“When I graduate, I don’t want to look back on my high school experience and say, ‘I didn’t do that,’ or ‘I wish I did X,’ or ‘I wish I did Y.’ I don’t think I’m going to,” said Red Land High School senior Carmen Andreoli.
Neither Carmen nor his twin brother, Philip, are likely to leave high school with regrets in relation to opportunities taken or missed.
The twins are the sons of Anthony and Tina Andreoli of Lewisberry. Like many twins, they do a lot together, though they stress that they have their differences.
“We argue all the time, too, about different things, and it will be about something dumb,” Philip said. “We are very different people, but we’re the product of the same environment.”
“The ideas that go inside his head are totally different from the ones going on inside of mine,” Carmen said.
Those differing ideas helped when they started a charity that has become a club at Red Land High School called Video Games Fighting Hunger. Each had different ideas, but those ideas combined and made the club better, Philip said.
The club organizes video game tournaments for which participants pay an entry fee. During the event, the participants have the chance to win prizes donated by local businesses.
“We’re hoping kids get involved in the community in a different way, and that’s by using video games,” Philip said.
To date, the club has raised more than $2,500 and more than 1,000 pounds of food for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. The club has grown at Red Land, and attracts students from the nearby Crossroads Middle School and Trinity High School to its events. Carmen would like to see the club expand into other schools, such as Cedar Cliff High School.
“We’re working to find somebody who has initiative and wants to run that club in another school,” he said.
The club has created a structure with a president, treasurer, secretary and members who are placed in charge of different tasks essential to running the tournament. For Carmen, finding someone to take the reins of the club has been something he’s enjoyed as he thinks back to where he was a few years ago and tries to identify students who are like him who want to take over the club and have fun with it.
“In my eyes, I created something that lasts in the school. It’s something that will continue. I can participate in 100 clubs, but that one charity will last a long time,” he said.
That kind of care for younger students contributed to the second activity the twins cite as one of the highlights of their high school career. Both are leaders of the student council with a particular affinity for their work on the Red Land High School Anti-Bullying Committee.
The committee is comprised of 6-7 students who, to date, have visited 11 elementary and middle schools to talk to thousands of children about bullying and what they should do if they are bullied or they see someone else being bullied.
“Most importantly, and I think what really makes a difference, is talking to these kids on a personal level when they have problems,” Philip said.
Carmen and Philip both plan to go into careers that will continue to serve the community. Inspired by a job shadowing experience with Dr. Cary Cummings, Carmen plans to study biomedical engineering at either Temple or the University of Pittsburgh before going to dental or medical school with the possibility of specializing in surgery.
Philip’s shadowing experience with Cummings confirmed that the medical field was not for him. He has been accepted to the University of Pittsburgh where he would major in industrial engineering with the goal of eventually getting an MBA. He’s also waiting to hear from the University of Pennsylvania where he would pursue a marketing and operations management degree, an interest he traces directly to his work with the twins’ video game charity.
Though there’s potential for them to be on opposite ends of the state, the two hope to be able to keep their band, Unum, together during the summers. The band tailors its set list to the audience for which they are playing so when they recently opened for Eddie Money at a fundraiser, they played covers of Styx or The Beatles. Their own recordings, however, are more jazz-inspired.
A consistent theme for both Philip and Carmen is that they really didn’t expect to do much of what they have been doing in high school.
“Surprise yourself. That’s what high school has been for the two of us,” Philip said.
“The things you don’t see yourself doing are some of the greatest things that ever happen to you,” Carmen added.