Standout of the Issue: Victor Kedzierzawski

By Sofia Kerpan

Those that are acquainted with him are aware that he is foreign. He says “bloody” as if he’s the frontman of a Britpop band. Others assume he hails from Mother Russia, possibly due to his learned disposition and dark, slavic features. But Victor Kedzierzawski, Div. 183, is not British, and he is not Russian.

“Most people think I’m Russian. I must say that I enjoy it,” said Kedzierzawski.

Having emigrated from his hometown of Warsaw, Poland at the age of 10, Kedzierzawski is recognized at Lane for his British accent and persona, despite having never visited the country. The accent is a godsend to English teachers who can, and have, put it to good use when reading Shakespeare in class. Kedzierzawski was not a stranger to the soliloquies of Macbeth, Claudius and Hamlet in his AP Literature class this year.

His first language being Polish, he was taught basic English in school in Poland. However, he didn’t always have his distinguished British accent.

“At first I had a Polish accent [when I spoke English]. The morph occurred as I was notified of my Polish accent when I first came to America, which I set out to change into a less-ridiculed one,” said Kedzierzawski, “So I listened to BBC and classical radio on a UK station…and as I learned how to pronounce words correctly [with a British accent], the manner of speech just stuck. It just comes naturally now.”

In accordance with his Anglican image, he finds himself in love with tea. He carries two thermoses of Earl Grey tea to school each day: one for lunch, and one to drink throughout the day.

Beverages play a big part in Kedzierzawski’s identity. One of his trademarks is his handy canteen that is often seen strapped to his belt.

“I just like military things. I thought, instead of a water bottle, why not a canteen? People make fun of me for it,” Kedzierzawski said.

This admiration for the military is due in part to his participation in ROTC. He is the current Cadet Captain and Chief Logistics Officer in the Battalion S-4. He admires the values that the military embraces, although he says he would never join.

“I love uniformity. I love order.”

This translates to his political ideals as well.

“I associate myself with Communism. I do not agree with it 100%…but I like their ideas,” he said.

Insisting that this is not a teenage phase or attempt at being radical, Kedzierzawski first became interested in Communism after seeing Enemy at the Gates as a child. He had also heard much about it in Poland, a formerly Communist state.

“Am I zealous about it? No. It is the only successful ideal that includes altruism.

Surprisingly, Kedzierzawski’s favorite book is not nearly as militaristic as he seems to be. He has a soft side, too: It’s Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, which follows the story of a love lost in the roaring twenties.

“I’m old-fashioned. I like the lingo. I like the fashion of the 20s, trench coats, and suits. In the future, I want to wear a suit every single day.”

But Kedzierzawski’s desired profession might be more suited to a lab coat. He wants to be a neurological researcher, and hopes to study at The University of Chicago.

“Someone said something once that I will never forget. They said, ‘The human brain is the only living thing that has set out to understand itself,’” he said.

Few have set out to understand Kedzierzawski. He is unlike most students at Lane, from his canteen to his rolling briefcase with wheels that functions as a backpack. But he seems to enjoy being a conundrum, and even finds the people in America to be much more welcoming of him. Characterizing himself as an outcast, he faced ridicule from his peers as a young child in Poland.

“After years of humiliation, I left Poland with a sour taste in my mouth. America? I like the people better.”

He even likes Americans enough to tell them his honest opinions about their clothing.

“Today I told the girl that sits in front of me in class that her scarf looked like a pixelated rainbow. It was awful.”

He means well.

In terms of his public image, the Cadet Captain’s ethnicity is often mistaken, but one thing generally holds true: Kedzierzawski is bloody different.