For some students, college is a means to an end. But that wasn’t the case for recent graduate Mason Drastal. He made the most of his time at Onondaga – leading the men’s tennis team to their first-ever national championship in 2008, excelling in the classroom, volunteering in the community, and living on campus. He’s the picture of the well-rounded college student, and since transferring to American University in Washington, D.C., he hasn’t slowed down a bit.
Drastal was born and raised in Skaneateles, NY, but he lived for a short while in Indonesia and attended kindergarten at an international school. When he returned to the states and graduated high school, he became a rotary exchange student in Brazil. A remarkable accomplishment for a young man who didn’t speak a word of Portuguese –the official language of Brazil – when he first arrived. But after a year of being totally immersed in the culture, he now prides himself on being totally fluent.
“I grew up traveling, but my trip to Brazil was really out of this world,” he says. “It helped me focus my passion on wanting to do important work helping the international community.”
After Brazil, Mason came to Onondaga to begin his journey toward a four-year degree. He studied humanities, which provided him with the foundation he needed to transfer to a four-year college and study international relations. “Onondaga does a great job preparing people to be good citizens of their communities and of the world,” says Drastal. “The world is getting smaller and smaller by the minute. We’re living in a global society today whether we realize it or not, and for those who don’t have the opportunity to travel outside the United States or outside of Central New York, I believe it’s still important to be an active global citizen.”
Now a third year student at American University in Washington, D.C., he has his sights set on making the world a better place. Eventually, Drastal says he’d like to work for a nonprofit organization to help with development in Latin America. For now, he’s hitting the books and earning money through a federal work-study program as a tennis instructor at an academy for Latin American youth.
He graduates from American University in 2011, and from there? The sky’s the limit.
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