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NHS Chief Advocate

Lodice, Viveros Honored as Nonnewaug’s CIAC Scholar-Athletes

Nonnewaug’s 2024 CIAC scholar-athletes, Gianna Lodice and Kyle Viveros, pose with girls soccer and boys tennis head coach Nick Sheikh at the CIAC Scholar-Athlete Awards Banquet, held on May 5 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington. (Courtesy of Dana Lodice)

WOODBURY – Being a student is hard enough on its own, but being a scholar-athlete takes a special level of dedication which many choose not to pursue. 

Being an “exemplary” scholar and athlete who is “a model to others,” as the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference’s website describes those selected as recipients of the Scholar-Athlete Award, is just that much more demanding. 

This year, the two athletes selected from Nonnewaug High School are girls soccer and track captain Gianna Lodice, and boys swimming and tennis captain Kyle Viveros.

As Nonnewaug athletic director Declan Curtin puts it, students who fit the mold of a scholar-athlete are the “top of the top.”

“It’s the balance of being a student and also being an athlete,” he said. “It’s someone that is always involved, someone that gives up a lot of their own time. It’s a person who does not put themselves first all the time. It’s someone who has ambition and goals, and in this case has achieved all those goals.” 

Lodice, a multi-time Berkshire League all-star and team champion in both of her sports, believes that becoming a scholar-athlete requires a special level of discipline.

“Throughout my time as a Nonnewaug student, [both] academics and athletics have been very high on my priority list,” Lodice said. “And it takes a great amount of dedication to make sure you can excel in both those areas, but also balance them.”

Gianna Lodice, left, and Kyle Viveros, right, hold their plaques and pose for a photo at the CIAC Scholar-Athlete Awards Banquet on May 5. Pictured with them is Scott Meyer, another Nonnewaug senior and the recipient of the 2024 Michael H. Savage Spirit of Sport Award. (Courtesy of Declan Curtin)

Considering this, Lodice says that being a recipient of this award is “a testament to the fact that all of the many many hours of hard work over the past 4 years have been recognized by other people.” 

“It’s very humbling for sure, and kind of unexpected because there are a bunch of [great] student athletes in my grade on the girls side and the boys side,” she added. “I was very excited when I found out, and definitely very grateful.” 

Nick Sheikh, the girls soccer and boys tennis coach at Nonnewaug, praises Lodice’s work ethic. 

“She’s shown resilience and poise under duress or high-pressure situations; she remains calm, cool, and collected,” Sheikh said. “She’s also shown resilience when things haven’t gone her way. She’s also not afraid to speak her mind when she needs to.”

Viveros, a BL all-star in tennis, agrees that becoming a scholar-athlete doesn’t come effortlessly. 

“It takes a lot of hard work and passion. You have to set goals and do what it takes to achieve them,” he said. “They don’t give it out to everyone, so it’s not necessarily easy.” 

Sheikh, who himself was one of two Nonnewaug scholar-athletes in 1999, emphasized Viveros’ point that the award is, indeed, unique. 

“I got the award when I was a senior here in high school, and having done it, I know there’s a lot of work,” he said. “It’s good for him and I’m proud of him.”

The challenging schedule Viveros and Lodice put themselves through at Nonnewaug will help them when they go to college next year. Lodice will attend Hillsdale College, competing in track and field at the Division II level, and Viveros will be attending Penn State, where he hopes to take part in club and/or intramural sports. 

As for the student-athletes who will return to Nonnewaug’s campus next fall, Viveros and Lodice have advice for rising seniors and underclassmen whose future goals include becoming a scholar-athlete. 

“Work hard towards your goals you set, and as long as you keep up with your schoolwork and show leadership in your sport, you should be rewarded for it,” said Viveros. “It takes a lot of time management, and that’s a skill you can learn.”

“Focus on finding that balance between student and athlete so that you can do your best in both areas while also living the other aspects of your life to the fullest — and don’t be afraid to put in the hard work,” Lodice added. “The nature of it is that it’s difficult to find that equilibrium, but if you’re willing to dedicate yourself as equally as you can, you’ll see the results come through — and you will be more well-rounded and happier because of it.” 

About the Contributor
Audrey Doran '27
Audrey Doran '27, Reporter
Audrey Doran is a freshman at Nonnewaug High School and writes for the NHS Chief Advocate. She lives in Bethlehem and plays soccer for the school. She enjoys writing about sports and news in the community.
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