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James Nicholas Marino

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  • 2013 EQT Students of Excellence

    2013 EQT Students of Excellence

    The EQT Students of Excellence Scholarship Program honors high school seniors from throughout West Virginia who are making a difference in their communities.
    The EQT Students of Excellence Scholarship Program honors high school seniors from throughout West Virginia who are making a difference in their communities.

County: Harrison

High School: Robert C. Byrd High School

GPA: 3.95

Plans after graduation: "I have many goals that I want to achieve. I want to pursue a degree in chemical engineering and hopefully follow that with graduate school." 

Man of Character

RCBHS Student Puts Family First, Excels In Many Areas

He is a well-rounded, intelligent young man, but the one word that best describes Nick Marino's best attribute is "character."

That comes from someone that should know, his mother Justine.

Marino, a senior at Robert C. Byrd High School, has been selected as one of six winners of full-ride scholarships as part of the 2013 EQT Students of Excellence program.

"Nicholas has shown strength in character in so many ways," his mother said. "It would take pages to accurately portray."

In addition to being a bright student carrying a 3.95 grade point average, Marino is an accomplished violinist and also a football player for the RCB Eagles.

But in June of 2011, he willingly set his schedule aside for family matters.

"His grandmother died unexpectedly," Nick's mother explained. "Needless to say, our entire family was devastated, especially Nick's grandfather.

"Nick was bewildered, but insisted on moving in with his grandfather, where he lived for an entire year," she continued. "He took him to every doctor's appointment, grocery shopping, helped him maintain his home and farm and spent countless hours just keeping him company.

"I cannot put into words the love, dedication and sacrifice this child made solely from the goodness of his heart and entirely because of his insistence."

"I have a close relationship with my grandpa," Nick said. "He helped me, working on things to improve on in sports and we went hunting — I tried to keep his mind off of things." 

Further testament to his strong will and determination, Marino returned to athletic competition for his senior year after suffering a severe shoulder injury that kept him out of football and basketball his junior season.

Surgery and rehabilitation to repair an injury that included a torn rotator cuff, labrum and loose bone fragments was intensive, but no match for the young man who was named captain of the Eagles football squad.

"My first thought was ‘I'm never going to get to play again,'" Nick admitted. "But I wanted to get back on the playing field."

Marino, who plays defensive end for the Eagles, helped RCB earn a berth in the WVSSAC Class AA playoffs with a 7-3 record his senior year.

In his time off rehabbing, he didn't miss any practices or games, choosing to be with his teammates.

"I like to help the younger guys," he said. "I wanted to show them some things that I had learned and pass it down. I think it made it easier for them to catch on.

"Getting to the point that I was able to come back was a learning experience." 

His academics haven't suffered despite his challenges. Marino will have not only excelled in his high school schoolwork, but also accumulated 32 hours of college credit upon graduation in May.

"I love to learn," Marino said. "I especially love math and music."

Math and music may seem worlds apart, but the two are interwoven into Marino's life seamlessly.

"I want to continue to play and better myself on the violin," he said. "Besides math, music is a passion. It brings so much to my life. I have done most of my studies in the classical area, but I love bluegrass. My grandpa plays the dobro and guitar. This is something that we've shared that I hope to continue as long as I possibly can."

Drawing from a variety of positive influences in his life, Marino is quick to credit them for his success.

"I have been extremely fortunate to have some really exceptional teachers to help foster that in me," he said. "My parents have always encouraged me to push myself, work hard and follow my heart. This has helped me so much in focusing myself and understanding that there may be some detours along my path, but if I persevere, anything is possible.

"I also hope that in many ways I can make a positive difference in my life and the lives of others. I believe that with a good solid education I will have the foundation to do this."

He has participated in a wide range of other activities, including: a regional finalist at Math Field Day as a junior; a winner of the Harrison County Driver's Education Rodeo; elected to the House of Delegates at West Virginia Boy's State; participated in and helped organize numerous food drives; participated in and helped organize drives for supplies for animals at a local shelter; served as a volunteer umpire for a travel baseball league in Clarksburg; and helped friends and neighbors as a math tutor.

Earning an EQT Students of Excellence scholarship is "a blessing," said Marino.

"This scholarship will open doors to go to places that I might not have had a chance," he said. "It's overwhelming."

Marino is definitely driven to make a significant impact.

"Maybe someday, someone will be able to say ‘Nick Marino was responsible for that!' I know those are big dreams, but what do we have without our dreams?"