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WORDS OF WISDOM: Marissa Graby, a recent graduate of Penn State (where she played on the women’s basketball team) and Delaware Valley CS Class of 1996, was the keynote speaker at the WSL’s Scholar Athlete Award Breakfast.

Scholar-Athletes Honored

By Ted Waddell
LIBERTY — July 18, 2000 – Tuesday, the 6th of June, was a bittersweet day. In the morning, the 1999-2000 Western Sullivan League (WSL) scholar athletes were honored at the final WSL Scholar Athlete Awards breakfast, thus marking a page in the last chapter of the local athletic league. All the schools that make up the league will be joining the Orange County League (OCL).
The event was hosted by the Sullivan County BOCES at their campus located on Ferndale Loomis Road.
A cadre of dedicated WSL athletic directors was on hand to recognize the academic and athletic accomplishments of the students: Debbie Owen (Delaware Valley High School), Al Wojtaszek (Eldred), Bill Musgrove (Family Foundation School), Dave Franskevicz (Jeffersonville-Youngs-ville), Frank Godlewski (Livingston Manor), Scott Haberli (Narrowsburg), Fred Ahart (Roscoe) and Joe Iatauro (Tri-Valley).
Godlewski led the invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance. The prestigious awards were presented by Robert Elco, WSL President and WSL Coordinator Robert Chapman.
Guests at the final WSL Scholar Athlete Awards Breakfast included: Martin Handler, District Superintendent of Schools and James M. Osborne, OCL Athletic Coordinator.
“This is a bittersweet moment,” said Godlewski in his opening remarks, referring to the end of the WSL and the final scholar athletic awards ceremony.
WSL Coordinator Chapman echoed Godlewski in calling the event “bittersweet”, adding, “I think it’s excellent that kids can balance their academic and athletic abilities.”
Al Wojtaszek has been with the WSL for 28 years. Speaking of the awards ceremony, he said, “It’s a great example of what we’re able to do at the WSL because of our size. It’s unfortunate that we’re going to lose some of that going to a bigger league.
“There’s something to be said for that little compact league where everybody knows everybody else, and we know all the parents,” he added. “We’re going to miss these niceties related to the WSL.”
Bob Elco has been coaching and teaching at Narrowsburg for 31 years, and for the last five years has served as president of the WSL.
“It’s great to honor these kids,” he said. “It’s important to honor these kids… it’s important for us to know that athletics and academics go hand in hand.”
Fred Ahart is also in his 31st year with the WSL. Reflecting upon the final awards breakfast, he said, “It’s another one of those very emotional things… [and] I think Marissa gave a fine message to our young people.”

Graby Takes Podium
Marissa Graby, a 1996 graduate of Delaware Valley and member of the Penn State Lady Lions basketball team, was the keynote speaker.
At DVCS, she was coached in the art of basketball by Howie Whitmore and her father, Bill Graby.
At Penn State, the 21-year-old scholar athlete studied elementary education. She was a two-time winner of the dean’s academic achievement award. As a senior forward for the Lady Lions basketball team, Graby took to the court this past season as a co-captain.
According to Graby, she plans to attend grad school, studying for a master’s degree in special education. She expressed a desire to eventually become an athletic director.
“I’m really honored to be invited to be able to speak to such a wonderful group of student athletes,” Graby said in her opening remarks.
“I remember most of you from when I was in high school, but you weren’t as tall or coordinated back then. You have all come a long way since then, and your presence here is a testament to your hard work and dedication to academics and athletics.”
“A lot of things I faced in college were hard,” she added. “Some times I thought I wouldn’t be able to run one more sprint or stay up any longer to finish the third ten-page paper of the week, but I was always able to reach down deep inside and get it done. All of you have shown the same strength inside to overcome obstacles and succeed in anything you set your mind to.”
In relating some experiences while playing for the Lady Lions, Graby said, “My teammates always joked about the quote ‘If it doesn’t kill you, it will only make you stronger’...and I’m proud to say I’m a pretty strong chick now.”
In closing, Graby offered a few words of advice to the WSL’s 1999-2000 scholar athletes for making the transition from high school to college and achieving future goals by relating them to the letters in the word ATTITUDE: Academically focused, Tenacious, Time management, Intensity, Tough, Unique, Determined and Enjoyment.
“It’s never too late to start setting goals,” she said. “Dream big and start small, whether for academic or athletic goals… Good, better, best; never rest till you good is better, and your better is best.”

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