of life while maintaining our friendship” This view was shared by all the boys who are excited to take on their different paths in life.
As if the boys didn’t have their hand in enough jars, they also contribute to the student government program. Zemser is the student government president; Stewart is National Honor Society president and vice president of student government, and Archbold, Carr and Fatukasi act as student government advisors.
Like most in these parts, the boys, along with the rest of students at Channel View, were disturbed by the events of Sandy. The school was awash with diesel fuel making it unsafe for students and teachers alike. The 650 students and teachers were temporarily moved to Lane, on the Brooklyn- Queens border. This has not hindered their classroom performance, as all five maintain a higher than average grade. “We work off each other and provide motivation to one another to do well.”
From meeting the guys you cannot help but notice the mature heads on young shoulders. All five have a burning desire to succeed and are motivated to do whatever it takes to get there. Their high school friendship has led them to this point where they now move on to bigger and brighter things. No doubt we will read about the five again later in life when they become the success stories destined for them.
(Dean Hickey is an intern from Dublin, Ireland)