New London high schooler a good bet for success

New London High School senior Deyvon Verdini plays in the first round of the ECC tennis tournament Wednesday, May 25, 2016. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
New London High School senior Deyvon Verdini plays in the first round of the ECC tennis tournament Wednesday, May 25, 2016. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

New London – Deyvon Verdini is not the best athlete at his school. And he won’t be the highest ranked student when he graduates from New London High School next month.

But by many accounts, Verdini is a good bet to be among the most successful from his class because of a strong work ethic and perseverance.

This good natured 17-year-old has done most things right during the course of his school career - balancing academics, sports and community service.

A member of the National Honor Society, Verdini plays both football and tennis for New London High School and earned not only character awards but was honored this year as one of the state’s top scholar athletes for maintaining a high grade point average while playing multiple sports. He has a 3.9 GPA and is ranked 27th out of more than 200 students graduating.

With his easy somewhat shy smile, Verdini explains that he’s put in a lot of hard work to stay focused and earn what he’s achieved.

Verdini will attend the University of Connecticut after graduation and plans to become an accountant, working and earning enough money to be able give back to the community he loves. Verdini said if he has the means he’s like to establish a community center in the city.

"It seems like a lot but I think I can do it," Verdini said.

He’s already pitched in to volunteer in his community and worked as an assistant coach with the New London Youth Football Team, working with kids ages 9 and 10. He said he coached with some of the same coaches who helped him when he was younger, including his father, Keith Verdini, who graduated from New London High School and was a member of two state championship teams.

Like many kids growing up he’s spent time seeking out facilties to play basketball and dreaming of becoming a pro athlete in the National Basketball Association or National Football League. He was always, however, realistic about his chances of going pro.

His parents did not attend college but worked hard and inspired him and their four children, all New London High School grads, to focus on school work as a means to “make it.” Verdini is the youngest of four.

His oldest sister, Yezenia, was the first to pursue a college degree and his older brother, Keith Jr., is a junior at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Verdini said his mother Tenisha was a key factor in inspiring him to focus on his studies, not just sports, in order to become a success.

“She’s always kept me on track. She’s been there since day one … telling me what I should do and shouldn’t do.”

Tenisha said she knew it would be hard for her kids without college and helped nudge them along.

“I always told them it’s cool to be smart,” she said.

In Deyvon's case, she said, she is “truly blessed,” as he and his brother were both self-motivated.

“I just love being a mother. The kids make it easy to be a good mom,” she said.

Verdini is most proud of his own work through his high school career. He starts his first classes at UConn near the end of June and can’t wait to get started.

“I’ve been working hard to get where I am,” he said, again with a smile. “I’m glad it’s getting noticed. I put in the work all four years and its paying off and I’m going to college. I’m proud of myself for sticking to it.”

g.smith@theday.com

 

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