Vincent Ruggieri

Age: 18

School: State University of New York, Cortland, New York

Vincent is currently attending SUNY at Cortland, majoring in history, with hopes of teaching this important subject. Vincent strives for excellence academically, having been on a Youth Mentor and on the honor roll numerous times during his time at Oceanside High School and has an Advanced Regents High School Diploma. A student athlete as well, he played defense on the high school lacrosse team and also plays defense in his college roller hockey team. He has also fundraised for cancer research, volunteered as a construction worker for Hurricane Sandy Relief, and has worked every summer since he was 13. History teaches us valuable lessons on how to be a part of a global community, a nation, a local community and ultimately to be a good person with a sense of purpose. Vincent’s unique experience in life has given him a strong purpose to educate and positively impact those he will teach.

As a teenager, for 4 years he has been a CIT and junior counselor at Coleman Country Day Camp in Long Island. When Vincent was 17, a young boy in his camp group had just lost his older brother to a drug overdose. This immense loss took its toll on the boy and Vincent, who was responsible for his care and activities during camp hours. Although limited in life experience, Vincent instinctively stayed close to this boy and always quietly offered his hand and smile to lift his spirits. Vincent made the boy feel safe, yet the boy made Vincent feel important at the same time. At the end of the summer, the boy and his parents wrote a letter, and the boy expressed his deepest gratitude for Vincent being like his older brother and that he was “the best.” This was a life changing event for Vincent.