Last spring, teen member Joshua received the Charles Sikoryak Award, awarded to one ISP student who epitomizes the principals, values, and tireless commitment to BCNY’s mission. After receiving the award, Joshua delivered a moving speech to his peers, excerpted below.
When I first found out I was receiving an award, I was shocked. I wondered why, out of all the people in ISP, I was selected to receive an award. Upon further reflection, I realized being selected as the recipient of this award wasn’t really about me. It was really about all of the people who built me up to becoming the person that I am today.
I owe so much to the Boys’ Club. I’ve been attending the Gerry Clubhouse since I was 6 years old. So many of the skills and abilities that I’ve learned are directly because of the Boys’ Club. The Boys’ Club introduced me to basketball through the Mini Hoops program…The Boys’ Club introduced me to the world of music through the Music Department, where I learned how to play both the piano and the saxophone. The Boys’ Club helped me improve my reading skills through the READ program when I was in elementary school.
From there, I learned about the ISP Prep Program. Before I entered the program, I had never even heard of boarding school. When I was first introduced to the concept of boarding school in 6th grade, I still wasn’t sure that I wanted to leave home and go away for school. Then I took a trip [. . .] with the ISP program, and just fell in love with the idea of boarding school.
However, my mother wasn’t convinced that leaving home for boarding school was the best decision for me. Throughout the entire boarding school process, Bill and Antonio talked to my mother about the benefits of boarding school, eventually convincing her that it was a good decision. While that was taking place, I was a part of the Academic All-Stars Basketball team, and received SSAT Prep classes as well.
Because of all this tremendous support from the Boys’ Club from the time I was 6 years old, I was able to become someone worth something; I am forever grateful for the Boys’ Club and will continue giving back in any way I can because I have no idea where I would be in my life without this organization.
So, thank you fellow members of ISP, for I hope I’ve helped you as much as you helped me, a really quiet and reserved kid, come out of my shell. Thank you, to Antonio, Bill, and Nina for everything you guys have done for me since I’ve met you, from getting me into prep school, to introducing me and other ISP members to job opportunities and good contacts within the clubhouse, to just general support whenever its needed. And lastly, thank you to my parents, for allowing me to go to prep school, and supporting me throughout all of the ups and downs, and raising me to be the best man that I can be.
Joshua graduated from Philips Academy in June 2016. Today, he is studying at Boston College.