In case you missed it over the weekend, Clarkstown South senior Alana Kurtti of Clarkstown South softball was named the Rockland Scholar Athlete of the week. Here’s the story by our colleague Sharieka Breeden
By Sharieka Breeden
The focus on academics started at home for The Journal News Rockland Scholar-Athlete of the Week. Her 4.56 grade-point average and class rank as valedictorian prove those lessons at home have helped Kurtti become a standout.
“It’s fulfilling to do well academically because I was raised with academics as my top priority,” said the senior. “I put a lot of effort into my homework, in classes, and I always participate. Now I am valedictorian, so it’s paid off well.”
Her passion for the medical field and helping others is apparent in her community-service efforts. For most of April and May, the Vikings’ outfielder will be organizing a “math-a-thon” for St. Jude’s Hospital, which requires her to speak to local students and distribute information about raising money for those in need.
“It’s the community service that I am the most proud of because it’s touching and rewarding,” Kurtti said. “It usually takes about two months to prepare for and about five hours every weekend to organize everything.”
Clarkstown South softball coach Maura Heebink has witnessed Kurtti’s work ethic and giving spirit during her three years as a varsity athlete.
“She’s the mainstay of our defense because she anchors the outfield,” Heebink said. “She’s a great asset to the newcomers on our team, and she sets an example for the other girls. She has the leadership qualities that enable her to be a factor in assisting others.”
She also has a knack for getting clutch hits. Kurtti’s RBI double accounted for a 1-0 win over Pearl River, and she went 2 for 3 with an RBI in a win over Albertus Magnus. She had a double and an RBI against Nanuet in a 3-2 loss.
She is a member of the National Honor Society and founder and president of the Greenhouse Club, so Kurtti’s commitment to extracurricular activities is clear. Even with an already full schedule, she manages to participate in the New Visions honors pre-medical program, shadowing doctors at Good Samaritan, Helen Hayes and Nyack hospitals.
“I really enjoy it, and it’s helped to solidify my interest in the medical field,” Kurtti said. “I’ve had an interest in oncology since volunteering at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.”
Kurtti plans to expand her interest in the medical field by pursuing an education at Georgetown, Penn, Brown, Boston College or the University of Pittsburgh.
The Journal News Rockland Scholar-Athlete of the Week program honors students for their academic, athletic and community achievements. Each week a winner is selected from the nominees submitted by athletic directors. Only seniors can be nominated, and the award can be won only once. Nominations must be received by 5 p.m. Monday. The presenting sponsor for The Journal News Rockland Scholar-Athlete program is Gary Goldberg Financial Services.