Tag Archives: St. Francis Preparatory School

St. Francis Prep teen earns rare college sand volleyball scholarship


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy Bogda family 

When you think of the best places to play beach volleyball, New York may not be the hottest choice on the list.

But that never stopped St. Francis Preparatory School volleyball player Stephanie Bogda from loving the game. Bogda, who plays both indoor and outdoor, was attracted to the sand version after watching some women in Long Beach play when she was 11. She would return occasionally to the beach to watch the players for two years and ask tips about the game, until eventually they asked her to play.

Now Bogda, 17, who has trained and competed for years in sand volleyball, earned a four-year scholarship with Division I University of New Orleans to play sand volleyball, despite the long odds, being from a state where the temperature gets to be near freezing for half of the year. She recently verbally committed to the school.

“We’re extremely proud of her because she had to overcome a lot,” said Bogda’s mother, Patricia. “She has had to sacrifice a lot while her friends were playing. She always had this goal and she would never let anything stop her.”

BOGDA 2

Beach volleyball, which has two players per team rather than six, has been on a wave of growth that stems from the Beijing Olympics, according to many published reports.

The NCAA added Division I sand volleyball to its list of varsity programs in 2011. Now, more than 40 NCAA four-year schools sponsor the sport, according to the American Volleyball Coaches Association.

Bogda continues to play indoor volleyball on travel teams and with St. Francis Prep. But during the summer she partakes in sand volleyball competitions in other states. She also has a rigorous daily training schedule that includes running, two-hour conditioning and personal mentoring from professional sand players, including Brazilian Priscilla Lima.

Besides volleyball, Bogda likes to draw and paint in her free time, so she believes she will major in art in at the University of New Orleans.

But of course she has her eyes set on becoming a professional volleyball player and perhaps playing in a future Olympics.

With a year remaining before college games begin, Bogda plans to work harder than ever to prove when she steps in the sand in New Orleans that she belongs there.

“I’m going to spend a lot of this year on the beach,” Bogda said. “People say ‘oh you’re committed, you can relax now.’ Absolutely not. I need to be ready for college.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Vince Lombardi to be honored at alma mater St. Francis Prep


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Pro Football Hall of Fame

The Pro Football Hall of Fame will recognize the late Vince Lombardi in a special ceremony at St. Francis Preparatory School on Wednesday, October 2.

A plaque honoring Lombardi will be presented at the school, where it will be permanently placed, as a part of the Hometown Hall of Famers program. Lombardi’s grandson, John, will accept the plaque on behalf of the Lombardi family.

The football legend attended St. Francis Prep and played on the football team until he graduated in 1933.

Lombardi is attributed for saying, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing,” and he certainly knew how to win.

He is best known as the head coach who led the Green Bay Packers pro football team to three straight and five total league championships, including the first two Super Bowls in 1966 and 1967.

The NFL’s Lombardi Trophy, the award for the winning team in the Super Bowl, is named in his honor. Lombardi was entered into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Star of Queens: Edwin Westley, president, Jackson Heights Beautification Group


| editorial@queenscourier.com

star of queens

Community Service: Headed by Edwin Westley, the Jackson Heights Beautification Group (JHBG) fills the neighborhood with music, nature and goodwill. Founded in 1988, this all-volunteer organization hosts street cleanups and orchestral concerts in addition to creating more green spaces and preserving the Jackson Heights historic district.

Westley, who has been involved with JHBG for more than 20 years, said the organization’s commitment extends beyond its greening efforts.

“It shows the community that an organization is dedicated to keeping the neighborhood friendly, safe and welcoming of all our neighbors,” he said.

Background: A Brooklyn native, Westley attended St. Francis Preparatory School and St. Francis College. He received his MBA at Long Island University and raised six children who are now “having wonderful careers and delivering wonderful grandchildren.”

A senior planner at Northrop Grumman until he retired six years ago, Westley’s involvement with the community began with coaching his children’s baseball and basketball teams. He joined JHBG soon after moving to Jackson Heights in 1992.

Favorite Memory: Westley said his most memorable moment as president of JHBG was at a holiday lighting ceremony, when residents came up to him to thank him for his contributions to the community.

“The recognition that we get from the people on the street is more than worthwhile,” he said. “That’s really the ultimate satisfaction one gets in doing this kind of work.”

Biggest Challenge: JHBG is currently fighting three commercial development proposals that they say would take a significant number of acres from Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

“We’re waging the good fight against the development,” Westley said. “We think that’s an outrageous attempt by the developers to commercially develop public parkland that belongs to the people.”

Inspiration: The volunteers and members of JHBG inspire Westley the most.

I get satisfaction “knowing that people are always willing to chip in and always willing to fight the good fight,” he said.

BY ROSA KIM

Two Queens teens accepted to US Air Force Academy


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Two Queens teens have gotten their wings.

Seamus McCaffrey and Alan Mook have been accepted to the United States Air Force Academy. They are the only two in the borough who were given the elite nod this year.

“This is a dream come true,” said McCaffrey, 18, a senior at St. Francis Preparatory School. “It’s something surreal because I get to do what I want to do through serving my country. It’s a tremendous opportunity.”

McCaffrey, of Glendale, said he had his sights set on the skies since he was old enough to learn about planes.

“I’ve always wanted to be a pilot. Going to the Air Force was the only thing I really had in my mind,” he said. “I have a love for flight.”

The aspiring fighter pilot soared academically, with a cumulative 90 average, while leading as senior class president and playing on the school’s varsity football team. McCaffrey also serves as a sacristan at Sacred Heart Church in Glendale.

“He worked very hard for what he wanted. He put everything into it,” said his mom, Antoinette McCaffrey.

The trailblazer will be the first in his family to attend college, as well as enter the military, when he leaves for the Academy on June 26.

Meanwhile, Mook, 18, will be the second airman in his family. He joins his brother, Kevin, who is a junior at the Academy.

“It was all worth it,” said the College Point teen.

Mook, who graduated from Holy Cross High School last year, said his application was originally rejected by the Academy, but he was offered a scholarship to attend a prep school in New Mexico for one year.

Alan Mook (Photo courtesy of Holy Cross High School)

“When I was denied at first, it was very disappointing,” he said. “But I had another chance to get back in. I’m getting a degree from one of the best schools in the nation. Nothing beats that.”

Graduates of the free four-year program at the Colorado school agree to serve in the Air Force for at least five years.

Last year, three Queens students were given the green light by the Air Force Academy. McCaffrey and Mook beat out about 12,000 applicants this year, Academy officials said. Only about 1,200 get accepted annually.

“The candidates that have been getting in have been really reflecting the diversity of Queens, which is outstanding,” said Major Andrew Mattson, the academy’s Queens admissions liaison officer. “These are people taking on significant leadership roles. They are just great Americans.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES