Scholar-athlete distinction surprises Brentwood’s Winkowski

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Friday, July 5, 2019 | 6:05 PM


Julianna Winkowski participated in two sports in high school.

But there’s no doubt about which one she enjoyed the most.

“My favorite sport was swimming,” said Winkowski, a recent Brentwood graduate. “The amount of peace and relaxation that being in the water brings me is impossible to describe. I love the feeling of racing through the water, as well. The sport is challenging but exhilarating. I love it. I have always loved being in the water. I started swimming competitively the summer before fifth grade for the Mt. Lebanon Aqua Club.

“I started golfing when I was young. My dad took me to hit golf balls and later onto the course. It just felt like a natural next step to join the golf team. My freshman year, I was the only girl on the team, but more girls joined each year.”

Winkowski also loves hitting the books. She was honored as the senior female scholar-athlete of the year at the Brentwood High Athletic Boosters all-sports banquet.

“I was very honored and surprised,” Winkowski said. “I actually did not attend the sports banquet as I had missed some practices during the golf and swimming seasons (while) recovering from a concussion, and I was unsure if I had lettered. When I went to school the next day, I was shocked but excited to learn that I lettered in both of my sports, as well as won the scholar-athlete award.”

Simon Accamando was lauded as senior male scholar-athlete of the year.

“Julianna and Simon were students in good standing at Brentwood,” guidance counselor Linda Capozzoli said. “They challenged themselves with Advanced Placement and honors courses, earning good grades and participating in team sports. Julianna also held a part-time job.”

Winkowski earned three letters in swimming and four in golf. She worked as a lifeguard and swim instructor from ages 15-18.

This summer, Winkowski is working for M & M Staffing at Pennsylvania One Call as a customer service representative. She previously worked for Jeff Ellis Management in the summer and Healthtrax Fitness and Wellness.

In the classroom, Winkowski compiled a 4.092 GPA and was a National Honor Society member. She graduated in the top five of her class.

She was editor of Brentwood’s online newspaper through her junior year and a member of the Technology Student Association in her senior year. She also was a member of Pittsburgh Cares Youth Advisory Council, consisting of a group of students who volunteer together and educate each other on social issues.

“We also were given a budget to plan a community service event at our school,” said Winkowski, who is fully recovered from her concussion. “I was actually originally cleared last July. However, I started to have symptoms again and went back to the doctor in March and was put back onto concussion protocol.

“As for how I got it? In the most embarrassing way ever to get a concussion: I hit my head off the wall when going to bed.”

Winkowski, 18, will be attending Robert Morris in the fall to study biomedical engineering.

“My favorite class at Brentwood was TED (Technology Engineering and Design) because Mr. (Beau) Sedlar encouraged us to use critical thinking skills to solve our problems and modeled the class as a real world engineering environment. His class taught me a lot and inspired me to pursue a career in engineering. I also enjoyed Mr. (Kenneth) Solomon’s classes as I thrived under his teaching style.”

Solomon teaches honors and AP U.S. history, as well as psychology and sociology, at Brentwood.

“What I enjoyed most about Mr. Solomon’s teaching style is that he modeled his class like a college class,” Winkowski said. “We didn’t have work sheets or the like. We were expected to read and then we had discussions.”

While swimming and golf dominated her athletic activities in high school, the scholarly Winkowski also competed in softball, soccer and bowling in her younger days.

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