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Elwood Honors Exceptional Musical And Athletic Award-Winners

Photo courtesy of Elwood School District

Two award-winning Elwood-John H. Glenn High School students were honored by the Elwood School District Board of Education at its Jan. 11 meeting. Musician Davin Li was recognized for achieving All-State Orchestra honors, while athlete Benjamin Ross was recognized for winning the James LaBue Award for the top scholar-athlete in Suffolk County for football. In addition to recognition certificates from the board of education, both students received citations from Assemblyman Steve Stern.

Li was introduced by orchestra teacher Emily Dana. She noted in order to qualify for consideration to perform as part of the All-State Symphony Orchestra last month in Rochester, Li had to receive a perfect score on his solo at the NYSSMA Festival.

“Not only did Davin receive a perfect score, he did so with extremely positive comments from the adjudicator,” Dana said. “Davin actually chose a very risky piece for the audition. He played a Bach concerto, which is extremely challenging because of the nuance of phrasing and the maturity of interpretation. Davin absolutely committed to a beautiful interpretation and played it expertly. Davin’s success is attributed to his own hard work and dedication. In addition to his successful NYSSMA Solo, he was selected based on his many performance accolades, including continued appearances in LISFA, SCMEA, NYSCAME All-County, Long Island Youth Orchestra, and also studying in Germany. Davin is one of the humblest students I have met. He tries his best every day and is an extremely hard worker. Davin is a silent leader in orchestra. He helps those around him simply by being his kind self. His leadership extends way beyond musical leadership as concert master of Elwood’s orchestras. He’s a leader throughout the community of John Glenn. Davin radiates humility, confidence and maturity, which tied to his exceptional musicianship, made him a perfect candidate for being recognized as one of the best violinists in the state.”

Ross, a three-year starter for the Knights at both offensive and defensive tackle, was named team captain this year and led Glenn to a 7-1 regular season. In addition to the Suffolk County Football Association awarding him the LaBue trophy, Ross earned All-County status and the Conference 4 Leadership Award, and was a finalist for the SCFA’s Thomas Cutinella Most Outstanding Leadership Award. In academics, he boasts a 99.37 GPA, scored 1,550 on the SAT. Ross is John Glenn’s Business Club president and Italian Club vice-president; a member of the school’s Natural Helpers, Freshman Buddies and Community Service clubs; and an Eagle Scout senior patrol leader.

“Ben’s work ethic and dedication is beyond reproach,” said Dave Shanahan, Glenn’s athletic director and head football coach. “Ben is respected by his coaches, teammates and teachers, but he has also spent hours working with freshmen and sophomores in our program to build relationships and help them develop their football skills. During the course of my career, I’ve coached hundreds of student-athletes. I can say without reservation that Ben Ross is one of the most outstanding athletes I’ve ever coached.

“These two John Glenn High School students epitomize what it means to be an Elwood Knight,” Principal Corey McNamara said. “We often speak about the importance of teaching to the whole child. Our board goals include extraordinary student focus, and our mission statement includes words like integrity and industrious spirit. These two student role models do that and so much more. Thank you for all of the Elwood pride that you continue to exhibit and exude on a daily basis.”

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