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Stellar Student: Victor Skenderi
by Noreen Lewis Cochran
October 03, 2012 11:10 AM | 4820 views | 1 1 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Victor Skenderi
Victor Skenderi
Like the school mascot, a knight-errant, Pace Academy senior Victor Skenderi of Vinings travels around the country winning contests for the glory of his sponsor.

He specializes in debating the pros and cons of increasing investment in U.S. transportation.

It may be fitting, since the 18-member team criss-crosses America in pursuit of trophy gold, while cementing lifelong friendships.

“We travel all over the country,” said Victor, who was in Dallas, Texas, two weeks ago and Washington last week. “You get to meet a lot of smart, interesting, fun people.”

The debaters are part of a 40-year tradition with a winning track record, which Victor and his debate partner, fellow senior Jordan Epstein, want to enhance before the 2012-13 school year ends.

“In terms of finishing off my year, there’s a Tournament of Champions,” Victor said about a national contest hosted by the University of Kentucky. “My goal is to, hopefully, win that. Pace won it once before in 2002.”

With debate a time-consuming investment, sports have been a lower priority although Victor said he enjoyed being on the golf team during his sophomore year.

“My stepdad [Joe Young] got me really excited about it. He taught me how to play,” said the 17-year-old, whose biological father Astrit Skenderi lives in Albania, which Victor left with his mother Bjollca Prroni during the 1997 revolution.

Victor returns every summer to teach students in an after-school program at the Human Rights in Democracy Center in Tirana, Albania, where his aunt, Aferdite Prroni, is the director.

“I went there this summer and I got to teach them English, which I thought was really cool because I can speak Albanian,” he said.

Victor said his former homeland inspires more volunteerism.

“It’s interesting seeing the difference between what they have and what we have,” he said. “It makes me want to do more for the community.”

Victor does plenty for the team, said varsity debate coach Shuntá Jordan.

“He has great leadership ability and really takes control in terms of leading the team and working with the younger debaters,” she said.

Calling Victor “one of the best debaters in the country,” the coach said his work ethic — including seven weeks at debate camp — makes him stellar.

“He has been arguably the hardest working debater in terms of personal desires to be great, as well as team goals,” Jordan said.

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