Clarkie of the Week: Andrew Vontzalides

Will Mahan, Scarlet Staff

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Andrew Vontzalides (‘21) is a runner on Clark University Men’s Cross Country Team and an actor for several Clark Musical Theatre (CMT) productions. Andrew’s adventurous and dashing personality has led him to perform onstage, run a half marathon, and it just might convince him to jump out of plane on his 21st birthday! Although he’s currently studying abroad in Costa Rica, Andrew spoke with us this week to give us answers to some of our big questions in this week’s edition of The Scarlet.

Scarlet: So Andrew, tell me a little bit about yourself….

Andrew: I’m a junior at Clark University studying International Relations and Spanish. I run cross country and love to do theater with CMT. And I’m planning to jump out of a plane for my 21st birthday. 

Scarlet: I’m curious about your plan for your 21st birthday….What makes you want to jump out of a plane?

Andrew: While I’m definitely excited to celebrate and drink legally that day, I wanted to add my own unique spin to it. I’ve been afraid of heights since I was little and I’d like to conquer that fear and do something memorable.

Scarlet: That’s a really creative idea! Speaking of your childhood, what is home to you?

Andrew: The place I lived never really changed until college. Undoubtedly North Reading, Massachusetts.

Scarlet: Perfect, and obviously many at Clark know you from your musical theatre experience. What made you want to join CMT?

Andrew: I’ve been doing theatre since I was nine years old. It’s a really good way to express your emotions and yourself, and connect with an audience while doing so. I didn’t do theatre until the very end of my freshman year at Clark and it felt like something was missing.

Scarlet: Specifically this year you played Glenn Guglia in “The Wedding Singer.” Looking back on the show, what was your favorite rehearsal story?

Andrew: There was a moment in rehearsal when I had to guide my good friend Christina (who was playing the then intoxicated female lead) around the stage during a bar scene, and she kept falling back a little bit because her character was drunk. Not too far though, I could always just keep her from falling over with the slightest bit of pressure to pull her back towards me. Anyway, right as the scene was turning back to us, she went a little further back than I was prepared for. I was unable to catch her and she just fell flat on the ground at the time the male lead was imploring his friends to look at this girl who was out of his league.

Scarlet: That’s a good story! So in regards to CMT and your participation in the Clark community, you are also a NCAA Cross Country runner here at Clark. Could you elaborate on what led you to do running, and what your experience on campus has been like as an athlete?

Andrew: So I hadn’t really participated in any sport since I was 11 or 12 years old, and at the end of high school I really regretted that I wasn’t involved athletically. Long story short I ran a lot for the next year and a half until I was in decent enough shape to run cross country. And my experience has been pretty good! It’s been a different dynamic each year but I´ve found the team to be very supportive and a good distraction during stressful parts of the semester.

Scarlet: You mentioned the importance of a supportive team, during stressful moments in your life. As a student or an athlete what stresses do you cope with?

Andrew: I mean, during the busiest part of the semester, I feel like it’s nearly nonstop every day for a couple weeks which can be stressful and even a tad hopeless at the worst of times. The only other thing I can think of are probably just the regular stresses of being a young adult: “what am I going to do with my life,” as well as social changes.

Scarlet: I think a lot of students could relate to that. So in regards to the last question, obviously you still have time ahead of you at Clark, but what do you currently plan to do after you graduate?

Andrew: After grad school, I’d really like to work in the Peace Corps and then get involved in an international non-profit organization. Also, the kind of work the World Food Program also interests me.

Scarlet: A completely off topic question….if you were a food, what would you be and why?

Andrew: Definitely pizza, that’s my favorite food.

Scarlet: What’s a fun fact you would like the readers to know about you?

Andrew: I´ve been sitting 10 feet away from a palm tree in Costa Rica, as we´ve been conducting this interview!

Scarlet: [laughs] I’m jealous! Okay, so in the spirit of fun questions, if you could meet any figure in history who would it be?

Andrew: Probably Nelson Mandela or Julius Caesar. I admire the idea of an anti apartheid struggle ending in a multiracial democracy and I really respect how both figures were able to maximize the use of their limited resources to enact major change.

Scarlet: Nice! Any final words of encouragement for Clarkies?

Andrew: Absolutely! There’s been a bunch of times even in my short few years at Clark that I´ve felt down on myself and circumstances that have occurred. Put everything in context! A setback is just a setback and will matter less if you keep on at it.