Senior Spotlight: Tom Fodor


Tom Fodor

Senior Tom Fodor reflects on his four years at Northport High School, discusses his acceptance into the Naval Academy, and offers advice to underclassmen.

Ali Crosley and Jake Kalinowski

Senior Tom Fodor reflects on his four years at Northport High School, discusses his acceptance into the Naval Academy, and offers advice to underclassmen.

The following are direct quotes from Northport High School Senior Tom Fodor in response to the questions he was asked during the interview.

Jake: What were some clubs or extracurricular activities that you enjoyed in high school?
Tom: Probably the most notable would be track and cross-country. That’s what takes up the most of my time. But some of the more interesting stuff that I’ve been a part of that I really liked, and that I will take what I’ve learned with me into college, is the Language Honor Society and Spanish Club. That was so much fun. The Cheese Festival was great as well. With the National Junior Honor Society when I was a freshman and sophomore, into now with the National Honor Society as a junior and senior, they both really taught me a lot about myself.

Jake: I heard you are a phenomenal runner at Northport and have earned amazing medals for your hard work and dedication. How has running impacted your life?
Tom: I have to say the discipline I’ve learned through running and just sports in general have allowed me to become the person I am today. Going to a college where discipline and determination is such an important factor of your daily life every single day, I don’t think I would be going where I am today without running and track. And also, it has to do with the people I’ve surrounded myself with: my coaches, my teachers and all that. They have had a really big impact on me.

Jake: Why did you choose the Naval Academy over just going to college?
Tom: That’s something that I’ve been digesting over the past couple of months as I have my friends commit to college. I only found out a few weeks ago, so I’ve been waiting for a while. I was initially waitlisted, and then I got a call from Congressman Suozzi a few weeks ago, and he let me know I got accepted! Basically, why I chose the Naval Academy is because it’s such an opportunity to become an amazing leader. My uncle was even coming up to me and saying, “Oh you’re walking in the footsteps of giants.” But I don’t like to think of it like that. It’s just the next step of my life. During the admissions process, they equally weigh your academics as well as your leadership potential, so it’s not just an SAT score, or your GPA, or just how well you write your essay, or your extracurriculars. It’s all weighted equally. I think that really helped me realize that they’re looking for the “whole” person, and that’s really something I could get behind and wanna be a part of.

Jake: How do you plan on continuing your running career at the Naval Academy?
Tom: Everybody has to do a sport at the Naval Academy. It’s required. The daily schedule is very similar to high school. You have practice in the afternoon and class all day, but whether it’s varsity or intramural, you have to do a sport. So, I’m going to be participating in Varsity Track and Cross-Country which is at the Division 1 level. That’s gonna be really exciting ‘cause the team itself is very much like our team at Northport and coaches like Coach Strom at Northport. I’m very excited to take my running to the next level.

Jake: How do you feel about going without Internet or cell phone access for such a long period of time?
Tom: Last year I participated in Boys State and had a whole week of no phones, no TV, or anything like that. So the kind of relationship I have with my phone has definitely changed in the past year because I kind of anticipated the fact that I may have to go without my phone for a period of time. It also opened my eyes to the fact that I probably had an unhealthy relationship with technology at a point, but I think I’ll be fine. As long as I just stay focused and know that this is all for a higher purpose. The whole idea of breaking up with your phone for six weeks is to make sure that you’re looking within yourself and you’re not distracted by anything else.

Ali: What was the process like of getting into the Naval Academy?
Tom: So it is a pretty extensive process. The application opens a lot earlier than most other colleges, opening March of your junior year. So I actually didn’t start mine until September of my senior year. Going to the Naval Academy to receive an appointment, you also need to receive a congressional nomination. That is because the Academies are funded by Congress and Congress wants to back who’s going into the Academies. That’s why they’re so selective because they can only have a certain number. So to nominate somebody is a requirement for an appointment. Through the appointment process, I had to fill out a seperate application. It was almost like a whole other college application, and then I submitted it into Congressman Tom Suozzi’s office. From there, I had a board interview in November, and after that I heard back about the nomination at the end of January. From there, I was waitlisted at the end of March. I was told that I would know by the end of May, but obviously I found out a little earlier than that. I got the phone call a couple weeks ago, which was really nice for him to take the time out of his day to do that, especially during these challenging times.

Ali: What are you most looking forward to about going to the Naval Academy?
Tom: I am looking forward to the tradition of excellence that they have there. Like I said before, it’s all about the whole person, it’s not about just being a 4.0 student and it’s not about being a NCAA champion; it’s all about everything. I’m excited about running at the Division 1 level and joining a team of really like-minded gentlemen who want to win. But also, when it comes to the academics side, where I’m now able to focus a bit more on the subject matter that I really like, which is going to be political science and maybe a double major in oceanography, but we’ll have to see. My main priority is political science right now.

Ali: How did you feel when you were accepted into such a select program?
Tom: It was elation. I think it’s the most excited I’ve ever been. It’s funny—the day that I found out was the same day that sports were cancelled, so I was already kind of distraught, but that really changed everything. It was a life changing phone call, and now it is something that I’m really looking forward to. I am proud to accept the honor and the appointment itself to now go represent Northport High School at the Naval Academy.

Ali: What advice do you have to those considering the same path?
Tom: Don’t be afraid to get started early because there were a lot of things that I had to do. I’m pretty good with managing my own time, but there were certain things such as medical exams that were under a bit of a time crunch. And also, don’t be afraid to ask for help from other people. There are so many resources at Northport High School that are willing to help you, and that’s what I learned along the way. All of my teachers were more than willing to write letters of recommendation, and just give me advice about what I’m undertaking and the different paths that I can choose from.