Meet The Scholar of The Month


Scholar of the Month: Sofia Post


SARATOGA SPRINGS - Meet Sofia Post - a young woman, and our Scholar of the Month, who epitomizes the "extra" in the word extracurricular.

Don't take it from me - ask her advisor, Brandy Crary - who deals with about 30+ plus Scholars in The Saratoga Sponsor a Scholar program at a time. "Sofia is an amazing young woman," Brandy wrote to me when I asked her for a nominee. "I'll send you her resume."


Yes, indeed. And filling that resume, in addition to a record of academic excellence, are an extensive list of eclectic activities that a 50 year-old would envy. Maybe two 50 year-olds.

Try these for starters:


On tour in Ireland

- Violin since age 4 - Suzuki Method trained; and now a member of The Honors Society of Music at SSHS

- Varsity Nordic Skiing and Rock Climbing - indoor and outdoor...




- Circus Arts - as a performer (aerials, acrobatics, and tight wire) and later as a camp counselor for Circus Smirkus:




We are hardly done. Sofia somehow has found the time to be President of the Gender Equality Club; volunteering often at events at Pitney Meadows Community Farm; and Theater Arts as part of Saratoga Humanitarian Youth for Transformation...


Add in that outstanding academic record - and there you have it! Eclectic.

But it goes even deeper. When we chatted after school - Sofia was conversant in subjects such as existential philosophy, scientific research, and sailing - which she had taken up recently. "I plan to continue it in college if it is offered,"" Sofia said. (Note to college: If you don't offer it, start a program...)


I asked her if she had done any college visits. "Too many!" She said. Her biggest challenge will be determining the environment (e.g: a city like Boston vs. something more pastoral like Vermont) that will best nurture her growth, and at the same time have the facilities to accommodate the activities she already has going in her profile. A tough balance...


But actually, she did name a certain University that has everything she wants, and is her first choice. I don't want to jinx her by naming it (ask her if you see her), but, as it turns out a certain blogger for happens to be an alum.

All it took was Sofia stating "to me, intellect is more important than grades" - and she had me.


Now she has the grades, and also a letter of recommendation from me - the first I have written in decades - in which I opine: "Sofia Post is exactly the type of person we need more of at ___________ University!"

But it was her mentor in the Saratoga Sponsor a Scholar program, Diane Poma, a retired English teacher, who summed it up best:

"I have to remind myself constantly that she's an 18 year-old."

Amen, Diane. Amen!

Click here to view the article at The Daily Planet Arthur.


Scholar of the Month: Demitri Swann


SARATOGA SPRINGS - In life, at any age, it often comes down to developing a plan. That alone can be difficult. But then, the bigger step is execution of that plan.

OT Swann (79) stands tall on the field for the SSHS Blue Streaks

Demitri Swann has had the plan part down for a while now, and is in the process of brilliantly executing it - making him Saratoga Sponsor A Scholar's (SSAS) Scholar of the Month.


Demitri with (L) Saratoga Springs High School Counselor (and his Freshman Football Coach) Matt Nelson


The individual achieves as a result of a team effort: support from family, teachers and coaches in this case. But the drive comes from within, and Demitri has exhibited excellence in the classroom (with a 95 GPA including advanced college placement courses) as well as on the gridiron during his years at Saratoga Springs High School.



Now a senior, Demitri already knows where he will be executing the next phase of his plan this fall - SUNY Brockport - where he will realize his dream of playing college football; but also working towards a biology degree that will put him on the road to his life's goal line: "I'm targeting going to medical school." Demitri says, in a serious tone - we've recently just met, but you can tell he's got serious down too!



Hard work also. He recently wrote an essay about a few external conferences he attended, which broadened, enriched, and brought him steps closer:

"Over the summer, I attended 2 national conferences. One was the National Journalism and Media Conference which was held at George Mason University and the other was the Future Medical Leaders of America Congress which was held in the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell.

"At the National Journalism and Media Conference I toured historic monuments displayed in D.C. and had the luxury to hear from multiple famous journalists and highly ranked reporters. I heard lectures and engaged in discussions with journalists and reporters from CNN, National Geographic, White House Reporters, and etc. I got to stay in the George Mason dorms for a week and made friends with unique individuals from all across the country. I had a great time learning about a topic I wasn't much interested in at first and gained much knowledge from attending the conference. (Note: when we spoke, Demetri listed keeping up on current events as a primary interest.)

"At the Future Medical Leaders of America Congress I listened to many notable speakers including past Nobel Peace Prize winners and present influential medical leaders. These speakers were inspirational and guided me to finding my purpose in the medical field along with shaping my decision to enroll in a Pre-Med program for college. The Congress was quite enlightening considering all of the new topics we discussed that I had not previously known about and all of the new knowledge I obtained. I'm truly grateful for having the opportunity to attend this Congress."

In addition to a full boat of classes and conferences, practices and games, Demitri found the time, as an SSAS scholar to volunteer at several civic events and not-for-profit functions.


Volunteering at Saratoga Bridges' Great Pumpkin Challenge


On the gridiron, Demitri's coach's efforts are augmented to a great degree by supplemental workouts with his dad, Raymond - who himself was a player and coach in Pennsylvania. The results of that effort speak for themselves:


Front row - L to R: Sister Tiarah, Mom Danielle, Brother Treyvon. Back row - L to R: Father Raymond, Brother Brian, Demitri.


"Last Fall," Demitri noted, "I was honored to be recognized as Empire Division 1st Team Offensive Line for Section 2 AA. This award is selected by the coaches from the Empire Division in that section. The award is given to the overall best lineman in the Empire Division for Section 2 AA.

"The second award I received was the Leith Loffredo Scholarship Award which totaled to $1,000. The award is given in memory of a man who loved his life, his family, friends, and the game of football. Leith graduated from Saratoga Springs High School in 1996 and was recognized as an All-State two-way tackle for the Blue Streaks."

During all this, Demetri did everything he could to put himself in a position to maximize his considerable talents. A big step was learning about SSAS from his earth science teacher, as well as (at the time) freshman football coach Matt Nelson in ninth grade. "This program (SSAS) not only gives you a leg up in resources, it provides a structure for you to succeed," Demetri observed.

So if you happen to catch a Brockport game this fall, keep your eye out for this native son. You won't have to look too hard - he'll be the one standing tall.



Click here to view the enitire article at The Daily Planet Arthur.


Scholar of the Month: Cami Denning


SSHS Senior Counselor Brandy Crary with Cami.


SARATOGA SPRINGS - Here's five fast facts you need to about Cami, then we'll go deep:

  1. She's a future nursing student.
  2. Has a long and strong passion for volunteering, as evidenced by...
  3. Her membership and family involvement in the Salvation Army.
  4. Also, she's the Vice President of a club called Tog-A-Wareness.
  5. Add it up and Cami Denning is our Scholar of the Month!

...and deservedly so. My visits with Cami left me an impression of a serious, focused young adult - as distinguished from shy. She's long decided on her educational 'end game': To be a Pediatric Nurse. She's sitting on a few prestigious college acceptances, including Hartwick, LeMoyne and Robert Wesleyan in Rochester, with more to come.


Cami led this trip of a group of Sponsor A Scholar students to the Great Pumpkin 5k at Spa State Park.


Click here to view the enitire article at The Daily Planet Arthur.


Scholar of the Month: DeVaughn Berry

Originally posted on The Daily Planet Arthur, December 4, 2017




Standing out, whether it be in a crowd of scholars, or in pads and helmet on the gridiron, is the result of hard work. That is the commitment DeVaughn Berry - our Saratoga Sponsor-a-Scholar (SSAS) for the month of December – brings to the table each day. But it is enhanced with a joyful persona that is even larger. "I'm happy to see people smiling," DeVaughn said when recalling his favorite community service activity this year.

For more of this story visit:



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