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Student-athlete advisory committee (saac)
MISSION STATEMENT

"Our goal is to dedicate efforts to promote safety, sportsmanship, leadership (in the classroom and athletic arena), and positive relationships with coaches, administrators and other student-athletes. We work to represent the perspective of all NYSPHSAA student-athletes by presenting their concerns to the NYSPHSAA, thereby developing initiatives for future improvement of all NYSPHSAA member schools and communities."

 

2018-2019 SAAC Members

 

 

Section

 

Bio

I

 

 

Jacob Fridakis

Jacob is a senior at Briarcliff High School. He is a member of the boys soccer team and is a captain for the indoor and outdoor track & field teams. He was awarded the ‘Sean Ryan Hard Work Equals Results Award’ in recognition of his dedication and leadership in athletics at Briarcliff. Aside from sports, Jacob is a member of his school’s Social Studies and Math Honor Societies, Student Advisory Council, Mock Trial Club, and is the President of Model UN. When asked why he wanted to be a member of the SAAC, Jacob said, “I hope to contribute to the creation of programs in areas such as drug abuse, time-management, and anti-bullying as this will further improve the growth and leadership capability of the student-athlete.”

I

 

 

Jessica Polvino

Jessica is a junior and a three-sport varsity athlete at Clarkstown High School North. She has been a member of soccer, skiing, and outdoor track & field teams since her freshman year. She was awarded Rockland County Skier of the Year her sophomore year and is a certified level 9 soccer referee. Aside from athletics, Jessica volunteers in Buddy Ball and the Helping Little Hands Club at her school, both programs helping younger children. She is also a member of the Math Honors Society, Spanish club, and Student Advisory Council. Jessica expressed a strong passion for her fellow peers and said, “Being a student-athlete can be an overwhelming challenge to some and I want to advocate for the best possible life balance between academics and athletics,” when asked why she wanted to be a part of the SAAC.

2

 

 

Toussaint Santicola Jones

Toussaint is a junior at Albany High School, plays on the boys’ lacrosse and soccer teams, and has served as captain for each. He also plays saxophone in the Jazz and Wind Ensembles, and is a singer and actor in local musical theater productions. When asked why he wanted to become a member of the SAAC, Toussaint said, “I hope to bring my experiences with the difficulties of building a new athletic program, so that I may advocate for struggling teams. I also hope to address the needs of scholar-athletes."

2

Grace Wysocki

Grace is a senior at Hoosick Falls Jr/Sr High School. She has played varsity lacrosse since freshman year and varsity soccer and basketball since sophomore year. In addition to athletics, she participates in Student Council, Key Club, Earth Club, National Junior Honor Society, and is the Treasurer of her class. When asked shwy she wanted to become a member of SAAC, Grace said, "Sports have given me so much in my life. Having the opportunity to be a part of this committee will allow me to give back so others are afforded the experiences I have had. By example and through my efforts in this committee, I would strive to show the value of hard work both in the classroom and on the playing field."
 

III

 

 

Richard Francisco

Ricky is a junior at West Genesee High School and is a member of the varsity soccer and tennis teams. He is an active member of the Shared Decision Committee which creates school events for his peers to better understand elective classes. Richard is also a part of the National Honor Society and participates in St. Joseph’s Church local youth group. When asked why he wanted to be a member of the SAAC he said, “I would like to experience and be more active in promoting safety, sportsmanship, leadership and positive relationships with coaches, administrators, and other student athletes throughout the state.”

III

 

Chloe Williams

Chloe is a senior at Holland Patent Central High School. She is the captain of the varsity field hockey team and also participates on the skiing and track and field teams. Chloe is a member of the National Honor Society and was involved in band and cabaret. In addition, she also volunteers throughout her community with programs including the Salvation Army, Hope House, and the Polar Express which is a seasonal holiday event for children. When asked why she wanted to be a member of SAAC she said, “Being a three-sport athlete has made me a leader on the field, in school, and in my community. It has given me a voice that will help advance our sports programs. I can use my voice and take the opinions and concerns of our area to others in the state.”

IV

 

Jasper Koota

Jasper is a senior at Delaware Academy. He plays varsity soccer and tennis and in 2016/2017 was awarded All Conference and NYSPHSAA Individual Scholar Athlete honors for both sports.  Jasper currently serves as one of two youth board members on the Board of Directors of the Delaware County Youth Bureau.  At DA he is a student leader for the AVP (Alternatives to Violence) Program and the Olweus Bullying program and volunteers as a peer mentor. This past June, Jasper represented Delaware Academy at the NYS East  H.O.B.Y. Leadership conference and was selected 2017 recipient of the “Most Outstanding Future Leader” award. When asked why he wanted to be a member of the SAAC, Jasper said, “Athletics are one of the few opportunities in high school that require a diverse group of students to work together toward a common goal.  I’d like to work with my fellow student athletes across the state to see if we can help apply these same principals of respect and tolerance to better serve our schools and communities both on and off the field.”
 

IV

Alli Miller

Alli is a junior at Bainbridge-Guilford High School. She is a member of the badminton, basketball, and softball teams. Off the field, Alli is the treasurer of student council, jazz band, chorus, and the National Junior Honor Society. She is also a lifeguard and swim instructor. When asked why she wanted to be a member of the SAAC she said, “I have a passion for sports and want to make everyone’s high school sports career one to remember. I am from a smaller school and community and want to be a part of this bigger experience and bring back inspiration in athletics to my section.”

V

 

 

Ryan Reynolds

Ryan is a junior at Canaseraga High School and is on the baseball, basketball, and soccer teams. He is involved in local community programs at the modified and youth levels coaching and mentoring young athletes. He is a member of the National Honor Society and volunteers in various community service programs through his school. Ryan expressed great positivity when asked why he wanted to become a member of the SAAC saying, “It gives me an opportunity with the other student to represent our sections. By voicing my opinions and hearing others, I believe that we can improve athletics for the future.”

V

 

 

Payton Powers

Payton is a senior at Dalton-Nunda High School. She has been a member of the varsity soccer and basketball team since 8th grade. Payton has served as Class President since freshman year and Key Club Treasurer since sophomore year. She is also a member of the Student Council and National Honor Society. In addition to school activities, Payton is a member of the Rochester Futbol Club traveling soccer team. When asked why she wanted to be a member of SAAC, Payton said, “My goal is to provide representation for small school athletics and to collaborate with other representatives from across the state on issues facing student athletes."
 

VI

 

 

Clayton Osborne

Clayton is a senior at Williamsville East High School. He is a member of the varsity lacrosse and football teams and has played on school teams since junior high. In his spare time, Clayton coaches youth lacrosse, all the while maintaining an A average while taking advanced courses. He is active in his school participating in programs such as Future Business Leaders of America. Clayton’s desire to be a member of the SAAC came from his belief that, “Safety, sportsmanship, and leadership are key elements of ensuring a positive athletic experience. If any of these elements are missing, we run the risk of injury, or a poor athletic experience.”
 

VI

Mindy Doktor

Mindy is a junior at Akron High School and participates in outdoor track and field, soccer, and swimming and diving. She is also involved in student government. Mindy is the class treasurer and an active member of student government. She has earned the Bronze Award for a book drive at a local church and a Silver Award for making cancer care packages for local children’s hospitals. Additionally, she is a peer tutor and is part of the Interact Club and a member of the National Junior Honor Society. When asked why she wanted to be on the committee she said, “The SAAC goals are important to me. I strive to have positive relationships with my teachers, coaches, and peers. With the competitiveness of sports, it is important to always be encouraging of others. I want a chance to work with the committee to encourage greater sportsmanship amongst all involved in athletics.”

VII

 

 

Terrence Benedict

Terrence is a junior at Ticonderoga Senior High School and is a member of the basketball, baseball, and football teams. Beyond athletics, he participates in student council, Boy Scouts, key club, jazz band, and the National Honor Society. He also enjoys volunteering in local community service projects in his free time. When asked why he wanted to be a part of the SAAC Terrence said, “I am interested in making Ticonderoga and neighboring schools places where athletics are part of a positive experience with schools. Being a part of a large organization like the SAAC will help my community and area which will allow me to bring fresh ideas to benefit and enhance our section and SAAC.”

VII

 

 

Allison Post

Allison is a senior this year at Peru Secondary School. She is a member of the varsity soccer, basketball, and track team.  Ally has been a part of the Positive School Environment Team at her school for the past two years and is also a part of Science National Honors Society.  She also participates on a travel soccer team and a travel basketball team during her off season.  When asked why she wanted to be a member of SAAC, Ally said "Being a student athlete is something that I enjoy immensely.  I am excited to bring forth ideas that may help to create an environment that is beneficial to all students across New York State."

VIII

Olivia Rodriguez

Olivia is a senior at South Side High School. She has been a member of varsity soccer, winter track and field, and spring track and field teams since her freshman year. Olivia is also a member of Athletes Helping Athletes and her school’s Chamber Singers ensemble. Outside of school, Olivia is a officer for Youth Council, a volunteer with TOP soccer and a volunteer at a children's rehabilitative hospital. She is also working towards an International Baccalaureate Diploma. When asked why she wanted to be a member of SAAC, Olivia said, “I am very interested in protecting the athletic/academic balance in order to promote a blended experience for every student athlete in New York State.”
 

VIII

Kevin Carratu

Kevin is a junior at Manhasset Secondary School and runs varsity cross country, indoor, and outdoor track and field. With a heavy background in running, he was awarded the NYS Scholar Athlete Award in 9th grade. He is also a member of the Manhasset Science Research Program and participates in competitive science fairs. This past summer, Kevin attended a Foundation Running Camp and worked with other athletes to improve running skills and techniques and volunteers at numerous races. When asked why he wanted to be on the SAAC he said, “A sports team is a diverse group of individuals that each share the same goal which is to help improve each other’s athletic abilities. Ever since my first race, I have been motivated to be a part of my team by leading my teammates in the right direction and help them to perform to their full potential. I am determined to help communities across New York State reach their potentials and become better leaders.”

IX

Deeya Modhwadiya

Deeya is a senior at Newburgh Free Academy. She has been a member of the girls varsity tennis team since her freshman year. Aside from tennis, Deeya is the Vice President of the Key Club and a member of National Science Honor Society. She also partakes in student government as a senator of her class. In her freetime, Deeya volunteers at the local hospital and spends time teaching tennis to children 12 and under. After high school, Deeya hopes to pursue a career in pediatric oncology. When asked why she wanted to be a member of SAAC, Deeya said, "We are all one association, therefore all of us need the ability to increase communication and familiarity by coming together. Change can be for the better or worse, I want to change our already great high school athletics program and make it from great to phenomenal."
 

IX

 

 

Ryan Strobach

Ryan is a junior at Wallkill Senior High School. Ryan plays football and baseball and is a captain of his football team. He is also an active member of his school’s Student Athlete Leadership Team and Football Leadership Council. Outside of school, Ryan helps out at his town’s local fire department in fundraisers and social events. He also volunteeres at a local youth football clinic teaching young athletes sportsmanship lessons.  When asked why he wanted to be a member of the committee Ryan said, “I would like to bring new and positive ideas back to my school and section.”

X

 

 

Andy Downs

Andy is a junior at H C Williams Senior High School. He plays basketball, golf, and soccer. Andy has been awarded the Outstanding Achievement in Career and Finance Management and takes part in organizing fundraisers for his basketball teams. When asked why he wanted to on the SAAC he said, “At my school I want to make a difference, so I make sure to use my voice to be heard. I hope to be a voice for a variety of students. Being a part of the NYSPHSAA SAAC would allow me to express my opinion about these topics.”

X

 

Sydney Levison

Sydney is a senior at Norwood-Norfolk High School. She runs cross country, indoor, and outdoor track and field. She is heavily involved in school as an active member of drama club, whiz quiz, and yearbook. Sydney is also the Vice President of her class and part of the National Honor Society. She was a participant of the Math Competition at St. Lawrence University, a summer counselor at Camp Invention at SUNY Canton. She has been a volunteer at Community Lunch Programs for Kids, St. Andrew’s Church, and Shauna’s Walk for Wishes this past year. When asked why she wanted to be a part of the SAAC Sydney said, “I would like to shed a light on the importance of being a student-athlete. I would like to allow other students to experience the wonders that I have been able to. I would like to improve the sportsmanship and allow student- athletes the chance to make an impact on and off the field.”

XI

Erin Holler

Erin is a junior at Smithtown High School – East and is a member of the girls swimming and diving team. She is the Treasurer of her class and is an active member of student council. Erin is a group leader of Athletes Helping Athletes, a member of Family, Career, and Community of Leaders of America, and a Hugh Brian Youth Leader school representative. She is in the National Math Honor Society and Rho Kappa National Social Studies Honor Society. Erin is also an elementary math fair mentor, a swim instructor at the Hauppauge Swim Clinic, and an assistant coach to Great Hollow Science Olympiad. When asked why she wanted to be a member of the SAAC Erin replied, “I want to be a part of a team of student-athletes working to make positive changes throughout NYSPHSAA. I would like to promote good sportsmanship and playing clean throughout the state. As student-athletes, I feel as though we are in a unique position to make positive changes in our communities.”

 

XI

Matthew Weltmann

Matthew is a senior this year at Half Hollow Hills High School East. He has been a member of his school’s soccer and swim teams for the past five years. In addition to athletics, Matthew strongly supports his school and community through his involvement in student council, speech and debate, adaptive swimming, and independent language studies. Matthew’s executive positions include Class President and Chief of Staff, he is a state quarter finalist in extemporaneous speech and the state champion in impromptu speech, and he maintains a rigorous academic schedule, which includes multiple AP and honors courses. When asked why he wanted to become a member of the SAAC, Matthew said, “Each day, I am positively affected by the contributions the NYSPHSAA has had on my life, and it would be an honor for me to give back by providing my input on key issues, acting as a role model to my peers, and representing student athletes all across Section XI and New York State in order to better their academic and athletic careers and experiences.” Matthew founded the Section XI SAAC and is currently a co-chairperson on the Mental Health Subcommittee.

The SAAC was developed to give student-athletes a voice within the NYSPHSAA. Over the course of the school year, the committee will discuss topics relevant to high school student-athletes and develop ways to maintain a positive athletic experience.
Each committee member is expected to exemplify leadership while providing feedback of NYSPHSAA special programs including, but not limited to, Scholar-Athlete, Sportsmanship, Life of an Athlete, Student Leadership, and Community Service. Two student-athletes from each of the 11 sections are selected each year and serve a one year term. Juniors have the option to serve a two-year term.