Democrat Photo by Ted Waddell
WISDOM: Marissa Graby, a recent graduate
of Penn State (where she played on the
womens basketball team) and Delaware Valley
CS Class of 1996, was the keynote speaker at the
WSLs Scholar Athlete Award Breakfast.
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
Godlewski led the invocation and the Pledge of
Allegiance. The prestigious awards were presented by
Robert Elco, WSL President and WSL Coordinator Robert
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
its 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, Its a great
example of what were able to do at the WSL because
of our size. Its unfortunate that were going
to lose some of that going to a bigger league.
Theres something to be said for that little
compact league where everybody knows everybody else, and
we know all the parents, he added. Were
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.
Its great to honor these kids, he said.
Its important to honor these kids
its 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,
Its another one of those very emotional
[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
deans 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 masters degree in special education.
She expressed a desire to eventually become an athletic
Im 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 werent 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 wouldnt 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
In relating some experiences while playing for the Lady
Lions, Graby said, My teammates always joked about
the quote If it doesnt kill you, it will only
make you stronger...and Im proud to say
Im a pretty strong chick now.
In closing, Graby offered a few words of advice to the
WSLs 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
Its never too late to start setting
goals, she said. Dream big and start small,
whether for academic or athletic goals
better, best; never rest till you good is better, and
your better is best.