PAWLING, N.Y. - Daily Voice has been spotlighting several area high school athletic directors as part of an ongoing series, and we recently sat down with Pawling High School Director of Athletics and Dean of Students John Bellucci.
Bellucci grew up in Mahopac, and went to Mahopac High School, where he wrestled, and played football and baseball.
"I did OK," Bellucci told Daily Voice. "I had some great teammates, we had some real good teams."
Bellucci went on to Lafayette, a liberal arts school in PA, where he played four years of football, wrestled three years, and played baseball for a season.
Bellucci taught and coached (mostly wrestling) at Mahopac High School for 17 years, before becoming AD at Pawling 12 years ago.
"It's the quintessential small town," Bellucci said of Pawling. "We've got about 100 kids in a grade... you really do know everybody.The kids know each other. It's probably like Mahopac was way back when.
"I think the kids get a good experience," Bellucci added. "Any kid who wants to play a sport can sign up and play. So there are big differences between the big schools and the small schools."
In the end, Bellucci said, it's always about the kids.
"Working with kids really does keep you focused on whats important," he said. "What's important to them is the same thing that's important to me or anyone else - those things don't change. Life for kids is much more complicated today, they have to be a lot more savvy, but kids are great to work with - they keep you energized."