“I have been helping others almost all of my life and I love it, Being involved in my community has been very important in my life because it truly has molded me into who I am and brought me where I am today,” says Colin Joseph Accardo, a graduated senior for Archbishop Rummel High School.

During summer, Accardo volunteers at Krewe De Camp, a week-long camp for children who have a variety of mental and physical challenges. Each of the attendants is assigned one camper. Last year, Accardo was assigned a young 18-year-old man named Shyriq who suffered from Autism. Shyriq was non-verbal, but he repeated the exact words any time Accardo would ask him a question.

Each year, the police department comes to the camp with their motorcycles, cars and K9 dogs. Two years ago, Shyriq was afraid to pet dogs when the police department visited, but last year Accardo helped him overcome his fear and he was no longer afraid of the dogs.

“There was never a day when I saw Shyriq without a smile on his face,” says Accardo. “Seeing this made me so proud of him and myself because I realized how much fun I made my camper’s week become.”

During free time, the two bonded over basketball. If he could, Shyriq would play basketball all day long. The two would play on the court, shoot the basket and rebound every shot.

“When he wasn’t shooting the basketball he would never let go of my hand. I was very happy that he did that because that made me realize he was comfortable and wanted to be my friend,” says Accardo.

Accardo has had many role models in his life, including three teachers: Kerri Hutchinson, Matthew Caire and Mark Firmin.

These three teachers helped inspire Accardo to become involved with his community and school.

While at Rummel, Accardo was involved as a Rummel Ambassador and a member of student council, Pro Club Life, Operation Headstart and Fishing Club, and was on the football team, baseball team and was a cheerleader. Within his community, Accardo participated in activities with Angel’s Pace, an organization for families with children diagnosed with life-threatening diseases.

Accardo graduated from Rummel this past May and is attending Louisiana State University majoring in Construction Management.