Friday, June 5, 2020

Graduating senior embodies strength, adaptability

Windham, High School 2020 graduate Anthony Gugliuzza
will attend Endicott College where he will pursue a
degree in athletic training and play football with a
long range goal of becoming a physical therapist.
By Ed Pierce

Nobody better exemplifies the spirit and resilience of the Class of 2020 graduates at Windham High School than Anthony Gugliuzza.
He’s intelligent, a skilled athlete, caring, respectful, a positive role model for younger students and a genuine leader who knows where he’s headed in life, like many of his classmates. Among his many accomplishments, Gugliuzza served as Senior Class president, finished seventh overall academically in his graduating class, taught Spanish to local kindergarten students, supported DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education program) and competed in football, basketball and lacrosse. the fall, Gugliuzza, the son of AJ and Kristen Gugliuzza of Windham, will attend Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts to pursue an accelerated degree in Sports Science and Athletic Training with a concentration in Physical Therapy. He’ll be suiting up for Endicott in football and ultimately hopes to become a physical therapist or physician’s assistant someday.
“Anthony is one of the most thoughtful, caring, and kind leaders I’ve had the pleasure of coaching and working with. His positivity is infectious, and he is a selfless leader,” said Philip Rosetti, Windham High School assistant principal. “He puts the team first in everything. His work ethic and determination are excellent. He wants to succeed in the classroom, on the athletic fields, and in life. What really sets him apart is he is a leader that can connect with everybody and this is achieved by his kindness to others. He is a tremendous person.”
Gugliuzza says he’ll miss his time at Windham High and all of the classes he’s taken there through the years.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to take a lot of memorable classes over my high school career, but if forced to choose one, I would have to say Leadership was my favorite,” he said. “Not only did I take that class with two of my amazing coaches, I also got the chance to hear from some equally remarkable speakers. Over the course of this class, I learned a lot of important skills that I will have for the rest of my life.”
He said that he’s learned so much about himself while attending Windham High and feels prepared to handle adversity or any challenges thrown his way in life.
“I’ve definitely learned a lot. I think that for me, I use adversity as motivation and fuel. I think at the end of the day, we all face adversity, but it’s how we respond to it that truly defines who we are,” Gugliuzza said. “It’s not hard to be a frontrunner. However, it is those who face challenges head on, those who use hardships as a means to get stronger that are successful in life. My parents always said that adversity is what make the victories much sweeter, and they were right. I’ve lived it. The senior class has lived it, but in the end, these minor setbacks will be minor details in the legacy we build. Adversity breeds success and my time at Windham High School has certainly shown me that.”
According to Gugliuzza, one thing stands out the most regarding his high school experience.“The best thing about Windham High School is the staff and how close they are and the relationships they try to build with students,” he said. “They go above and beyond and that’s evident with the graduation ceremonies.”
And, he gives credit to other teachers he had along the way in RSU 14 schools that helped prepare him to become a great student.
“I really want to thank my math and science teacher at Windham Middle School, John Condello,” Gugliuzza said. “I had to have foot surgery while I was a student at the middle school and while recovering at home, Mr. Condello would come to my house and teach me every day after school to keep me up to speed on my work. I will not forget how much he cared.”
He also praised his fifth-grade teacher, Sabrina Nickerson, whom he says was instrumental in improving his academic skills and study habits. 
“She got me out of my comfort zone and pushed me to be better academically. It gave me confidence going forward,” Gugliuzza said. “She’s the one who nominated me for the People to People Leadership Program and from that experience I was able to go to Washington, D.C.”
In high school, Gugliuzza had to put in plenty of long hours studying each night after practicing for the sports teams he played on after school and then was up by 7 a.m. each morning to be on time for his first class of the day at 7:25 a.m.     
“I’m sure there were plenty of great classes that I did not have the opportunity to take,” he said. “However, I had some amazing teachers, so any additional classes with them would have been great.”
Having influential teachers as a younger student really assisted Gugliuzza to tap into his full potential, he said.
“I think my work ethic and approachable personality have given me the ability to truly connect with my peers and teachers, thus allowing me to be successful both in and out of the classroom,” Gugliuzza said. “My parents always taught me from a young age to treat others with kindness, love, and respect and at the end of the day, I think that it is this guidance and support that has shaped me into who I am.”
His mother, Kristen, said the Gugliuzza family take great pride in what their son has been able to accomplish so far and are thrilled to see him graduate and take the next step in his life at college.
“It means a lot. As a parent you push them to realize their potential,” she said. “He’s a unique kid. He’s smart and he’s compassionate. I do wish the graduation was under better circumstances this year, but I’m mighty proud of my son.” his junior year, Anthony joined his classmates on a school excursion to Salem, Massachusetts and he said it was his favorite field trip he participated in as a student.
“It was really awesome to walk around the city and see all of the historic landmarks with my friends,” he said. “The atmosphere was really cool as well, given the fact that the Red Sox were playing in Game One of the World Series later that night.”
In 10 years, Gugliuzza sees himself as an established professional working in the medical field. 
“I want to be a role model within my community and have a positive impact on the lives of others,” he said. 
With his plans for the future clearly within reach, Gugliuzza said he believes that if he continues to work hard and treat others with respect, he can achieve his dreams. 
“Growing up, I’ve always admired Tom Brady,” he said. “I’ve admired his work ethic and everything he stands for, so I think one of my favorite expressions would have to be when he said ‘If you don’t believe in yourself, why is anyone else going to believe in you.’” <

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