James Kondrat -
2012 Kevin Higgins College
Scholarship Grant Recipient
San Diego, CA (December 5, 2012) - James Kondrat is another of this year’s Kevin Higgins College Scholarship recipients who has enjoyed great success in the classroom and on the playing fields. As an athlete, James was a track & field and soccer star at Xavier High School in New York City before rugby came into his life. James ran the 55 meter high hurdles and performed in the high jump. In 2009 he received the Most Improved Jumper award when he raised his personal best from 5’4” to 5’10” in one season. His team won both the indoor and outdoor NYC championship title in 2008.
James was also a four-year goalkeeper for Xavier leading the team to city championships in both 2008 and 2009. He received the Most Improved Player award in 2010. That was the same year that James took his athletic prowess to the rugby pitch for the perennial powerhouse Xavier High School rugby team. In his first year, James was part of a Xavier team that won the USA Rugby High School Championship title. The following year Xavier lost in the title match and in 2012, with James as captain, Xavier finished third in the country.
“James is an intelligent lock who could win ball at any spot in the line-out as well as play effectively and skillfully in the open field,” said his high school coach, Mike Tolkin, who is also the U.S. Men’s National Team coach. “He led his team through talented performances on the field and dignified leadership around the squad. He was a well-liked and respected young man around the school and among the faculty. His pleasant and friendly demeanor mirrored what the school and his coaches desired in the model of a complete athlete.”
James graduated with a 3.6 GPA from Xavier High School and was a member of the National Honors Society, Loyola Chapter in 2010 and 2011. He received Second Honors his freshmen, sophomore and junior years in History, English and Math. He was a two-time recipient of the Prudential Spirit of Community Award in 2010 and 2011. He was also a Retreat Leader at his Xavier Senior Class Retreat.
One of James’ teachers at Xavier remembers him well. “James always went above and beyond the requirements for readings, projects and discussion,” said Eileen Carty, James’ history teacher. “Not only does he challenge his classmates to think, he also challenges me in the classroom. He manages to do so while being respectful and out of a true desire to see things from all angles. He approaches his studies as a true intellectual and I looked forward to hearing his opinions in class and reading his well-supported arguments in his written work. James had always shown a desire not just to get a good grade, but also to understand and learn how to improve.”
Off the playing fields, James has a long history of giving back. In 2009, he volunteered on his summer break at First Fruits Farm, picking fruits and vegetables to feed the poor and hungry in Maryland. The following year he volunteered with H.O.P.E., Helping Others and People Everywhere, through St. Augustine Church in Brooklyn, NY. The same year he was also one of 60 Xavier students who, through Appalachia Habitat for Humanity, constructed a home during their summer break for a family in need in Robbins, TN. During his junior year he volunteered on Sundays at the St. Francis Xavier Church’s Welcome Table Soup Kitchen preparing and serving hot meals to the homeless. In the summer between his junior and senior years of high school, James was part of a Habitat for Humanity group that constructed foundations and roofs for poor families in Tijuana, Mexico. James’ Senior Service Project at Xavier saw him transporting cancer patients to chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and providing companionship to patients before and after cancer treatments, at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital.
James leaves the high caliber rugby program at Xavier for another such program on the collegiate level as he laced up his boots this fall as a member of the Cal rugby program. Bears coach Jack Clark has seen enough already to know that James is a find, both on the pitch and in the classroom. “James is a terrific young man. His potential as a student-athlete is through the roof. He is also a high character young man whose maturity is striking. He's taking 17 challenging units his first term and his rugby and physical development training has been impressive.”
James considers himself “multi-interested” as to which academic direction to follow. While he’s deciding on which curriculum to follow he would like to fulfill his dream of representing the United States on the rugby field at the Olympic Games.
Congratulations James on being named a 2012 Kevin Higgins College Scholarship recipient.
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