Name: Dante Palombo
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.