James Chillemi is driven by his Faith

Posted Saturday, June 25, 2011 by lohud.com
Sun Jun 19, 2011 9:00 PM

Stepinac's Chillemi propelled by his faith

Sharieka  Breeden 


Faith first is the belief for James Chillemi of Peekskill. Whether he is competing on the golf course or the basketball court the Stepinac standout has a motto: "If it's not in God's plan, it's not in God's plan."

That's what he lives by.

For Chillemi, who thinks that the American culture is lacking religion, working hard to do the right thing and give praise for accomplishments is a must.

This golf season Chillemi earned a chance to compete in the State Federation golf tournament, where he tied for 22nd place. Competing at Bethpage Black, where Tiger Woods won the 2002 U.S Open, was more about the experience than the finish. Chillemi labeled the opportunity one more blessing.

"I didn't do so well, but I was just pretty much happy to be there," Chillemi said. "Basketball is my first sport, golf is my second, and it was just a thrill for me to be able to get out there and compete with the best golfers in New York state."

Chillemi, who played on the Stepinac basketball championship team in 2010 and was named an all-CHSAA shooting guard this season, will attend Ave Maria University in Naples, Fla., on a full basketball scholarship -- and he hopes to play golf at the collegiate level as well.

"With everything I've done I owe it all to God," Chillemi said. "So many people don't have the opportunity that I have to be healthy and compete with other kids that are blessed."

As Chillemi prepares for college, he is working to hold on to the the values that started with his parents and continued to develop at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and Stepinac.

"The sky is the limit for me, so I want to go as far as I can go," Chillemi said. "God has gotten me where I am, and at any moment this can go down the drain, so I give my praise to him."