This week’s article will be the final scholar athlete column for the 2020 seniors. I have truly enjoyed writing these columns over the past two years and I hope you enjoyed reading them. As I learned more about the wonderful students at Averill Park I have been inspired by the talent and hard work among our community. I look forward to seeing what each of these students achieve in their futures. Thank you again for reading, and taking the time to learn more about the great students at Averill Park High School.
Our last Scholar Athlete is our very own Xander Michaels! Xander was a captain on the Varsity tennis team at Averill Park. He began playing in his Freshman year and his favorite aspect of tennis is watching the hard work pay off. “Whether it is hitting a winner or winning a crucial match for your team, I enjoy seeing the improvements of my teammates and myself.”
Xander is well-rounded both inside and outside the classroom. He has maintained a GPA of 98 while taking a rigorous course load including AP Government and Politics, AP Biology, Spanish 5, and both Band and Jazz Band. He is the Vice President of National Honor Society and the President of Youth and Government at Averill Park, as well as the Legislative Regional Branch Chair. Xander was also a member of the Varsity soccer team, journalism club, yearbook club, pep band, and peer tutoring at the high school. He is also an Eagle Scout and writes the Advertiser’s Scholar Athlete column. He has devoted countless hours volunteering for a multitude of organizations including the Regional Food Bank, Sand Lake Kiwanis Club, St. Joseph’s House, and the Rensselaer County Plateau Alliance. Xander’s hard work and dedication has paved the way to numerous academic accolades including the University of Rochester Bausch and Lomb Science Award, and scholar athlete awards in both tennis and soccer. Next year, Xander will be attending SUNY Geneseo to major in biochemistry to pursue orthodontistry.
Xander’s role models are his parents. “They have shown me the effects of hard work, and inspire me to do my best each and every day…my father began the Youth and Government Club at our school and is the scoutmaster of my troop; my mother has helped me find contacts to shadow dentists and orthodontists to ensure it is a career I want to pursue.”
Numerous people have helped Xander to excel in tennis. “My coach, Coach Gaetani, has helped me on and off of the court to become not only a better player but a better person. My friend Eric has helped me to improve my stroke, in particular my serve so that I can find more success in matches. My brother often plays with me to help me improve to be the best I can.” In the offseason, Xander stays in shape by running, playing on an indoor team, and taking lessons. Last year Xander helped AP reach the sectional finals by winning a crucial match over Burnt Hills in the semi’s. His goal for this year was to win sectionals, but the coronavirus had other plans. Instead Xander will be continuing his tennis career for the club team at Geneseo. His advice to younger players is that tennis “may seem daunting at first, but every practice will help you to improve and overall become a better player.” We wish Xander the best of luck as he finishes his senior year and prepares for college.