Superintendent’s Spotlight: Christian Katsabanis


Superintendent’s Spotlight: Christian Katsabanis

April 3, 2024

Warwick Valley High School junior Christian Katsabanis holds myriad leadership roles: President of Model UN, two-year tenure as a lawyer on the Mock Trial team, and an active member eyeing the Presidency of Youth in Government. He’s maintained Cum Laude Honor Roll status while tackling multiple AP courses, notably thriving in Edward Avila’s Criminal Justice program.

“In addition to Criminal Justice, I’m enrolled in AP Language Composition, AP US History, and AP Environmental Science,” Christian stated, illustrating his diverse academic pursuits.

Upon relocating to Warwick before his freshman year, Christian found himself drawn to the abundant co-curricular offerings at Warwick that aligned with his interests. Reflecting on that pivotal year, he recalls it as a time of self-discovery, where he began to formulate opinions and find his voice.

His interest in government and the rule of law grew during the pandemic, spurred by engaging in online government simulations wherein Christian and like-minded peers wrote legislative proposals akin to those drafted by senators and legislators. The initial spark was fanned into a flame when Christian first walked into Kevan Ottochian’s history classroom on his first day.

“Literally, my first day in Warwick, I walked into Mr. Ottochian’s room and told him I wanted to join Youth in Government,” said Christian. “He told me exactly what that club was all about and how to get involved. I remember I just couldn’t stop smiling that day because I was so excited. That year, I joined a bunch of clubs – Youth in Government, and Model UN, and Mock Trial.”

Christian joined the Mock Trial team (which happens to be advised by his Criminal Justice teacher Eduardo Avila) with more than a little trepidation because, he said, he hasn’t always been the most comfortable public speaker. But, he dove in, accepted the challenge and has excelled.

“That class helped me greatly with speaking and presentation skills,” he said, “because we talked about different effective strategies in speeches and debates.”

By his sophomore year, Christian said his public speaking skills and style had seen significant growth, attributable to his involvement in like Mock Trial.

“It’s intense, with real lawyers and judges critiquing your arguments,” he explained. “But each year, I emerge with new skills and experiences.”

Though not particularly inclined toward science, Christian finds intrigue in the political dimensions of AP Environmental Science, especially regarding international environmental issues.

“The production of pesticides, nuclear energy, forms of waste production, just off the top of my head,” said Christian. “We talk about Paris Accord, we talk about different international treaties and environmental legislations.”

Influenced by mentors like Mr. Avila, Christian aspires toward a career in international law, possibly related to military service. Another of his co-curriculars is being part of Mr. Avila’s Army Exploration Club.

Looking ahead, Christian is excited to be participating in two important conferences. First up, the American Legion Boys State in April. Established in 1935, Boys State it is one of the most respected and selective educational programs of government instruction for high school students in the country. In May, Christian will take part in the Students Inside Albany conference, which is sponsored by the League of Women Voters. The conference increases students’ awareness of their responsibility in representative government and provides them with the tools necessary for meeting that responsibility.

As for the rest of his junior year, Christian said he’s looking forward to “all of it” – his Mock Trial competitions, the conferences, and particularly the upcoming unit on the global war on terrorism in his Criminal Justice class with Mr. Avila.

As he navigates the challenges and opportunities ahead, Christian remains steadfast in his commitment to personal growth, academic excellence, and contributing positively to his community. His advice for younger students centers on his experience with Mock Trial.

“I had a lot of anxiety about speaking, you know, going into Mock Trial and Model UN,” said Christian. “But as FDR once said, ‘the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.’ I’ve overcome that fear and I’m still overcoming the fear every time I debate. [Facing that fear] has been extremely beneficial for me, and it’s something I think anyone can grow from.”


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