For BFA Fairfax senior and soccer star Isaac Collins, setting a good example is his most important goal. Whether he’s inspiring his peers as captain of the soccer team or volunteering in his community as part of the National Honor Society, Collins says, “I like to lead by example.”
The renowned athlete and respected musician got his start at Fletcher Elementary, where he achieved success alongside eight classmates.
“It was a really, really small class and we all knew each other and were best friends. Some of us still are,” Collins said of his early educational years. “We had a lot of good times together.”
While Collins says he enjoyed “most everything” about his schooling in Fletcher, he recalls being particularly motivated by music class in fourth grade.
“The teacher made it the best,” he said. “I really enjoy music now and play guitar and sing. That fourth-grade year in music really got me interested.”
Collins said he appreciated the tight-knit community the Fletcher School offered, something that he has also experienced in his middle and high school years at BFA Fairfax.
“I always remember the parents were really involved,” he said. “BFA is larger than Fletcher, but we’re still tight. I know everybody in my classes and my teachers know me personally. It’s just a comfortable environment.”
Collins left Fletcher for BFA in seventh grade, and he’s developed a positive reputation as a leader and good student ever since.
“Isaac is an accomplished student taking challenging AP courses, is an incredible athlete, and he is also a talented actor and musician,” BFA Fairfax teacher Sara Villeneuve said. “His peers adore his calm, patient, thoughtful demeanor. He always makes time for others and his community.”
Collins is well-known for his musical and vocal talents, which he often showcases at his school’s Coffee House events, where he also takes charge of the technical-set of equipment. He was his soccer team’s MVP during both his junior and senior years. The skilled athlete was also selected as a member of the 2017 Vermont All State High School Soccer Team, comprised of the best performing seniors that year.
While Collins acknowledges sports has taught him several life lessons, he also credits his parents and his faith for “giving me a solid set of morals like kindness and being humble.”
“A character trait that Isaac exemplifies is integrity,” Villeneuve said. “Isaac has strong moral principles and acts with honor and respect for others.”
Success runs in the Collins family. His sister is a senior in the nursing program at New York’s Elmira College. Both of his parents attended Vermont Technical College. His mother is a veterinary technician and his father is maintenance technician at Globalfoundries. Both have been successful in their fields for about 30 years.
Collins is committed to giving back to his community. He’s helped organize dinners and children’s events as part of his church, and has supported blood drives and individual service projects as part of National Honor Society, a group he describes as “being conscious of the community, looking out for people, and connecting with people that have similar interests and share your values.” He and a friend are currently planning a sports tournament from which the proceeds will be donated to a cancer charity.
Collins credits BFA Fairfax with giving him the communication skills to be successful across settings.
“For me, because of what I’ve learned here, it’s really easy to communicate with pretty much anybody or a group of people, “ Collins said.
That skill will be an important one for the aspiring communications and digital media major, who has already been accepted to two of the five colleges to which he’s applied.
“Sharing information by video and working technically really interests me,” Collins, who is considering broadcast journalism as a career, said. “Education is important to me, as is personal expression in a variety of forms. This year, everybody was asking me what I was going to major in during college. I realized that my favorite part of all my classes at BFA was about sharing information.”
Collins is currently completing an independent study that focuses on videography and showcasing the extracurricular activities at his school.
“BFA offers the opportunity to work one-on-one with teachers,” Collins said. “You work very closely and I don’t think you would get as much of that at a larger school.”
Some might ask how Collins balances sports, academics, community service, friends, and family.
“He is able to find balance between these things,” Villeneuve said. “His peers see him participate in activities like this, in sports, philanthropic work, and his studies … and still find time for family.”
Collins’s care for the world is also reflected in his choice of music. “Paul Simon’s songwriting is incredible and the harmony when they sing is some of the best. Most important, though, is that you can find more meaning in Simon and Garfunkel lyrics than most of the other stuff. The message is important.”
Collins will continue visiting potential colleges this spring, before making a final decision. In the meantime, he plans to continue being a positive role model for those around him.
“Isaac Collins personifies the title of ‘student-athlete,’ BFA Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Geri Witalec-Krupa said. “His strength of character, attention to his studies, commitment to soccer, and all around positive demeanor make him an exceptional leader and role model in our school. He is an incredibly well-rounded young man as one of the most talented musicians, and athletes, at BFA Fairfax. Whether quietly leading by example, or being the vocal motivator, Isaac also possesses the ability to adjust his leadership style based on the environment and those around him. The traits he demonstrates on a daily basis will serve him well in all his future endeavors and successes.”
“I want to provide an example for younger people that don’t know exactly what they should be doing,” Collins said. “I want them, at any given point, in any situation, to be able to look to me and see a leader. Leading by example is really the most important thing to me.”