Striving for success on the court and in the classroom

Martin Luther School Senior reaches 1,000 points, reflects on success during his 5-years as a student-athlete

Adam Kirouani, a senior from Astoria, Queens, netted his 1,000th point this season. As captain of the Martin Luther Varsity Basketball team, the 5’7 point guard led the Cougars to a successful season; finishing above .500 and making their 7th playoff appearance in a row. The team eventually fell to western rivals, Avenues, but not before Kirouani reached the 1,000 point mark in his high-school career.

“Honored and grateful,” were two words Kirouani used to describe what reaching the milestone means to him. “To know that my hard work is recognized amongst other high-achieving student-athletes that graduated from Martin Luther is an honor, and I am grateful for the opportunity that the Boys and Girls Club gave me to attend this school that I love,” Kirouani said.

Kirouani is referring to the Student-Athlete Sponsorship that the Variety Boys and Girls Club granted him in 2016. The sponsorship fund, established by Peter Vallone Sr. decades ago, was meant to help high potential Variety Boys & Girls Club Members (Club Kids) who were under-performing at their current school, find a school where they would excel academically and athletically. Between 2016 and 2022, 15 Club Kids have been sponsored to attend Martin Luther School.

Kirouani was one of the 15 selected by former Head Varsity Basketball Coach, John Sanchez, together with Variety Boys & Girls Club Athletic Director and CM3 AAU Basketball Organizer, Charles Melone.

“Although he was always the smallest player on the court, his voice was always the loudest,” John Sanchez said. “His confidence, grit, and strong voice indicated that he would be a good leader and a team player,” Sanchez added.

“Besides his skill on the court, his positive attitude and strong work ethic have always been contagious to those around him,” Charles Melone, a mentor and coach of Kirouani’s for the last several years, said.

Kirouani was the only eighth-grader selected, and in his first year at Martin Luther, stepped into a big role on the JV team, led by Coach Jon Kablack.

Kablack was assistant coach for one year in 2016 before becoming JV coach in 2017. He coached Kirouani throughout his entire five-year high school basketball career.

“He’s a special kid,” Coach Kablack said when asked to describe Kirouani on and off the court. “He deploys kind candor when communicating, leading to feelings of respect and admiration from his teammates,” Kablack added.

To his teachers, Kirouani was a bright light around school; always smiling and engaging with others. Through his hard work and commitment to seeking extra help with subjects he struggled with, Kirouani was able to maintain a 3.0 average during his time at Martin Luther.

“It’s been a true pleasure watching him mature from middle school to high school,” said Assistant Principal, Ann Boyle. “The growth he was able to demonstrate, both in the classroom and on the court, has been impressive,” Boyle added.

Kirouani is eyeing a few D2 and D3 basketball schools, but is undecided as to where he would most like to attend college. “Knowing that Martin Luther and The Variety Boys and Girls Club are in my corner means the world to me,” Kirouani said. “I couldn’t have dreamt of a better high school experience, and I am thankful to God, my family, friends, and of course MLS & The Club for making my high school career an unforgettable one,” Kirouani added.

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