January Athletes of the Month

left to right: Athletic Director Dr. Jim Wright, Kelly Bilodeau, Joe Calderone, and Whitman Principal Kathie Acker.
left to right: Athletic Director Dr. Jim Wright, Kelly Bilodeau, Joe Calderone, and Whitman Principal Kathie Acker.

An Early Challenge Becomes Their Destiny

Both of our January Athletes of the Month have had a season worth celebrating, but getting to their elevated status as Athletes of the Month took them on different and yet similar roads.  Both Kelly Bilodeau and Joe Calderone were challenged by good friends while in intermediate school, and both accepted the challenge, not realizing how they would develop in their respective sports.

It was in the fourth grade that Kelly Bilodeau’s friend Julie, who wanted to share more time with her, "dragged" Kelly to an intramural basketball game that Julie was playing. Kelly joined, took to the sport instantly, and was soon recruited for travel teams. As they say, the rest is history. “I love basketball, and my coach and my team are the best, but playing at the varsity level for 6 years is tough, so I’m looking forward to trying something different in college, perhaps rugby,” Kelly says, laughing. “The chemistry is so good on our team, we’re good friends off the court as well as on the court,” she continued. “We have been playing together since the sixth grade, and we always said, our senior year was going to be special.” This past January, Kelly scored her 1,000th point, a milestone for any athlete, high school or college. Kelly, a Whitman senior, has been actively looking at colleges but has not decided where she wants to attend. She does say that that with her love for the sciences, she will most likely pursue her interest in software engineering. 

When he was a Birchwood fifth grader, Joe Calderon’s friend Brian challenged him in wrestling, saying that he and Joe should go out for the kid wrestling program in South Huntington to make it a fair match. “Brian was always saying he could beat me in wrestling, and I should join, so I gave it a shot and really enjoyed it,” said Joe. Joe stuck with it and over the years developed into a formidable wrestler. His friend Brian never did beat him in wrestling. Joe, a Whitman junior, is an all-league and all-county wrestler who celebrated his 100th career win in January. Joe is looking forward to his senior year wrestling for Coach Vinnie Altebrando.