SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Spotswood High School senior Ioannis Hatzistefanis is better known as Yanni by most people who know him. Hatzistefanis was a member of the Chargers boys varsity soccer team for all four years. The Spotswood native was a part of the Greater Middlesex Conference Blue Division championship teams his freshman and senior seasons. He was named to the All-Blue Division team and has been a second team sectional All-State player as well. The honor roll student was also one of the captains for the Chargers varsity soccer team.
Hatzistefanis was voted Most Artistic his senior year along with classmate Sheliza Dollete. Art classes have always been a favorite of Hatzistefanis. The teen has had many top teachers at Spotswood High School, but if he had to pick one as a favorite, his choice would be English teacher Suzanne Fredricks.
Hatzistefanis' time on the soccer field with his Chargers' teammates accounts for most of his meaningful high school memories. Outside of school, soccer is a big part of his life too. Hatzistefanis is a member of the FC Copa Soccer Academy NL. The travel soccer organization is based in Metuchen. Hatzistefanis committed to play for Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania back in February.
The coronavirus pandemic has greatly impacted the Class of 2020's final year of high school with many of the senior class' milestones being canceled or put on hold.
"I wish I could have spent more time with all my friends in this very talented art class, as well as experience a full year with classmates and teachers," Hatzistefanis said.
Hatzistefanis and his classmates in AP Art and Design have been working with Spotswood High School Art teacher Alyson Collins to put together a Digital Art Show. Normally, the senior art students are showcased at the school's annual Spring Art Show that coincides with the Music Concert in May. Each senior has a prominent display of his or her work in the Media Center. The concert and show were both canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Digital Art Show will be in June.
"I hope whoever sees our artwork resonates with it and feels inspired to do something of their own, because if not, then our jobs as artists have not been completed properly," Hatzistefanis said of the upcoming Digital Art Show.
"I loved doing these pieces," he continued. "I hope all the people who see them enjoy it and that they go do something they love doing, too."
At Marywood University, Hatzistefanis will have the opportunity to pursue both of his passions; soccer and art. He will be a member of the Pacers men's soccer team and plans on majoring in Illustration.