Irvington senior Maxwell Forte is the definition of dedicated, both on and off the field. Throughout his high school years, Forte balanced track, rigorous coursework, and involvement in his community with diligence and grace.
Forte’s love for track began at an early age. “My parents say that I was running before I was walking,” he says. “I have been competing since I was six years old.”
Forte’s hard work in his sport has certainly paid off, with major achievements. Not only has he been winning events since his freshman year, but his long jump ranks as the second best in school history. In addition, he is the high school record holder in the 55m high hurdles.
Although maintaining the balancing act between track, school, and community may seem overwhelming, Forte makes it seem effortless. “Organization is key,” stresses Forte, “I find myself getting a lot done when I break my work into parts and complete it piece by piece.”
Forte attributes much of his success to his parents. “My mom and my dad were both athletes and their constant encouragement has driven me to get better,” he says . In addition, Forte stresses that without his coaches, he would not be where he is today.
One of those coaches, Coach Mosenthal, speaks to Max’s success. “Max is innately curious and driven to excel, he is constantly looking for ways to improve, whether it’s attending clinics, seeking information on the internet, or asking questions of his coaches,” states Mosenthal. “He also carries that curiosity into the classroom, where he takes a slew of honors courses and achieves at an extremely high level.”
Aside from track and academics, Forte strives to make positive changes in the world. For example, along with another classmate he created a fundraising effort to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS), raising $43,000, one of the highest high school fundraising efforts recorded by LLS.
In addition, Forte has participated in numerous volunteer opportunities with Yes Solutions, an organization that is dedicated to giving back to the homeless in New York City. “My involvement in my community shows that with enough effort, I can do a lot of good in the world,” he says.
Forte already has big plans for the future, the first of many being competing in the decathlon next year at Duke University, where he will be attending college.
Q & A with Scholar Athlete of the Month Maxwell Forte
RJ: How do you balance community involvement, as well as academic achievement, with the commitment of athletics?
MF: I find the best way to balance all three of these things is being organized. While doing many tasks at once may seem daunting at first, if you manage your time and break it down into parts that you can complete one by one, I find myself getting a lot done. Over my time in high school I have been focusing myself on being organized so that I can stay ahead of all the work.
RJ: What motivates you most on the field, court, etc.?
The biggest motivator that I have is nothing more than my dedication to be the best. So in a way, I think that I am my biggest motivator. I set goals for myself, and I work towards them day or night, to prove to myself that I can do what I set my mind to.
RJ: What do you consider to be your best accomplishment (could be academic, athletic, community-related)?
MF: There are two very important and meaningful accomplishments in my life, and I think to rank one over another wouldn’t be right. One, a community based achievement, is when I, with another classmate of mine (Allie Rosenberg) worked together with the Leukemia and Lymphoma society Student of the Year Campaign to raise $43,000 for blood cancer. This meant a lot to me, and it was life changing in the fact that I proved that with enough effort, I can do a lot of good in the world. The second, a more personal track achievement, is when I broke the 23 foot barrier in the long jump. This had been the goal of mine that I set in my freshman year of high school, and while there were many ups and downs along the way, I accomplished my goal.
RJ: What is the most rewarding part of achieving feats for your team?
MF: While track is much more of an individual sport, when I do well in an event, the support from my teammates makes it feel like we achieved it together. In practice we help each other, and I enjoy helping coach my teammates with all the lessons that I have learned in the sport. It’s very rewarding when I get a personal best, but also very rewarding when they get a personal best, because it feels like we got it together.
RJ: Is there someone who has inspired you, or helped you meet your achievements?
MF: While I don’t have that one person I constantly look up to, I think the constant encouragement from my family has always driven me to get better. They have been the best, and always there for me when I get down on myself, and I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for them. As for coaches, Coach Barry, Coach Mo, Coach Buckley have been there with me through my high school years, and they have been so supportive and helpful in developing me as an athlete. Finally, Coach Tom, a hopeful Olympian and Coach Dom of Athletics Westchester, a couple newer coaches that I have been working with over last summer, were just what I needed to push myself to my goals.
RJ: How do you involve yourself in the community?
MF: While I did have the big fundraiser in my sophomore year, I have been actively trying to help our communities and the environment. I have been to countless volunteering opportunities with Yes Solutions, an organization dedicated to giving to the homeless and very poor people of New York City and ensuring they get warm food and clothing. I have also been to other opportunities where I cleaned up our town, or helped build a house, and I hope to continue to give back as much as I can in the future.
RJ: If you could describe your experience as a student-athlete in three words, what would they be?
MF: Determined, Focused, Team player