Will Schneider is not an ordinary high school senior. He is a young man with a range of interests - most notably a love for learning.
While many of his contemporaries are busy mastering a particular videogame or hanging out with friends, Schneider is busy perfecting his craft as a master quiz bowl player, Sound Head for the Kings Park Tech crew and Jiu-Jitsu black belt student and instructor. Schneider's passion for his interests have certainly paid off. He will be attending Renssaleer Polytechnic Institute this fall with a full ROTC scholarship.
Schneider, son of Anthony and Sandi, began his academic career at the Early Childhood Center Pre-School and continued through the Kings Park School District through senior year. For the past ten years he has been a student at the Nokado School for Self-Defense. Three times a week he attends classes and on the weekends he also teaches class at the school. In his spare time, he enjoys playing guitar and spending time with his younger sister, Elizabeth.
Schneider's community involvement has been nurtured by his mentor, Rick Holmes, Head Custodian for the high school and moderator of the technical crew. The crew, which Schneider refers to as a "family of misfits", not only works on school events, but also provides technical assistance for community events such as the Memorial Day Parade and events with the Kings Park Heritage Museum.
"He is my mentor. Because he is not a teacher he has less of an obligation to tell us to study harder or do our homework and more of a tendency to help everyone with more personal issues. He is always the first to say I can help," said Schneider.
Schneider credits Holmes with bringing together what he calls the family of misfits; kids from all walks of life with very different backgrounds, social groups and interests and creating a well-oiled machine.
As captain of the high school quiz bowl team, Schneider has worked closely with his coach, Rob Celeste. Preparation includes studying packets of quiz bowl questions nightly. The knowledge base needed for the tournaments is expansive: literature, sports, music, history, science, current events and math. Schneider has been recruited by the U.S. National History Bee to serve as a staff member.
Schneider speaks fondly of his hometown but offers some advice for improvement.
"Kings Park needs things for teenagers to do. It has to be a community effort, there is little that one person can do. Kings Park kids are very willing to get a job and work, so they can buy a car and gas to go do things outside of Kings Park," he said.
Schneider is planning to study computer ccience at Renssaleer. He is uncertain of exactly what his future holds, but hopes to some day be successful in the field of computer programming.