SPRINGFIELD, NJ – For 2017, the individual chosen to be Jonathan Dayton High School’s NJSIAA 2017 Scholar Athlete was lifelong Springfield resident Karly Fitzpatrick. She received the honor because she was a good role model who excelled in academics as well as athletics, and she also took time to give back to the school and community. In other words, she greatly exceeded the minimum requirements for receiving this honor.
Meeting at the high school and near the softball field just after the awards luncheon, her parents seemed to be reflecting on all she accomplished and that she was about to take the “next step” and attend James Madison University. A very proud mother said, “She surprises (in a good way) us at every turn.”
As a member of the National Honor Society, Karly said she took a “rigorous course load” and was also expected to tutor other students. Part of the course load included taking many advance placement classes including History, Composition, Literature, and Statistics. She said she “…got a good education at Jonathan Dayton.”
Thinking of her favorite classes, Karly mentioned Statistics class, the TV Studio and English class. All have teachers she enjoys and she likes the subject matter as well.
When asked about some of her favorite books, she focused on books she read this school year and they include Jane Eyre, Frankenstein, and The Poisonwood Bible.
In her four years at Dayton, Karly played on the varsity soccer team and softball team all four years. She was one of the captains of both teams in her senior year.
One the soccer team, Karly played center back. On the softball team, she is the catcher. In softball, she did well behind the plate and at the plate. Her career batting average is.296, and her on base percentage is .412. A consistent run producer, Karly knocked in 48 runs with 73 hits in her 247 at bats.
At the beginning of the softball season, Coach Pamela de la Flave described Karly as “…a four year varsity player and captain. Karly, as always, does a great job catching for us. Teams are afraid to run on her because she has such a presence behind the plate and rarely lets any balls get by her. She’s incredibly tough and isn’t afraid to sacrifice her body in order to make a play or stop the ball. There is nobody who can do a better job than her behind the plate, and we are fortunate to have her.”
Just like many Jonathan Dayton students, Karly finds time outside academics and sports to volunteer and give back to the community and the school through at least four different forums.
First, she says she is a member of the Medical Career Club. This club gives members an opportunity to discuss career paths, go on field trips to medical institutions like Overlook Hospital and volunteering. One of the places she volunteers is Overlook Hospital. This club and its activities are part of foundation that she expects to eventually be her profession.
Second, she is a member of the Gay Straight Alliance, which is an acceptance club. The other club she is a member of is the Volunteer Club and some of the ways she volunteers in this club is by helping at the community food bank, doing soccer practice with young kids and playing softball with young kids. Finally, she tries to be a good role model. One way she does this is by being a Peer Leader at Jonathan Dayton.
Her favorite moments at Jonathan Dayton include “…being part of the sports teams and getting to know the teammates and coaches.” She also likes being at Jonathan Dayton because it is a small school and “…you know everybody.” One of the sports highlights was making it to the state sectional finals last year.
Besides school related activities, Karly likes her music, works and roots for a few New York teams. Her favorite type of music is country music and some of her favorite performers are Luke Bryan and Sam Hunt. Her jobs include working at the Magic Fountain in Summit, babysitting and being a substitute counselor at Springfield’s Community Pool.
Her favorite professional teams are the New York Yankees and the New York Giants. Her favorite catcher is not a professional , but instead a softball catcher, Aubree Monro, who played for the Florida Gators and was known for “…having one of the best arms in baseball behind the plate”. She was also a member of the 2016 Women’s National Team and made the honor roll four years in a row at Florida. Aubree played 222 games for the Gators and had a career batting average of .251 and on base percentage of .035. Her fielding percentage was a very impressive .997
This fall she will be her freshman year at James Madison University in Virginia, which ranks in the top six percent of the universities and colleges in the country and the Southeast based on several rankings. At James Madison, Karly plans to major in Health Sciences with a focus on Occupational Therapy. According to US News & World Report, Health Professions and related programs are the university’s most popular major, just ahead of Business, Management, Marketing, and related support services.
Besides focusing on academics and college life, Karly expects to play club\intramural soccer and softball and one wouldn't be surprised if she got involved in other activities at the University.
The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) is a non-profit organization and includes “…425 accredited public, private, and parochial high schools in the state representing high school Athletics.”
Recipients of the award must play at least one NJSIAA varsity sport, possess a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0, and they must “…exhibit outstanding school and community citizenship.”
Past Dayton winners were Jacqueline Kuczynski (2009), Dan Karlin (2010), Kevin Kirk (2011), Michael Disko (2012), Jared Clayton (2013), Tyler Citrin (2014), Zachary Wolcott (2015) and Tim Golden (2016).