The following was originally published on the Groton Central School District website and republished with permission. It was NOT written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit community announcements directly to The Voice, email

GROTON, N.Y. — “One thing I’ve always prided myself on is the ability to keep my head up and move on to the next thing, the next move,” Paul Brecht says candidly, in order to explain how he manages to be so proficient at so much.

From performing on a stage, to closing out an impressive basketball season as first team all-star, Brecht may be looking ahead but he continues to be prepared and present each day, putting forth his best effort in a variety of activities.

This Groton Senior has maintained a perfect student attendance record since kindergarten and has been a consistent presence at sports practices throughout the year. He is involved in drama, chorus and band, is a black belt in karate, and plays soccer, basketball, and baseball. In the top ten academically, Paul will graduate this spring from Groton High School having earned both a high school diploma and a General Studies Associate’s degree through his concurrent enrollment at Tompkins Cortland Community College.

He explains his outlook this way, “You are not unique – you want to do what other people want to do for a living – and if they are willing to work harder than you, than they are going to get what you want before you do.”

Brecht recently played his last game for Groton at the Exceptional Seniors Game, held in Odessa NY. That evening, Paul was chosen out of the nineteen regional Exceptional Seniors who participated to be awarded the first ever Adam Heck scholarship.

The namesake scholarship was created by Section IV IAC basketball coaches to honor the former Lansing High School coach and athletic director, Adam Heck.

Related: Strong as Heck: Hundreds turn out to remember Lansing soccer coach Adam Heck

“He was a big presence in IAC soccer and would give me pointers on my game in soccer and basketball, when I found out he had passed, it was heartbreaking,” Paul said. “To be recognized for the characteristics people saw in him, that they see in me, that means a lot.”

Both of Paul’s parents are teachers, and besides being a consistent source of encouragement and inspiration for Paul, have helped to instill in him a sense of perseverance and resilience. “Both my sister and I were taught at a young age that you can’t go back… you can’t change the past, but you can improve the future,” Paul said.

He looks forward to attending Ithaca College this fall where he will study Sports Media, a career inspired by some of his favorite things.