Floyd senior earns full ROTC scholarship

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Service has been in Joseph Mazzarella’s blood from a young age, going back to his days as a member of the Moriches Elementary School student council and extending throughout his time at William Floyd Middle School, and now William Floyd High School through the myriad leadership roles he has undertaken along the way. Now, after high school graduation this Saturday, Joseph is about to embark on a new journey of service with a full-tuition Army ROTC scholarship to The Pennsylvania State University, where he will major in supply-chain management with a minor in military science. Joseph, a future member of the Penn State Class of 2025, will, after college graduation, commission as a second lieutenant and begin serving an eight-year commitment to the U.S. Army.

A lifelong resident attending William Floyd schools K-12, Joseph is a leader in every sense of the word, as evidenced by maintaining stellar academics and participating in a plethora of extracurricular and volunteer activities. Throughout his academic career, he has challenged himself with a rigorous course load of advanced placement, honors and accelerated courses each year, and performed spectacularly, finishing ranked No. 22 in his class. Earlier this school year, he also received a nomination to the U.S. Naval Academy from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, one of only eight from Long Island for the Class of 2021.

Kerry Brewer, Joseph’s school counselor throughout high school, also extolled his leadership abilities. “From the first time I met him, it was clear that Joseph is a young man who is destined for great things. He has consistently proven to be a natural-born leader who takes his responsibilities seriously. He is well-spoken, reliable and has a strong moral character. He is also highly motivated and intellectually gifted,” she added. Brewer credits Joseph’s success partially to his inquisitive nature and ability to reason and think things through.

As far as extracurricular activities, Joseph has enjoyed his time serving as a member of Student Government, with stints as a class council member as a freshman and sophomore, followed by serving as vice president and president during his junior and senior years, respectively. He is also a dedicated member of the history club, serving as its public relations officer; has been a member of the National Honor Society for all four years of high school; and was a member of the Future Business Leaders of America as a junior, earning a spot in the state competition in the category “parliamentary procedure.” Along the same vein, he was a member of the award-winning YMCA Youth & Government program, serving as the statewide presiding officer as a junior and a senior with duties such as planning the conference, chairing the senate chamber and conducting parliamentary procedure. He also had the top two mock legislative bills at the state conference and was named a delegate to the federal Conference on National Affairs for his skill and effort. 

Robert Feeney, longtime Youth and Government advisor, describes Joseph as a “quality and gifted individual” who leads with “empathy.” Feeney believes that Joseph’s “competitive abilities will ensure his success both in and out of the classroom.” Speaking of his time as a member of Youth and Government, Feeney added that Joseph is a “bright, articulate and passionate debater, able to persuade a chamber to his position… he has developed into a strong leader who has gained the support of his peers throughout the state, and who recognizes [in the context of governance] that it is important to build consensus in reaching decisions.”

Joseph has also left his mark on William Floyd in athletics—playing soccer and helping to lead many of his teams as the captain—junior varsity (ninth-10th grade) and varsity (11th-12th grade), as well as being a member of the lacrosse team. He also played for the varsity football team as the kicker during his junior year.

In addition to his extracurricular and academic records, Joseph is active in volunteer service—in school as president of Billy Floyd’s Closet, a school-wide charitable organization that donates coats, school supplies and other supplies for students who need them, and assists with costs for senior year activities and events. He is also an active volunteer at the Kent Animal Shelter, where he volunteers to walk the shelter dogs while they wait to be adopted. 

“I have had a strong inclination to dedicate myself to service from a young age,” said Joseph, who believes that leadership is among the most important qualities that one can develop. He tries to lead by example with his peers and for students following after him. He believes that they should know that success comes with patience, hard work and the drive to achieve one’s goals. He lives by the saying, “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.” Joseph added, “Leadership does not have to come with a title. It is as simple as being nice to people, listening to their ideas, making decisions and solving problems.”

Joseph credits his parents as being his biggest supporters and role models, and added that William Floyd has also been instrumental in his success. “I can’t express how grateful I am to have been a student at William Floyd and grown up in this community,” said Joseph. “It is a special place that I will forever hold close to my heart. Learning and leading in a diverse student body has shaped my character and perspectives. As a result, I am able to approach all people and all situations with an open mind and an open heart, thanks to my experiences at William Floyd. I will take what I have learned through my experiences here and continue to develop into the best person I can be.”

On his desire to serve his nation, Joseph said, “Service to one’s country is an honor and a privilege that must not be taken lightly. By serving in the Army, I would be doing something larger than myself and experience something unique. This country has given me my freedom and the opportunity to pursue happiness in life, and I want to be a part of preserving those freedoms.”

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