1-2 knockout for WJPS on Career Day by Joseph Wolkin, staff reporter

WJPS had a day in the spotlight as boxing great Vinny Maddalone, as well as Philadelphia Independence up and coming player, Gina DiMartino, joined WJPS for Career Day in the greatest of ways. The staff welcomed the star athletes with a breakfast in Ms. Schneider’s office, paving the way for a Press Conference led by broadcast student, Luca Damasco. The conference was the headliner of the day as students gathered to learn more about what it really takes to be a professional athlete.

Damasco stated, “It was fun, I liked being able to talk to famous athletes and be able to come up with questions for them as well as have the chance to get into their heads a little bit,” about the experience of being able to interview athletes face to face.

Dean, Mr. Millman, was able to share the experience of playing baseball with Maddalone. Maddalone was once a baseball player, but in College, he decided to make the switch to boxing. With such a late start, it was a wonder to many if Maddalone could become successful. That he did. But how much did he really do?

  Maddalone is 34-7 in his career. He has won 25 of his matches with KO’s, proving he is capable of winning matches against top boxers. His biggest challenge came in 2007, a fight against Heavy Weight Champion, Floyd Mayweather. The fight did not last long as he was knocked out in the third round by Mayweather. But considering his late start, the fact that he achieved enough goals to have the honor to fight Mayweather just says how great of an achiever he is. His advice for students was more than generous as he put a great emphasis on the fact that people should never give up on their dreams just like he never gave up on his.

Maddalone was handed a WJPS sweatshirt by Damasco at the completion of the conference, stating he will wear it while he trains during the winter months for his up and coming matches. He also spent time with students once the Press Conference was completed. Maddalone was generous enough to kindly sign autographs for students that had the opportunity to participate in the conference. Maddalone has had a successful career and he will continue striding towards the top of the rankings especially after his visit to WJPS.
Gina DiMartino, a young 22 year old Forward for the Philadelphia Independence women’s soccer team, took the time out of her busy, young life to come to WJPS for Career Day and it was worth it. DiMartino was highly impressed with what the school had planned for the day. The Press Conference capped it off. She spoke about her accomplishments on and off the field as well as her biggest achievement, being able to play on the same team as her sister.
Sophomore, George Angelidis described his enthusiasm towards meeting a professional soccer player as he stated, “It was pretty cool to see a soccer player because I play soccer and seeing a professional accomplish her goals as she did was cool.”

Though she denies that becoming a professional soccer player has affected her life in a major way, her time playing at Boston College made it hard to focus on her personal time. She emphasised that she doesn’t usually have free time during the regular season as her schedule is intense. Practicing seven days a week shows her true determination to succeed.

Both athletes have been successful throughout their careers. Both have had different paths to get to where they are today. Even though they are different in many ways, their attributes of never giving up, courage, and being a winner have made them champions. Two different personalities, two different sports, and two different talents, all of which have made them known nationwide.
Everyone at WJPS who had the time to meet and greet the Maddalone and DiMartino was pleased with the enthusiasm they had about entering the doors of WJPS. They greeted students with kindness in a professional way, something students need in order to show what they need to act like in the future. Something that Ms. Schneider expects from students throughout the school from a time they enter, whether it’s Junior High or High School, they need to be professional. It was an honor for the staff to have such profound athletes entering our school’s doors for career day and hopefully throughout the years, more and more of them will continue to see how wonderful our school is as well as continuing to give great pep talks and advice for students.

Luca Damasco and Vinny Maddalone during the Press Conference, photo taken by Alexandria Barry.
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