Student athlete, it’s a term that’s very popular at Westhill, and many coaches like to focus on the idea that student comes before athlete. Although some may say school comes before athletics, Westhill really does believe it. In order to even be a student athlete you must have at least a 2.0 GPA. If you are under a 2.0 you are deemed ineligible to participate in athletics, Mike Fedeli leader of the Purple P.A.C.T will now be in charge of making sure student athletes are above that 2.0 mark.
Fedeli, a Westhill alumni has decided to come back to the school and become an Athletic Coach for the sports programs when asked why Fedeli decided to return he said the following. “When I finished college, I came back to visit, and asked Coach Marcucio if he needed any help with the football team. That turned into a coaching position, which eventually led to the current position that I have now as the Academic-Athletic Coach of the Purple PACT. Fedeli will take lead of a program at Westhill called the Purple P.A.C.T, which stands for Players Academic Counseling and Tutoring. Head Football Coach Frank Marcucio started the program in 2013 with the help of Ms. Figluzzi.
The program mainly receives its funding from the Peter Cernansky Memorial Fund INC. Peter Cernansky or “Pistol Pete” as he was known on the Westhill Football field tragically died in a skateboarding accident. The Cernansky family offered to make a donation in Petes name, and although Marcucio appreciated the gesture he decided instead that they should host a golf tournament, it has become an annual tradition and the first time the tournament was held, it brought it a surprisingly large amount of money netting $35,000.
With the funding necessary, Coach Marcucio decided to start a tutoring system for student athletes in order to keep them on top of their schoolwork. Marcucio, along with Mrs. Figluzzi formed, the Purple P.A.C.T. The Purple P.A.C.T has rapidly become a huge help to many athletes and is incredibly beneficial to all athletes.
“It offers help to many kids that need it. Trying to balance sports and studies is an incredibly difficult task, and this program can help in that regard. It offers free tutoring sessions twice a week, as well as, in the future, SAT/ACT prep courses, Midterm/Final study sessions, as well as a quiet place for athletes to get work done.” said Coach Fedeli.
Fedeli also stresses how important it is to him to keep all student athletes eligible. “I want to eliminate academic ineligibility in our sports teams by getting kids that are at risk of falling below the standards for athletic play into our program, and getting them the help that they need in order to succeed, and play the sports that they love.”
Westhill Junior and football captain Anthony Dastoli said, “I’ve used the purple pact as another source of tutoring and extra help for SAT. Purple pact is helping many student athletes getting the grades they need to play or get the grades to get into a better college. It is helping me with my SAT so hopefully I can play at a very good school with a great football program.”
What many athletes might not know is that this program is available to all teams not just football. The Purple P.A.C.T can be found in room 913A. If athletes feel the need for extra help, Tuesday and Thursday 2:05- 3:05 Tutors from TutorMeSOS can be found in Fedeli’s room. Fedeli also welcomed athletes with a study hall to come by and have a “quiet, distraction free place to get work done, and to take a step away from the active environment at Westhill.”
The Purple P.A.C.T’s success is already showing, specifically on the football team. About 3 years ago the freshmen football team was unable to keep enough players eligible to complete the season just the following season, only one player was deemed academically ineglible. So student athletes, before that big test, stop by 913A and get some extra studying in.