(845) 563-3400     124 Grand Street, Newburgh, NY 12550
 

NFA Scholar Lands Freelance Writing Role with Sports Illustrated


Sam Ouhaj’s face lights up as soon as he starts talking sports. He is a 17-year-old senior at Newburgh Free Academy main campus and rattles off names of players and stats faster than most can keep up with. He claims to have only started following sports 5-6 years ago, but already has in-depth knowledge of most sports and their key players.

“My good friend knew a lot and when I tried to contribute to conversations I felt embarrassed because I didn’t know as much,” explained Sam. Now, he confidently admits he knows more than his friend. 

Sam’s knowledge and passion for sports has paid off. He recently corresponded with a sports writer via Twitter after seeing a posting for a freelance writing position. The gig is unique, as he’ll be writing about the Cincinnati Bengals, a team that he has only ever seen on television. To get the job, he had to write an article, which he hadn’t done before and submit his resume. Thanks to Mrs. Cortsunis requiring Sam and the rest of his class to write a resume the year before, there were few changes to be made. Sam knew he needed a good topic and decided on a slightly controversial one – moving on from a beloved quarter back. Sam gathered his facts, rechecked the stats and got to work. He described that he had just gotten home from school and work and just started typing.

As a result, he got the job writing for Sports Illustrated: Bengal Maven. He has already written three articles with another on the way.

Sam began following sports as a way to bond with his Mom’s boyfriend, ‘Flip’ (Philippe). They were watching a football game with a controversial call that Sam didn’t understand because he didn’t follow the game yet. Eventually, Sam and Flip began watching the games together and Sam became intrigued and began learning on his own. When Sam began talking about his passion for sports, his excitement was clear. He quickly spouted off players and their stats, years, and injuries. He used technical jargon that only seasoned sports fans would follow. He talked about magical seasons and heartbreak and mentioned that he hopes he can see the Dallas Cowboys, his favorite team, win a Super Bowl before he goes off to college. He noted that he began his journey as a fan by being impressed by predictions that people could make and now can make his own predictions.

He credits several people for his early success.

Sam gives credit to English teacher, Mrs. Moredecai Moore, who inspired him to go for his dreams and passions. “She taught me a different perspective on how to see the world and how to push forward to achieve things and go after what I want,” says Sam. He mentioned that Mrs. Mordecai-Moore reminds him that “every opportunity that you don’t take is a missed opportunity. Try to take everything day by day, but also try to take every opportunity that I can to expand and become a better person.”

Sam also credits Mr. Guy Du Quesnay, his video production teacher. Sam studied video production 1 and 2 with Mr. Du Quesnay and is currently working independently for credit. Sam currently hosts Game Clock, a sports recap show that he hosts with classmate, John Matthews. Sam is the first student to host back to back seasons. Sam writes, edits, films, and produces the Game Clock episodes.

Sam also recognized NECSD teachers, faculty, staff and says with pride that Newburgh has made him who he is. “I’m so grateful to live here. There’s not one school district I would rather be a part of. We truly are special. Newburgh Illuminated makes me so proud. There’s always going to be bad everywhere you go, but there is also a lot of good. I would much rather see praise for what we do right instead of so much focus on our mistakes,” says Sam about his hometown. Sam’s goal is to give back to Newburgh when he is older. He mentions that his history with the area started when his family coming over from Italy and eventually settling in Newburgh. His family still owns a plumbing company that has been passed down from his great-grandfather, which is shared as a point of pride for Sam.

Prior to attending Newburgh Free Academy Main Campus, Sam attended Fostertown Elementary School, South Middle School for 6th and 7th grade, and Heritage middle School for 8th grade. He frequently returns to Ms. Brand’s class at Fostertown to volunteer his time. He works at the Powleton Club and Camp Chadwick during the summer.

Sam is currently the Executive President of Newburgh Free Academy’s Student Council. He started with Student Council in 9th grade as the Vice President for the class of 2020. Sam also volunteers for the Blood Drives, is a head volunteer for Lap4Life, is part of Youth in Government (his group won the policy competition last year), is planning the 3rd Annual International Night as part of Key Club, and planned the first colorful 5K walk/run last year. Sam is also part of the boys Varsity Golf Team (making it to Counties last year), is a Scholar Athlete, and is part of the National, Science, and Italian Honor Societies. Sam is enrolled in all Advanced Placement (AP) or Honors level courses.

As Sam prepares for graduation and his next steps, he has been researching sports announcers, where they attended college, and their majors. Sam’s ultimate goal is to be a sports broadcaster on Fox Sports or CBS Sports. He wants to be on television, doing play-by-play analysis and eventually have his only daily talk show. You can follow the start of his career and his posts for Sports Illustrated: Bengals Maven on Twitter @ouhaj_sam.


TEACHERS: Are you and your students doing something great? Please contact your Communication Strategist. We’d love to attend or post your pictures and recap to highlight the amazing accomplishments throughout our district! Grades PreK-5 Amanda McDowell (amcdowell@necsd.net) and Grades 6-12 Cassie Sklarz (csklarz@necsd.net).







Date: 2019-11-01 10:01:52





QUICK CONTACT

Main Switchboard
845.563.3400
Food Services
845.563.3424
Registration
845.563.5437
BOE Clerk
845.563.3503
Transportation
845.568.6833
Payroll
845.563.3440
Athletics
845.563.5419
Business/Fin.
845.563.3448
Human Resources
845.563.3460
Technology
845.568.6542
Tax Office
845.563.3490
Newburgh Free Library
845.563.3600

SCHOOLS

Balmville
845.563.8550
Fostertown
845.568.6425
Gardnertown
845.568.6400
GAMS Tech
845.563.8450
Horizons
845.563.3725
Meadow Hill
845.568.6600
New Windsor
845.563.3700
Temple Hill
845.568.6450
Vails Gate
845.563.7900
Heritage Middle
845.563.3750
South Middle
845.563.7000
NFA Main
845.563.5400
NFA North
845.563.8400
NFA West
845.568.6560