SCHOLAR-ATHLETES: Perez puts plenty of pep into Wilcox Tech

SCHOLAR-ATHLETES: Perez puts plenty of pep into Wilcox Tech



MERIDEN — Melanie Perez brought the passion to the Wilcox Tech cheerleading squad this year.

She brought the choreography and the creativity, coming through the door with cheers she had worked out with teammates. (Her “Traveling” routine was a particular favorite with referees during basketball season.)

The senior captain also brought the organziation.

Quite a pillar for coach Felicia Williams to build a squad upon.

“Melanie operated as the lead captain for the cheerleading team this year; she was unbelievably organized,” Williams said. “She often embodied energy and enthusiasm, which made her very likeable.

“She prepared for the position as though she was a teacher planning lessons over the weekends,” Williams added.  “She arrived each day equipped with her plans already derived and simply facilitated practice with a level of high expectations for the fundamentals and precision from each cheerleader.”

That’s clearly what Perez demands on herself academically. She’s carrying a GPA of 3.7 and has been named her squad’s Record-Journal Scholar-Athlete.

Perez is president of Wilcox Tech’s Class of 2021 and a youth advisor at her church. A High Honors student throughout her high school career, Perez has earned some college credits along the way. She will study nursing at the University of Hartford.

“Melanie is focused, driven, positive, talented, humorous, respectful and respected, a hardworking and an intelligent being,” Williams said. “She represents herself, her family and school community in such a positive and beautiful light.

“I believe she, without a doubt, will be able to reach her personal goal to become a neonatal intensive care nurse as long as she remains on the path she has already paved for herself.”

Perez was one of four Record-Journal Scholar-Athletes selected at Wilcox Tech for the 2021 winter season. Marksman Andre LaBissoniere and basketball players Mikeala Mitchell and Bryant Soto were also named. Here’s the lowdown on that trio.

■Andre LaBissoniere, riflery: A four-year member of the Wilcox Tech rifle team, Andre LaBissioniere developed into one of the team’s consistent top-five shooters. 

Academically, LaBissioniere has made the High Honor Roll in every semester and has built a 3.6 GPA.

Already an employee of Crowmell Automotive, LaBissioniere will be going on to Gateway Community College to pursue a degree in Automotive Technology - General Motors Automotive Service Education, AAS.

In his spare time, LaBissioniere participates in Meriden Police Cadets and enjoys weightlifting and working out.

“Andre has been a valuable part of the rifle team over the past four years. His commitment to the sport has earned him a reputation as a great teammate and a mentor to the underclassmen,” remarked coach Mark Demaschi. “He also has a competitive drive to succeed, which is reflected not only in competition, but as a student at H. C. Wilcox Technical High School.”

■Mikeala Mitchell, girls basketball: We make the following statement strictly in a basketball sense. Mikeala Mitchell was the Dennis Rodman of the Indians. She was a rebounding machine.

“She could always get her hands on the ball for a rebound,” marveled coach Sue Planinshek. “I don’t know how she did it, but she did!”

Mitchell, also Planinshek’s R-J Scholar-Athlete in volleyball, ranks No. 16 in the senior class with an academic average of 97.45.

She’s treasurer of the Wilcox chapter of the National Honor Society and has competed in Skills USA for the past three years. Mitchell is also ServSafe certified in Allergen and Manager.

“Mikeala has been truly a pleasure to have on the team this year,” Planinshek said. “Her extremely positive outlook and natural leadership skills made her a valuable asset to the team and to me. I could always count on her to get the job done.  She will be missed on the court as well as off.”

■Bryant Soto, boys basketball: This junior is following in his older brother’s footsteps. John Soto was R-J Scholar-Athlete of the Wilcox boys basketball team before graduating two years ago.

Bryant Soto, with an academic average of 99.5, ranks No. 4 in the Class of 2022.

A 5-foot-9 forward on the basketball team, he chipped in with 3.1 points and 2.4 rebounds as the Indians went 11-4 and reached the CTC Nutmeg Division finals.

“It’s wonderful having Bryant in our program. He is the ultimate teammate — always on time, always rooting on his teammates and tries to do anything he can to help his team,” remarked coach Randy Farkas. “He just does his job in practice and in the game; you can always count on him to work hard.

“I’m glad to see that he is doing so well in his classes and excited to have him back for one more season.”


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