Mike Peterson leads a very active life for a 16-year-old high school student. He loves sports, playing basketball and baseball. He’s a musician who enjoys a wide range of genres. He’s also a person who tries to be a role model who helps his fellow students and others.
You play CYO basketball, AAU basketball and baseball for Adrean Post. How did you get interested in sports?
I got involved with sports because as a child my uncles and older cousins would always be talking about and playing sports. My family is really involved with and pays attention to sports. As a child I looked up to them and wanted to be like them. I got involved with sports and then became passionate about it.
What have you learned about sports and playing on teams?
I learned how to be a team player and how to show good sportsmanship. I also learned how to persevere. But I also learned that a future in sports is rare. I don’t rely on sports for my future. Education is more important; sports are just hobbies.
You are involved in a lot of school activities. Why do you participate in them?
I enjoy all of my activities so I find time to put them in my schedule. It ends up with me having a very busy schedule, but it is worth it in the end. I participate in them because I enjoy helping people, giving back to the community and making people smile.
You’re vice president of a club called Spartan 2 Spartan at school, where students work with other students who have social or academic disabilities and setbacks. Please tell us a bit more about that.
I am assigned a “Spartan” who has either social or academic disabilities. I spend time with them, talk to them, socialize with them, and help them with school or social issues. Just basically be there for them. Since I am also vice president of the club, I also help assign the “Spartan” and help plan club activities.
Why are you interested in helping those students?
I have two friends whose brothers have autism. I met them and interacted with them and really enjoyed putting smiles on their faces, making a difference in their lives, so I joined the club.
You also are vice president of Project Purple, a club that battles substance abuse and promotes a healthy lifestyle. Why did you get involved in that?
I thought it was a good cause that I believe in and wanted to get involved and help.
Do you know people at school who have abuse problems and have you ever tried counseling them?
I do know people who have problems with substance abuse, but I have not tried counseling them. At school we have professional counselors whose job it is to talk to those students and get them help. However, I have directed students to the counselors.
You say you have a “passion” for music. What kind of music moves you and why do you love it so much?
I enjoy many types of music. I listen to rap, pop, R&B, rock, theater and some religious music. I love music because it is a great and healthy way to relax your mind and express yourself.
Along with being a lector, you sing in the choir, make meatballs and help set up for and work at the church festival. You said you would love to get involved with helping out with religious education and getting more youth involved with the church. What attracts you to helping out in parish?
I have a strong faith, and also my family has belonged to the church since the doors opened. I love the fact that I am keeping tradition going in my family. Also, I love helping people in general and I feel like the church is a great place to start.
It seems as though you take your faith very seriously. Where does that come from, and do you ever talk to or encourage your friends about your faith?
I have always gone to church since I was very young. My strong faith starts there. However, I love the idea of believing in something good. I believe in God and the church, and love investing my time in it. I don’t talk about faith with my friends because I am a firm believer that people should choose whether or not to believe in God on their own. I don’t encourage them. I believe that it is personal choice.
If you could plan you future, what would it look like?
I would love to stay strong in my faith. In the future I hope I have a beautiful, healthy family. Also, I would like to be a practicing attorney or orthodontist.
School: Junior at New Hartford Senior High School
Family: I am an only child and I have a large extended family – grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles that I see frequently.
Things I like to do in my spare time: Spend time with family and friends, play sports, listen to music, watch movies.
Favorite movie: “A Bronx Tale.”
Favorite TV show: “Teen Wolf.”
Favorite music or musician: I enjoy many types of music and listen to many different musicians.