Saturday, December 4, 2021

The Winged Foot Scholar-Athlete Foundation Recognizes Lely Student as a Finalist

Rumination from the Rock and Beyond

Photos by Jory Westberry | Victoria Novotny, Winged Foot Scholar-Athlete Finalist 2020.

Photos by Jory Westberry | Like many other cancellations, the Winged Foot Scholar-Athlete Banquet was canceled this year due to COVID-19. Usually, there is a great athlete who speaks. Last year it was Cal Ripken

Lely High School stand-out in both academics and sports, Victoria Novotny, completed an extensive application, submitted a transcript and provided two letters of recommendation. Based on her outstanding achievements, she was chosen as a 2020-Winged Foot Finalist and awarded $5,000 to use for college. 

What does it take to be recognized for this level of recognition? In my opinion, it begins long before high school. Victoria wasin fact, a scholar and an active participant in all of her classes in grades 1 – 5 at Tommie Barfield Elementary.  

Her parents said, “Victoria was always a curious, persistent child, and needed explanations for everything while growing up. Her constant inquiries set her apart from a young age. Her motivation is almost entirely self-driven, and she pushes herself to overcome any obstacle and succeed no matter the circumstances.” 

Did that motivation pay off? Well, it earned her a cumulative weighted GPA of 5.4, and an unweighted GPA of 4.0 for 4 years, a ranking of 4th in her class of 391, 14 Advanced Placement classes and 11 Honors classes, awards in Honors English, 4.0 Honor Roll all 4 years, AP Chemistry Department Award, Best Delegation award in our Lely High School’s Model United Nations, overall winner and recipient of the Lely High School’s Laureate Presentation/Academic Paper Scholarship, selected as best in Lely High School for her Laureate presentation and invited to present at the Collier County Symposium held at Naples High School. But wait, there are more! 

In an interview, I asked her, “This didn’t just happen, what enabled this academic success? 

Victoria explained, “My achievements, in part, are self-motivated, but only because of the way I was brought up and the discipline I was taught at a young age. My parents always taught me to be independent and self-sufficient. It is my belief that everyone can succeed, but having a strong motivation system in the family is often crucial to that success.” 

I then asked her, “You’ve mentioned the parenting part of your success, what about the school’s role in accomplishing your goals? 

“Teachers are often recognized for their drive for teaching and motivating their students. Through my 12 years of schooling, it is teachers I have to thank for the wealth of knowledge I’ve been fortunate to experience. Teachers have a deep understanding of their subject and are a crucial part of any successful education. Without my teachers, I would not have had an educational foundation for my future accomplishments. 

Victoria’s parents stated that they “are extremely proud of all her achievements, her admirable persistence and drive to achieve all her goals has impressed us beyond measure. Her motivation to succeed is inspiring and we’re proud to call her our daughter.” 

There’s more to a person than academic achievement, and that’s why other accomplishments are included on the application. For example, Extra-Curricular Activities. Victoria’s volunteer work at a wide variety of schools, Habitat for Humanity (Naples), Relay for Life, Social Media Coordinator of Spanish National Honor Society, Treasurer of the Lely Interact Club and Yoga Club, Model UN and yes, there’s even more. 

Edisson Cantor, The Medical Academy Teacher and Head Athletic Trainer at Lely High School said this about Victoria, “During the time I’ve known her, Victoria has demonstrated outstanding character, a great attitude and the ability to succeed despite any challenges. During her high school years, she has been able to excel academically with a perfect 4.0grade average while maintaining a great level of participation in extracurricular activities. Her outstanding performance is a direct result of her hard work, enthusiasm, dedication and strong focus. She has consistently demonstrated the ability to rise to any challenge that comes her way.” 

Lely High School Volleyball Coach Chris Addeo has 27 years of coaching under his belt, has coached travel volleyball at the highest levels, and as the head coach of the girls volleyball program at LHS, spoke highly of Victoria as he said, “Victoria is one of the finest athletes I’ve had the pleasure of coaching. She possesses the physical gifts to be a great player, but her mental approach to the game is even greater. She looks forward to taking the court and doing whatever she needs to do to defeat our opponent. Her intensity is second to no one.” 

Photos by Jory Westberry

In addition to playing competitive volleyball, competitive tennis and water-skiingnot at Lely, of courseVictoria has received Varsity letters in tennis all 4 years, captain of the tennis team for 4 years, named MVP (Coaches Award) and named All-County/Conference for Varsity Tennis all 4 years. She was captain of the Junior Varsity Volleyball team in her sophomore year and earned the Best Defensive Player award and moved up to Varsity where she earned the Best Defensive Player recognition during her junior and senior year. 

Due to space constraints, I can’t list all of Victoria’s accomplishments, but they are varied, widely respected, and definitely define her perseverance to be the best she can be in whatever challenges she takes. 

I asked her parents, Monica and Donald, what they see for Victoria in the future. They said, “We see a determined, successful and independent woman who is capable of accomplishing whatever she sets her mind to. Victoria has always aimed for the stars and we expect nothing less of her as she continues to accomplish her goals.” 

You can see why Victoria was chosen as a Winged Foot Scholar-Athlete Finalist with her combination of academic and athletic achievements. For those of you who are in the beginning stages, middle stages or high school stages of academic/athletic accomplishment, seek out the role models and follow their path, or, outpace them. By the way, she’s at the University of Florida this summer on a Presidential Scholarship.


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