Michael Daratzis: Catching A’s

By Gloria Kosir, Feature Editor

Senior Michael Daratzis wakes up every morning, his mind set on two things – school and baseball. He drives his sister to school and starts his school day, which is full of AP classes. As soon as ninth period ends, he goes to sports practice or one of his multiple clubs and then goes home. He does his homework, goes to sleep, and wakes up the following day to repeat the same cycle. Not many people can endure the same work levels that Daratzis can, but he enjoys it.

“I’m just a kid with good grades who applies himself inside the classroom and on the baseball field. I use up all my free time on academics and sports, and try to compete against the top people in both aspects,” Daratzis said.

Daratzis doesn’t mind how busy his life can get with all AP classes, sports, and clubs. In fact, it’s the hectic parts that have such an appeal to him. Daratzis is taking all AP classes, including AP Chemistry and AP US Government and Politics. He’s also enrolled in SIRS. In the fall, he runs cross country, but he also plays baseball year-round through the school and travel teams. If this wasn’t enough, he also competes in DECA and science fair, is president of the breakfast club, is in the RIOT club, Hellenic club, and national honors society.

“In school and for sports, my motivation comes from my parents, who have driven me to be the best person possible. With all the sacrifices they have made for me, the least I could do to repay them is put 110% effort in everything I do. My two younger siblings also motivate me, as I want to be the perfect example of someone who has a superb work ethic and is determined to accomplish anything he sets his mind to,” Daratzis said.

Daratzis is the perfect image of someone who embodies school spirit. He loves to attend school events and support his peers.

“I love to stay invested in the community and school here and show off my spirit at most sporting events. When I’m not supporting my peers, I’m on the field playing in games and trying to win for the school,” Daratzis said.

Daratzis is a great student, and his teachers notice it.

“Michael was in my Algebra Two Honors three years ago and he’s now in my AP Calculus BC. He’s a great student. He always comes in class with so much energy. He’s so ready to learn. He has a very positive impact on his peers around him. He will come, if something is not clear to him, he will ask for help. He is not ashamed to be wrong or anything. He’s a great kid, and it really is my pleasure to have him for two years in my class,” math teacher Jasminka Jukic said.

Two of Daratzis’s favorite classes at school are AP Chemistry and SIRS.

“AP Chemistry is the perfect challenge, as I learn while thinking outside the box and applying multiple concepts to specific situations. As for SIRS, this is my favorite class because I could literally research anything I want, which is why I chose my number one passion – baseball. I studied Tommy John surgery and collected data on the elbow torque in pitchers. It sounds really sophisticated, but there are some key sports definitions incorporated in the project,” Daratzis said.

Baseball is one of the biggest parts of Daratzis’s life. He spends almost all of his free time either playing the sport or training for the upcoming season.

“There is such a special culture within the baseball team, so practicing is more than just us trying to get better, it’s a brotherhood,” Daratzis said.

Daratzis thoroughly enjoys Niles West, and he sees himself as lucky to go to such a great school.

“Overall, I love going to Niles West. Are there things that I would change about the school? Of course, but generally speaking, this school has facilitated learning opportunities that I couldn’t get at many other schools. Niles West spends immense sums of money on its students to make sure they are performing in athletics but also keeping their grades up in the classroom,” Daratzis said.

Daratzis’s perspective of Niles West is one of the things that ignites his school spirit. He dresses up every day of spirit week and goes to the football games, rain or shine. You might have seen him at the homecoming football game dressed in USA overalls for the USA theme, or at the homecoming dance with an American flag tie. He even played for his middle school, Lincoln Hall, on Thursday for Battle of the Junior Highs.

Daratzis’s character is loved by his friends, Alexander Cherian and MurphyMaeve Holleran.

“Michael is a great athlete. He always seems to be putting in 100% when he is on the field. He works hard and he always has his type of humor that makes everyone laugh. The baseball team always has fun with Michael around,” Cherian said. Cherian and Daratzis play together on Niles West’s varsity baseball team.

“Michael’s really smart. We have AP Gov together, and he always helps me when I ask. He’s really nice,” Holleran said.

Daratzis’s hardworking and friendly personality is visible in everything that he does. Regardless of the assignment, class, or practice, he pours his heart and soul into everything he does and makes sure he does it right. The next time you see Daratzis in class, at a club, or at a game, take the time to say hi – you won’t regret it.