APHS Student-Athlete Is Making His Mark

APHS Student-Athlete Is Making His Mark
Posted on 05/22/2023

In 2007, the Asbury Park School District resurrected its wrestling program under then coach, Matt Ardizzone. This year, the team earned its first winning season, with a record of 11-8. A big part of the program’s success is senior captain John Lavarin.

"He does not want to lose and he is a very balanced wrestler,” said current Wrestling Head Coach Alexander Provenza, also is a math teacher in the district. “John will always find a way to get the right answer or to win. You can't teach that!"


Lavarin, 18, immigrated to the United States from Haiti when he was in the seventh grade. He describes his greatest challenge as "not knowing what people were saying to me. I wouldn't speak up in school because I didn't know the language." Five years later, that's all changed.


He exited ELL (English Language Learner) with flying colors, is strong academically and is a great citizen,” said his counselor Bryan Hackett, noting his redeeming qualities of honesty and humility. "John is a shinning bright light who has thrived in the Asbury Park School District. He always accepts the supports offered and takes advantage of everything given to him. He runs with it and is often successful."


Lavarin, who has six brothers whom tries to set a positive example for, has been on the high honor roll every years since 2019 with straight A’s in all of his classes this year and ranking among the top 10 in the graduating Class of 2023. He is certain he will go to college and what he will study, but is not clear about where he will attend. Lavarin’s acceptances include: Felician University, St. Peter's University, Monmouth University, Georgian Court University, Caldwell University and Rowan University.

“I want to be a nurse,” adding he was inspired to enter this field by his aunt. He also works part time at Seabrook Senior Living in Tinton Falls.

Lavarin’s positive impact seems infectious in the classroom and on the field, mat and court as he has had a similar impact on the district’s soccer, wrestling and boys’ volleyball programs. Since being recruited by his cousin, Daveson Joinvilmar, to join the wrestling team, the rest is history! At 59 wins, Lavarin has had the most wins in recent history and nearly of those years were plagued by the pandemic. He currently wrestles at 120 pounds.

"Wrestling is fun and I'm good at it," John said, noting he likes it because it offers him another chance to show leadership. He's been a team captain on the Varsity squad since his freshman year and has picked up some hardware along the way. In his junior and senior year he won third in the 113 and 120 weight classes respectively at the Bucs Classic. He also won third at the Rumble in the Pines his junior year. Also in his junior year, out of 46 teams, he earned the Sportsmanship Award of the Year and was the No. 1 113-pounder in Group B Central Award. He's a force in Asbury Park.


In addition to wrestling, he is a soccer and boys’ volleyball standout. Lavarin played Varsity Soccer for four years as a midfielder/forward, scoring eight goals and earning nine assists and was Captain of the inaugural boys’ volleyball team, which was introduced in the district last year.


“He was big into being challenged, overcoming challenges and proving he belonged no matter where," said sophomore year soccer coach Francis Nunez, nothing  Lavarin never missed practice.


Athletically, Lavarin said he looks up to his current and former coaches -- Matt Ardizone, Alexander Provenza, Francis Nunez and Brian Wildeman – and is grateful for all they have taught him. But his ultimate motivator is his aunt, Celie.

"She's the reason I get straight A's,” he said.

In his spare time, he mentors younger students and helps them to thrive. Serves as a mentor with the Beat the Streets Wrestling program. A native Haitian-Creole speaker, he volunteers to translate as well. Other volunteer efforts include: New Eden Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Asbury Park Beach Clean Up, AP middle school student tutor and Epic Program.

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