This student is defining what it means to be a student-athlete.
Bryan Caraballo plays three sports while maintaining a 4.0 grade point average, volunteering and participating in leadership development program.
In recognition of his achievements, the student at Jane Addams Hight School for Academic Careers drecently was named a Foot Locker Scholar Athlete and received a $20,000 scholarship to help him pay for Middlebury College, an elite school in Vermont.
Caraballo, from the Grand Concourse area, plays baseball, soccer, and wrestles throughout the year but keeps his priorities straight.
“The most important thing is time management and knowing your academics are first,” said Caraballo.
He said that in his neighborhood environment he’s constantly surrounded by drugs and other negative influences, but that his activities have kept him out of trouble.
“I’ve been involved in sports, and that doesn’t give me time to hang out after school with the wrong people,” he said.
He said he’s had help from great mentors, including his wrestling coach, who has tried to mentally prepare him for what to expect in college. And he participates in the Urban Ambassadors, a leadership and college prep program for the past three years, which he said gave him a strong support system.
Caraballo also volunteered throughout high school with the organization buildOn, completing enough local service hours to be sent on their trip to build a school in Malawi last year.
He stayed with a family, and said that the challenges his host brother faced to get an education made the challenges Caraballo faced feel small. He said his experience helped him fight “senioritis” throughout his last year.
“I said I wouldn’t make excuses when I came back from that,” said Caraballo.
Caraballo will be the first in his family to attend college, and he said he’s excited to get out of the South Bronx, meet new people, and learn about new perspectives.
He said the scholarship, which is funded by the Foot Locker Foundation and administered by the organization DoSomething.org, is not the only scholarship he has, but it means a lot in terms of reducing his college costs each year.
“It takes that much more of a financial burden off me and my mother,” he said.
Caraballo was one of more than 27,000 applicants for 20 scholarships through the Foot Locker Scholar Athlete Program.
Mary Signorino, a spokeswoman for the Foot Locker Foundation, said the organization was impressed by Caraballo because he was so motivated and well-rounded.
“It’s been amazing to see deserving kids get opportunities that maybe they wouldn’t get on their own,” she said. “It’s kids like Bryan that make it so worthwhile for us.”