Whiz Kid: Dante Palombo

This third-grade Harrison resident excels in the hockey arena, on the baseball field and at the Mamaroneck Avenue School.

Name:  Dante Palombo

Age: 9

School: Mamaroneck Avenue School, White Plains


Dante Palombo has wide-ranging interests and has excelled in many of them—from hockey, to baseball to math, chess and giving back to his community.

He practices three times per week and plays a 60-game schedule for the AAA  Elite Ice Hockey league, on the Westchester Express team—the highest level a child his age can play in the sport.

"Dante has stayed in more hotels over the last two years than most grown-ups have in a lifetime," his father, Joe Palombo, quipped. He said his son's team plays games in all over the Northeast, including NJ, PA, CT and MA. This spring Dante has been invited to play on an Elite Spring All Star spring team, a team composed of some of the best players in the Boston area.

Dante is one of only two kids from all of New York selected for the team, his father said.

The Westchester Express is currently ranked #20 in the U.S. out of 172 teams in the ranked group; Dante is one of his team's leading scorers, too. "He is the only hockey player his age in the White Plains Schools that is allowed to skate during practice with the White Plains High School Varsity team—and he keeps up with them," said his father.

Dante also plays baseball and last summer participated on the 8 and under White Plains Tigers baseball league—the team had a 16-1 season.

He applies himself academically as well—participating in Chess Club and enrichment classes in math and reading.

Dante also looks for ways to give back to the community. On his last birthday (Dec. 23) he started a tradition of having his friends bring him money for a charitable cause instead of gifts. With the money he received last year, he purchased a dozen Stop & Shop gift cards to give to people to use toward a holiday dinner.

This year he donated a to Elf Help Africa, an organization started by a family friend that provides educational services to African children.

His parents also say he seems to already know the value of hard work at a young age. Wanting a pair of high-end headphones, he asked his aunt if he could work in her hair salon to earn extra money. He worked many hours there and at a local deli to earn the money. 


Patricia Ellis February 22, 2013 at 12:24 PM
What a great role model!
Gina Olivieri February 22, 2013 at 01:42 PM
So proud of this fabulous young man!! You will go far dante
Michelle V. February 22, 2013 at 04:39 PM
Dante is a true role model for all children/teens/adults. This is such an amazing accomplishment for a boy of his age. Congratulations you deserve only the best.
Michelle V. February 22, 2013 at 06:34 PM
im so pround of you.hard work pays off.this young man has the skills and loving heart to accomplish anything in this big world hats off to the parents love auntie karyn
joanne February 22, 2013 at 09:16 PM
Dante is a very special young man I had the pleasure of meeting him one day when his aunt brought him to shop in my store in the West Harrison area. She told him he could have anything in the store and he choose to buy his mom a gift. I then saw what a special young man he was !! Hats of to Dante .... Your parents are very lucky to have such a special young man.....
christine C February 23, 2013 at 12:55 AM
Dante - what an inspirational young man you are! You should be very proud of your accomplishments! I feel lucky to have met you at your Aunts salon. Keep it up Dante!!!!
Keith prAy February 23, 2013 at 03:40 AM
Go Dante. Proud of you man!!!!!'n
Mark Berryman February 23, 2013 at 02:38 PM
Way to go Dante! Keep up the great work!
Yo Mama February 25, 2013 at 06:58 PM
Playing AAA hockey at 9 years old and traveling around the country so his team can be nationally ranked is a pretty stupid way to get good at hockey. Most AAA players at 9 are not still AAA players in high school. The players who get good and are AAA players later on are the ones who spend time actually playing hockey . . . not traveling 8 hours to Rochester or somewhere for a 12 minutes of playing time. Dante's parents are wasting there time and money. Rent the studio rink upstairs at playland an extra 6 hours a week with the money you save on express and get Dante ice time.
Cutter Simpson February 26, 2013 at 05:09 AM
Sports for our kids is not anything other than what kind of people it makes them. We don't have Dante in hockey because we think he will play D1 or NHL. Yes he is a talented athlete, but read the rest of the story. At 9 he has learned more life skills than most 15 to 20 year olds. Through hockey he has learned to be self sufficient, to cope with making new friendships outside his school enviorment, what it means to be committed, to deal with failure, what the value of hard work is, how to be a teammate, how to strive. The car rides w/the family and friends are amazing bonding time most families never ever get. If he were quit tomorrow, he will have gotten everything he needs out of the sport already. THERE IS NO OTHER SPORT THAT AT 9 YEARS OLD A KID CAN GET THIS TYPE OF LIFE EXPIENCE FROM! Perhaps, you or someone you know were in AAA or hockey for that matter for all the wrong reasons. That is not us, we have no expectations for Dante other than to be a good human being who is willing to work hard to earn his spot!. In addtion, you have no idea what the 2003 program is like in terms of skill development or what our reasons as parents are. In fact I am glad you commented in this manner, it's another life lesson for him. Some people will like what you do and others will always find the BAD in what you do. Hey when the NHL lockout was in effect, these kids got practice at the Rangers facility every Tuesday night, how thrilling do you think it was for them? Just part of it!
Yo Mama February 26, 2013 at 03:58 PM
maybe so but Dante is going to be really dissappointed when he gets bounced from express as a pee wee major in favor of some greenwich skate club kid who had fun playing outdoors every day all winter close to home. I think that kid probably learned the same life lessons trying to make a tier 3 team and traveling to tier 3 games as Dante is traveling to Chicago. Unfortunately, you and Dante are being dupped by a youth hockey system that is primarily designed to feed the egos of parents and the coffers of rink owners.
Cutter Simpson February 26, 2013 at 09:05 PM
I guess time will tell. You are only looking at hockey! Hockey is just a means for getting our message across. So if he gets cut, so be it. Again, you have no idea YOUR ARE FIXATING on one line in the piece. Forget about what level of hockey it is, It does not matter, ALL PROGRAMS except town programs are about making MONEY! We know that. Everyone knows that! Also, do you know what the skill development program is for 2003 team? How do you know how much fun he is having for not having? WE DO NOT CARE IF HE GETS CUT. your reasons are not our reasons. The piece if about a really good kid who is getting a little recognition for his efforts. Obviously your kid either was cut at some point or never made a team you think he should have. We could care less if Dante quit hockey tomorrow!
Yo Mama February 27, 2013 at 05:30 AM
"obviously cut"? why do you think that? Maybe its the opposite. Maybe my kid took another Dante's spot and we saw the lunacy of what the other parents had done for the past 6 years.
Yo Mama February 27, 2013 at 05:37 AM
and i'm not trying to hurt Dante. I'm sure he's a great kid. Give him a chance to be a kid and get good at hockey by making him understand that its not imporant to be the best in the country at age 9. Have fun playing hockey. Actually playing.
Cutter Simpson February 27, 2013 at 01:39 PM
Thank you, he does know that. Hockey is his thing, we are just the "bus drivers" I do hear what you are saying though but we are not those parents.
mr. J March 08, 2013 at 06:57 PM
I am so proud of Dante and I am not surprised by his accomplishemnts. Not only a great athlete, but a fantastic student and friend. He is a role model for his peers on the ice and off. Way to go, I am very proud of you. Mr.J


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