By LISA CAPOBIANCO
For Jordan Silva and Benjamin Czuprinski, balancing homework, sports and student activities was not easy, but remembering the sacrifices made by their families inspired the St. Paul Catholic High School seniors to keep pushing through over the past four years.
When Silva was named valedictorian for the Class of 2017, seeing the look on his grandmother’s face was a special moment for him. Silva said his grandmother did not have the opportunity to attend high school while growing up in Puerto Rico.
“Just seeing her face really made it special,” said Silva, who plans to major in biology at Harvard University this fall.
Czuprinski also enjoyed sharing that moment with his grandmother when he was named salutatorian for the Class of 2017.
The support of his family what Czuprinski said motivated him to thrive for success throughout high school.
“That has definitely been my motivation behind everything. I just know the sacrifices they made to make sure I was able to come here,” said Czuprinski, who will attend Marist College this fall.
Silva said he knew his purpose in high school after seeing the sacrifices his parents made for his older brother to attend St. Paul.
“I saw the sacrifices they had to make for him to come here,” said Silva, a Southington resident. “For them to make the same sacrifices for me, I knew I was here for a reason—to excel and to do the best I could, and to set an example for my younger brother who is going to be coming here next year.”
While achieving various academic awards, Silva immersed himself into a variety of leadership roles at St. Paul—from math team president to class president to captain of the football and wrestling teams.
Looking back on his high school experience, Silva said he particularly enjoyed these leadership roles.
As captain of the wrestling team, which he started with his older brother four years ago, Silva said he enjoyed watching his teammates grow.
“I’ve been wrestling since the second grade, so being able to take my experience and show it to them and watch them grow throughout the season was definitely really rewarding,” said Silva.
From cross country and indoor track to the United Way Youth Board to student government, Czuprinski also delved into a variety of community service and student activities throughout high school while winning various academic awards.
Looking back on his involvement, Czuprinski said the ArtScience Prize program at the Boys & Girls Club of Bristol Family Center was the most rewarding part of his high school experience. Formed in 2008, the ArtScience Prize is a worldwide program that inspires students to explore and create groundbreaking projects that involve art and design infused with the sciences.
Through the program two years ago, Czuprinski not only met peers from other Bristol schools, but he also had the opportunity to bring his team’s innovation to the national level of the competition, where he met students from all over the world.
“I really can’t compare it to anything I’ve ever done,” said Czuprinski, a Plainville resident. “It was rewarding to form that team and connection with the three students I was with—we were like a family by the end of the year.”
Noting how the tight-knit community at St. Paul provided a second home for them, both Silva and Czuprinski thanked the support they received from faculty.
“We couldn’t do this on our own,” said the graduates, who both recently received the Summa Scholar Award from the Archdiocese of Hartford.
Comments? Email lcapobianco@BristolObserver.com.