Student Spotlight on David Karasz

By Indiana Nash

While this may be his senior year, a time when most students decide to take a bit of a break and focus more on relaxing than on studying, David Karasz is kicking things up a notch. Currently, he is working his way through the sixteen-step cadet education program for Civil Air Patrol (or CAP).

Karasz describes CAP as a doctrine, a way of life. It is a volunteer program that performs search and rescues inland during natural disasters, aids the Air Force, carries out counterdrug reconnaissance, and the cadet aerospace education program. Completing the program can take anywhere from three to seven years and beyond. “A really dedicated cadet who worked extremely hard, might be able to complete the program in three years,” said Karasz. Right now, Karasz is somewhere in the middle of the process, which he started back in March of 2013. There are sixteen steps which “cadets” (or anyone going through the program) must complete. Cadets are tested every two months on their progress and to gauge whether or they are ready to move up to the next step.

Cadets are trained in leadership and proper communication skills first and foremost. Once that is mastered, they are trained in emergency services, orienteering and how on aerospace engineering. “We meet every Wednesday night for classes and then we usually have activities and more hands-on learning events on Saturdays,” said Karasz. The dedication to the Civil Air Patrol has been mostly inspired by Karasz’s father and fellow members of the program. “Most of the people on my father’s side have been in the military, and my father was put on active duty during 9/11,” said Karasz, “that sort of self-discipline and sacrifice has pushed me forward in the program.” Although the Civil Air Patrol does not require any of its members to join the military, many join afterwards or continue volunteering throughout adulthood. Currently, there are 2190 members of the program in New York state and 56098 members nationwide.  

“Civil Air Patrol has taught me so many life lessons. We have to take a lot of classes on ethics and how to make moral decisions and I’ve learned a lot from that, but it has also taught me to have self-discipline,” said Karasz. From the program, Karasz hopes to bring these skills into all other aspects of his life. “One thing I’d really like to do now is to rebuild my dad’s fish hatchery. When he had to serve all those years ago in the aftermath of 9/11, we had to shut it down. But we’re trying to get it back up and running now,” said Karasz. A few weeks ago, Karasz found out that he has been accepted to Cornell’s College of Agriculture and he plans to study fish while there. “After I get my doctorate, I want to work for the military and be a biological engineer for them,” said Karasz of his long term plans.

For the time being, he’s focused on completing the rest of the program (which he is well over halfway through) and on graduation.