What is Daniel Stern?


Daniel Stern eagerly awaits the approaching ball as he cocks his racket behind his body. (Rico Figliolini/Reporter Newspaper)

Eli Weiner, Managing Editor

Sweat was dripping down his jet black hair. He was clutching his racket tightly and eyeing the opponent across the court. He tossed the ball above his head and watched as he hit the ball at approximately 90 mph to the opposite side of the net. The ball sped past the opponent, and Daniel won the 2016 singles Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) regional tennis tournament.

This sort of event is not uncommon for Daniel as he has won many tennis matches in his life. When he was younger, tennis was an integral part of his life; however, everything changed when he injured his knee. And by everything, he means everything. He had gone from being a top ranked player in the Southeast to a boy who was on crutches for months. He thought his tennis career would never be the same. It was at this point that Daniel learned the true meaning of being a student athlete.

Daniel’s work ethic is unparalleled and several teachers have come to notice this. His history teacher, Dr. Kevin Goldberg, claimed that “Daniel’s work ethic inspires me to work harder everyday.” Daniel believes that this work ethic derives from his rigorous routine, which his cousin, Galloway senior Alex Panovka, claims is “probably the craziest routine you will ever see from a high school kid.” Generally, Daniel wakes up at 4:30 a.m., takes an ice bath and gets ready for the gym. He then takes a 26 to 34 minute power nap for health reasons (which he claims keeps him up and going so early in the morning). He goes to Life Time Athletic gym at 5:45 a.m., works out for two hours, showers, shaves and then heads to school.

Daniel says that “[his] schedule is a little too much at times.” This prompts him to change his schedule one to five times per week to a more relaxed 7:50 a.m. wake up time. According to Daniel, “even when it is not tennis season, it is still tennis season.” Daniel’s friend, Riverwood International Charter School senior Syd Pargman, exclaimed that “Daniel does not take days off. He’s the hardest worker I know.” During tennis season, Daniel goes to practice five times a week and plays at least once every four months in the offseason.

After Daniel told me about his schedule, I had to ask him this question: on a scale of 1-10, what is your work ethic? Unsurprisingly, Daniel says that “people ask me this question often. My only answer is that there is no answer. I don’t think that you can quantify work ethic. I always try my best.” This drive to work hard has earned Daniel heavy interest from elite schools such as Goucher College, Tiffin University, Thiel College and last, but not least, the College of Saint Elizabeth. Ultimately, though, he has chosen to attend the equally prestigious Vanderbilt University as full time student.

According to Daniel’s friend since birth and Weber senior Sam Bronfman, “It is both a blessing and a curse being so good on and off the court. He has a lot of pressure on him at all times. If Daniel was a basketball player he’d be Kobe Bryant. If he was a football player he’d be Peyton Manning. If he was a baseball player he’d be Manny Ramirez. If he was a full time student he’d be Albert Einstein.” It really does seem as if Daniel is good at everything he does.

In the classroom, Daniel is nothing less than stellar. He has an A+ average, is extremely active in the community and has won many awards. Daniel volunteers with Friendship Circle and is Founder and President of the “Serve it Up” summer camp, which is a free week long tennis camp in the summer for children and adults with special needs. Of the awards that he has won, some standouts include: Atlanta InTown Newspaper- Named a 20 Under 20 Honoree, Top 20 students in Atlanta recognized for their volunteer work in the Atlanta community, Superior Sports Feature Award, Georgia Scholastic Press Association – “Weber junior Eli Weiner commits to play baseball at Tulane” and the Weber Scholar Athlete award. Even after knowing all of this information about Daniel, you may still be asking, “What is Daniel Stern?” When I asked Daniel this question, he gave me a very short, clear response: “I am just a young adult finding my niche in the world.”

When asked what advice he has for young Weber student-athletes, Daniel said that “A lot of people will tell new athletes that they can’t succeed in Weber’s sports programs. In fact, I was told this my freshman year. I used the negativity to fuel my success that year and eventually won the singles region tournament. One last word of advice – work smarter not harder.”