Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) today welcomed Penn Yan Academy Senior James Burdette, of Penn Yan, to the NYS Assembly to congratulate him for winning an athletic scholarship from the Italian-American State Legislators Conference. Burdette is one of two students to be awarded a $1,500 scholarship in athletics; two $1,500 academic scholarships were also awarded.
“The cost of a quality college education continues to rise year after year, preventing even the most deserving students from earning the education they deserve,” said Palmesano. “James is a three-sport varsity athlete, who captained his teams in football, basketball and lacrosse, becoming an Academic All-American in lacrosse. He also demonstrated his tireless work ethic in academics, being a member of the National Honor Society and class president. Without question, he is the perfect example of a student whose dedication and desire is fully deserving of a scholarship like this to help him pursue his dreams.
In addition to being a three-sport varsity athlete, team captain, New York State Academic All-American, National Honor Society member and class president, Burdette is also the Varsity Club President, and a member of Natural Helpers and the Debate Club at Penn Yan Academy, where he will graduate fourth in his class with a cumulative GPA of 94.81. Burdette was named a Brine All-American in lacrosse, the sport for which he is most passionate, and won a national lacrosse championship, in addition to having the honor of representing team USA at the Brogden Cup. For his accolades in lacrosse, Burdette will play Division I at SUNY Albany, where he will be attending college in the fall.
"We are very proud of Jimmy's accomplishments and the honor bestowed on him today. Jimmy is a leader both on and off the athletic field. He has excelled in multiple sports during his years at Penn Yan playing football, lacrosse and basketball. He also has a stellar academic record and is highly regarded by his peers, as well as the staff at Penn Yan schools," said David Hamilton, Penn Yan Central School District Superintendent.
Beyond his athletic and scholastic achievements while at Penn Yan Academy, Burdette has also been active in community service. He has taken part in homestead trips to play games with the elderly, helped facilitate roller-skating parties for students at Penn Yan Elementary and taught basketball lessons to youth throughout Penn Yan on Saturday mornings during the winter.
“I’ve been very privileged to have been involved in so many excellent opportunities through athletics and school,” said Burdette. “From a young age, I was always taught to work hard and through dedication you will be successful. Winning this scholarship has been a culmination of the hard work I’ve done throughout my life so far, and I would like to thank Assemblyman Palmesano and the Italian-American Legislators Conference for making this opportunity available. I can’t wait to start the next chapter of my life at SUNY Albany and play Division I lacrosse.”
Burdette was honored at a luncheon, along with the three other scholarship winners, which was hosted by the New York Conference of Italian-American State Legislators at the Capitol in Albany. He was joined by his mother, Martha; Aunt Mary Ellen; and his brother, David, in celebrating his accomplishments.