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Hicksville Student Starts His Own Scholarship to Reward Kids With Tourettes Syndrome

Hicksville Student Starts His Own Scholarship to Reward Kids With Tourettes Syndrome

Giovanni Kubanick has Tourette's Syndrome, making it harder for him to succeed academically.

At Holy Family School in Hicksville their motto is ‘making a difference, one child at a time.’ For student Giovanni Kubanick, these words rang true. You see, Gio has Tourette’s Syndrome, ADHD, and OCD, and in the achievement culture of a Catholic Elementary School, that meant that he would have to work that much harder to make the grade. His Mom, Valerie, said that he had a rough time in school until he found Holy Family. The nurturing environment and support from the teachers and staff made it a great place for Giovanni. Gio was succeeding in school, but he was a little disappointed that most of the academic awards and acknowledgement went to kids who were naturally gifted and seemed to excel easily.

That gave Gio the idea that “there should be an award for kids like me,” students who had to overcome special challenges to succeed. Because there was no award that acknowledged a student who overcame special challenges through their own hard work, Gio started one. “Outside of school I DJ at events and parties to earn some extra money so I began putting a little of my earnings aside each week with the intention of creating an award that helped someone who also overcame special challenges,” says Giovanni. “I named the award the ‘Achievement Through Perseverance Award’ and funded it with $250 of my earnings from work.” The 2018 award, which was awarded in early June, went to Holy Family eighth grader Christopher Loiacono.

Loiacono, who overcame similar challenges, also had academic success at Holy Family. He is a member of the National Junior Honor Society, an Honor Roll student, and takes Advanced Placement math and science classes. “I know Chris, and I know how hard he works,” says Giovanni. “He is certainly a student who deserves recognition for the extra effort he makes, and deserves the scholarship money to help cover his costs when he starts at Holy Trinity Diocesan High School in the fall.”

Giovanni’s achievements have gotten him noticed nationally where he has recently been chosen and Nationally Certified as a Tourette’s Syndrome Youth Ambassador. In his new role he travels the country and shares his message with students everywhere. Giovanni quoted Renaissance artist Michelangelo in his speech as he presented the award and reminded us all that, “the greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

Today, Gio worked hard, overcame his challenges, graduated, and went on to Kellenberg Memorial High School where he is a sophomore. As both Giovanni and Christopher will attest, with God, and your family and friends to support you, there is little that you can’t accomplish.

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