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Familiar Faces, Unknown Names: Nic Brushia

To state the obvious — it’s been a while since we’ve been on campus. I know I’m not the only one that misses all the familiar little quirks of real-life CB. Quarantine has given me a new appreciation for those things, from the yellow halls of the language wing, to the cold STEM classrooms, and […]

To state the obvious — it’s been a while since we’ve been on campus. I know I’m not the only one that misses all the familiar little quirks of real-life CB. Quarantine has given me a new appreciation for those things, from the yellow halls of the language wing, to the cold STEM classrooms, and even the long cafeteria lines. But most of all, I miss the people.

The students, teachers, and staff make campus life special. I was considering this when it hit me: what about our campus characters? The faces we know, but don’t really know? I wanted to dig deeper and learn; thus, “Familiar Faces, Unknown Names” was born. In this series, I’ll be getting familiar with CB’s local legends. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that it’ll refresh the sense of home I miss so much from school.

Enter our first subject.

Rockin’ shades. A scruffy beard. A carefree attitude. And of course, some wicked martial arts skills. He’s “backflip kid”! Or, as he is legally called, Nicolas Brushia (’21). But who is this campus legend, really?

Nic could be spotted from a mile away by his fancy footwork. Everyone can recognize the guy who does kick-flips, but I want to know more than that. I sat down with the man himself to learn what goes on behind the iconic sunglasses.

So what’s the story with the martial arts? The constant kicks, backflips, and spins on campus are done out of a need to be active.

“If I’m constantly needing to be doing something, why not be doing something I’m good at?” Nic told me with a laugh.

Let’s rewind to where he discovered this talent. In preschool, Nic had a run-in with some kids who picked on him. Naturally upset, he went home and told his parents what happened. But Mr. Brushia had faith in his son to overcome his bullies.

“Basically, my dad said, ‘You better never come home crying without having stood up for yourself,'” Nic said with wry smile.

Come the next day, the Brushia family learned Nic was a natural at fighting. His parents decided it would be best to find a healthy outlet for this newfound flair. Fast forward thirteen years, and Nic’s combative skill has landed him several opportunities. He works at his dojo, Kovar’s, as an instructor to children. He was named a certified pro-training instructor for Hyper, an organization that sponsors the world’s top martial arts competitors. He’s even on a demonstration team, the Red and Black Attack, and has participated in major national tournaments.

But this activity was all before quarantine. Lack of practice and interaction with others have made it difficult to return to the level he was before the pandemic hit. He sadly confessed that quarantine has discouraged him from his dreams of going pro.

Now that he’s home practically 24/7, what does he do with so much free time? An active guy like him needs constant engagement. Lately, he says, he’s redirected his energy into Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on the Nintendo Switch. He’d been wanting to try competitive gaming for a while — titles like Call of Duty and Streetfighter were fun, but didn’t really hold his interest. Smash was the first game he really connected with. And luckily for him, he seems to be a natural at it. Nic says he’s spent a big chunk of quarantine playing Smash with his friends, always looking to improve his techniques.

Gaming isn’t his only other hobby. Despite his devotion to Smash, Nic still has plenty of passion to spare. Music is one of his true loves. He can bang out a killer beat on the drums, but with his whole family home all the time, he’s had a hard time practicing. Luckily, his list of interests doesn’t stop there — he also writes. Currently, he’s working on a series of novels called The King of Thieves, an adventure story about a group of high schoolers fighting a divine army.

And that’s not all! On top of this, he dabbles in art. He told me he’s a part of CB’s new digital art program, which has been a very welcome, very fun addition to his schedule.

Now you know what Nic Brushia does – but how about who Nic Brushia is? I reached out to a couple of his buddies for an outside perspective.

Jack Agnell (’21), a friend of Nic’s since sixth grade, said he’s one of the most dedicated people Jack knows.

“He puts his all into the things he enjoys,” Jack said. From one of his many hobbies to helping a friend in need, Jack has never seen Nic shy away from something – or someone – he loves.

Rachel Long, one of Nic’s teammates at Kovar’s, also highly praises his character.

“He has good intentions,” she says. “He wants the best for everyone around him and he wants to do his best to help.”

At his core, Nic is an ambitious, supportive, trustworthy guy. He knows how to have a fun time and likes a good thrill. Most importantly, he’s got a lot of love to give.

One thing Nic wants people to know? He’s aware that people make fun of his voice, but it doesn’t bother him and neither does his lisp. He flicked open a pair of reflective shades, set them against his forehead, and said, “If you’re doing it to be funny, go right ahead! If you’re doing it to try and take a crack at me, it’s not gonna work.”

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