The one aspect of our community that surpasses our scenic beaches, beautiful landscapes, great events, and attractions, is our citizens. They are truly the heart and soul of this area and help make it the special community it is, not only for each other but for the thousands who visit each year.
This article is another in our series about one of Westerly’s fine young citizens. The person highlighted is down to earth and good as gold. He’s a good son, brother, and friend, as well as an active citizen. Given his character, intelligence, diverse interests, and concern for others, his future is looking quite bright, and we are glad to have him as part of our community.
He has lived in Westerly his entire life with his parents, older brother Christopher, and younger brother and sister, Michael and Marianna, and of course we must not forget to mention Snowflake, the family cat, who doesn’t really look like a snowflake, but that is neither here nor there.
John has always been a good student. In fact, he has held high honors all four years of his high school career and has recently received “High Honors with Distinction,” which means his grades are above a 4.0. Since middle school, John’s favorite subject has been American history and he credits two teachers – Jeannine Kay and Stephen Servideo for helping to fuel his interest in this subject. John seems to look at history through a philosophical lens which allows him to apply it to his own life.
John particularly loves the civil war period because “it shows how a country can be divided and yet pull through” to be a united country once again. Besides history, John also likes English and is appreciative to his teachers for helping him become a better writer, especially Mr. Ryan Zemanek who, as John smiled and said, “helped me with formal writing and all that jazz.”
Like all Westerly High students, John’s days begin early and remain busy throughout the day as he moves from class to class. He has a good group of friends and is very active in school. He is on the Class Council for Seniors and right now he is helping with fundraisers for their upcoming alcohol-free graduation party. He plays volleyball every year and is the vice president of the Students for Life group where, among other things, he’s helped send Christmas cards to Veterans, and obtain donations for Westerly’s Pregnancy Center.
Outside of school hours, John enjoys keeping fit by working out in the gym and learning and creating card tricks to entertain his family and friends. He especially likes the challenge of the “slight of hand” aspect of the cards. In addition, John has been involved in the wider community through the Rotary Club and is involved in his parish youth group. Above and beyond all these interests, commitments, and activities, John still manages to have time to hold down a part-time job as a busboy at the Sea Goose Restaurant on Saturdays during the school year and then five days a week during the summer months.
In talking with John, it was obvious that he has a big heart and a concern for others. As an example, in seventh grade, he was introduced to a new hearing-impaired student at school. Being a new student in a school is challenging enough but toss in a hearing impairment and one would imagine it could be a little more challenging to make friends.
John recalls, “I didn’t want him going through the school year not being able to talk to anyone. I wanted him to have a good time.”
Looking ahead, John definitely has his sights set on college and is considering Assumption College and Providence College as possible options. As far as a major is concerned, he is still deciding and may start out on a general liberal arts path. He is considering being a teacher, personal trainer, or perhaps entering the priesthood. Whatever he ends up doing, he hopes he can ultimately “brighten someone’s day and make it better in some aspect.”
As far as people who have brightened his own life, John said that his maternal grandmother, Rita Cretella, is among those who have influenced him the most, citing her deep faith and says she “is one of the nicest people on earth.” It is obvious that John most likely received many of his character traits and good values through his grandmother’s influence, and unlike the card tricks he has learned, his character is a product of hard work and self-discipline and not slight of hand.
If any reader knows of a youth or young adult (9th grade through 25 years old) who should be considered as a focus for this series please submit their names, and reasons why they meet these criteria to [email protected] They may be chosen to have an article written about them. This series focuses on people who have positive family and social connections, and who hold healthy and wholesome values.