BY DARIAN SABLON
It’s five in the morning, the sun is hidden away by the clouds, and there is barely anyone in sight. Most students would still be sleeping around this time, snoring their last few hours away. However, in the low lit streets of Cooper City, there is a lone figure running as if his life depends on it. Weaving around the corners and bends, over the hills and through parks, CCHS Senior Brent Pappas is trying to squeeze in some jogging before the difficult day ahead.
When applying to colleges, people often try to appear as if they are participants in a wide variety of fields, trying to look as well-rounded as they possibly can in order to get accepted to where they want to go. Yet it is only a few individuals who can actually attest to being proficient in a whole multitude of activities and extracurriculars, ranging from numerous sports to computer science, math and writing. Pappas is one of them, breaking the expected standards while still enjoying himself.
It wasn’t always like this though. When he was younger, Pappas would rarely participate in any after school activities or extracurriculars. Like a lot of people, he would get home, study, do homework, and play videogames until it was time to sleep for the next school day. However, in his freshman year of high school, all of that changed for him. As a ninth grader, Pappas joined the wrestling team of CCHS, and with his new seven-period schedule, his academic and personal life would now be stark different to what it was once before.
“It was very much a challenge and I wasn’t very sure if I was going to be able to keep my grades up at that time and stay true to who I really was at that time,” Pappas said. “It was really difficult but I’m glad I went through with it. It instilled in me a sense of responsibility.”
Although he stopped participating in wrestling his sophomore year, this sense of responsibility and time management would not only become an essential part of his academic life but also his personal life. Aside from wrestling, Pappas would join the swimming, tennis and cross country teams while also taking multiple APs. Yet, he would also add on top of that a part-time job and multiple hobbies such as unicycling, and, most importantly, coding.
Often times, in high school, people find something they really enjoy and even though they may dabble in other things, they usually stay within their niche and become pros in that area. Pappas is different. He did not just become good at sports, but he also became an avid coder, making a vast amount of programs throughout his high school career, and in fact joining the Computer Science Club. He also became part of AP Computer Science, an AP that requires extensive knowledge of how to understand and write code. He is now taking AP Computer Principles.
However, even though he is proficient in a variety of topics and areas, Pappas himself has realized that in trying to be a well-rounded person, there are limitations in traveling the path to be such a person.
“I’ve always wanted to be a balanced individual, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve seen that’s quite difficult because everything takes time,” Pappas said. “I’ve realized that one can become good at anything, it just takes time and time is the one thing you cannot get back.”
His efforts have nonetheless inspired many of those who know him, especially for those at home, with his younger brother Collin Pappas, a CCHS Junior, growing up and seeing Brent as a constant role model.
“Growing up with Brent helped me grow as a person because he’s one of my role models and he’s someone I can look up to and how to model my life after,” Collin said. “He keeps pushing me to strive for better and set up goals for myself.”
Pappas has also shown to be a stellar example in school, helping other classmates and leaving an impression on teachers such as David Schultz, the current Robotics, Physics and AP Computer Principles Teacher.
“I would say that Brent is a polite, courteous young man who’s been a pleasure to have in class,” Schultz said. “Brent is a role model to his peers by leading through his example, completing his work on time with precision and I think other students notice that and try to follow.”
Aside from his academics and coding, Pappas has also taken an interest in the well-known fantasy game of Dungeons and Dragons, a roleplaying game where people cooperate and battle creatures while being consulted by someone called the Dungeon Master. Although not something that colleges may be interested in per se, Pappas participates in these games with the same fervor and enjoyment that he does with other activities.
“It’s a lot of fun playing Dungeons and Dragons with Brent, he’s creative and adds to the campaign by being a good Dungeon Master, and he makes it fun in general,” CCHS Senior Eduardo Juan Hernandez said.
And with a long list of possible majors to lean towards, Pappas has of course chosen to become a computer scientist, aiming to be accepted into a high profile schools like John Hopkins. Yet even with a positive future ahead of him, Brent has not lost sight of the long road he has travelled and what motivates him to become a better person.
“In the future, I hope not so much to be famous or wealthy or anything extravagant. I just wish to be happy and live a life that makes others around me happy,” Pappas said. “I want to be humble and capable.”