Eric Caliendo wasn’t supposed to be on the lacrosse field this spring. Instead he took a starring role for a team that won the CHSAA championship.
The senior also brought the school an for the first time in seven years.
Caliendo, 18, of Manorville, showed time and again brilliance and poise in big moments and small. But it’s his consistency that earned him St. Anthony’s Valedictorian honors for the Class of 2012.
“The competition between No. 1 and 2 this year was very, very close,” Caliendo said. “It came down to thousandths of a point.”
Caliendo’s weighted 103.65 academic average put him at the front of the South Huntington parochial school’s 633-strong graduating class, its largest ever. at the Student Center.
“Eric is in overdrive,” St. Anthony’s Principal Bro. Gary Cregan said. “To be able to complete all the necessary requirements to be an Intel semifinalist, that’s a full-time student’s job right there. Combine that with his athleticism. On top of that, just being a normal teenager. He’s one of a kind in that sense.”
Caliendo’s Intel paper, titled: "See me, Hear me, The Effects of Auditory and Visual Stimulation on Recall and Recognition," looked for a correlation between the ability to recognize and recall information using both auditory and visual stimuli. He was one of 300 students nationwide chosen Jan. 11 from among 1,839 entrants.
Once lacrosse season kicked off, Caliendo conquered another challenge. When All-American goalie Kieran Burke, who , had to sit out the season due to illness, Caliendo stepped into the role for the nationally-ranked Friars.
After losing to Chaminade twice during the season, Caliendo helped St. Anthony’s upset the rival Flyers to win the league title for the fourth straight year. All against the No. 5 team in the nation and earn championship MVP honors.
“I didn’t expect to get this opportunity and I took it in stride,” Caliendo said.
Caliendo, a National Honor Society member, will play lacrosse at Haverford College, where he plans to study biology and someday be a doctor and treat cancer patients.
Satya Makadia is the St. Anthony's 2012 Salutatorian. She plans to enter the pre-medical program at Hofstra.
“Wise well beyond her years,” Cregan said of Makadia. “She has strong goals and a clear direction for her life.”