The latest Health Plus Amerigroup/NY1 Scholar Athlete of the Week excels on the volleyball court due to his selfless nature and has plans to become a doctor off it. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.
There's nothing more exciting for Ariel Velasquez than hands-on learning. He loves science and there's nothing more hands on than a good old-fashioned frog dissection.
"I love doing dissections because every animal is different," he says. "Every animal's body parts are placed in a very unique way to make their body function work. I find it very unique and remarkable."
Ariel wants to be a doctor. Risa Parlo, his anatomy teacher, says if his high school performance is any indication, he's going to be a good one.
"If he planned to be a surgeon, I could see it," she says. "If I needed surgery, I would go to Ariel because he has amazing talent. Plus, he has a real interest in the subject."
Ariel was a big part of Brooklyn Tech's volleyball team that made a run to the city semi-finals. He's the setter, which is, by nature, a selfless position because he's always putting his teammates in the best possible position to succeed.
"The setter is like the quarterback of the football team," says physical education teacher Rosanne D'Augusta. "He's very unselfish. He doesn't really get the limelight because he's always giving the ball to someone else and he's ok with that role. And that's why they're doing so well. He's such a great person and a great player."
Ariel also volunteers at the JCH of Bensonhurst with younger students.
"I work with kids," he says. "I play sports with them, I help them with their homework. I do it all again because I went there as a kid myself So it's a part of me and I want to give back."
Ariel is headed to NYU next year. He plans to be pre-med and continue to follow his dream.
"I think it started when my grandfather passed away from a heart attack," he says. "I've always wanted to be a cardiologist and try and save and help as many people as I can."
So, for setting big goals for himself in the future and taking every step to achieve them, Ariel Velasquez is our HealthPlus Amerigroup/NY1 Scholar Athlete of the Week.