Leaps and Bounds
Alexander Kouthoofd ’18
Hometown: Oswego, New York
Role: Recipient of the Douglas Crane ’80 Memorial Scholarship
Fueling the flame: Rose Cardamone Crane ’81 in memory of her husband, Douglas Crane ’80
"College has opened up so many doors leading me to many new places, and due to my curiosity I try to do it all. I would imagine this is the reason why I am in seven different clubs, as well as a teacher of parkour at the Ninja Academy in downtown Oswego. I excel at keeping busy."
Every spring, more than a dozen elementary and middle school kids scramble for the chance to pick up trash on the streets of Oswego with Alex Kouthoofd ’18.
“We bring a camera,” Kouthoofd said of the annual Superhero Clean Up conducted by the Ninja Academy on West First Street in Oswego. “We do cartwheels to pick up a piece of trash, then do a flip over an obstacle to dunk it into a trash bag.”
Kouthoofd is an instructor for the Ninja Academy, where young people are trained in the art of parkour: a sport of moving rapidly through an environment, negotiating obstacles by running, jumping and climbing. The wildly popular America Ninja Warrior television program showcases some of the talent and grit it takes to participate in parkour, and there is no shortage of students and fans.
“It’s actually a great brain game, and it’s great exercise,” said Kouthoofd, who is a SUNY Oswego commuter student, recipient of the Douglas Crane ’80 Memorial Scholarship and computer science major. “I love teaching. It’s a good feeling when they’ve gained confidence, when they do something successfully and you’ve been a part of it.”
Kouthoofd is not only a mentor and role model to the Ninja Academy students, he teaches classes at Cayuga Community College’s Summer College for Kids and Teens. Eight to 14 year olds learn to make 2D and 3D video games under Kouthoofd’s tutelage. And on campus, Kouthoofd is a peer tutor between being the vice president for the Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers Club, and a member of the Robotics Club, Team Mini, Computer Science Association Club, Outdoor Club and much more.
“I have lived in Oswego most of my life,” Kouthoofd said. “My parents believe, as I do, that it is my responsibility to pay for college.”
Living at home helps immensely, but scholarship assistance is critical, he said, thankful to Rosemary Calderone Crane ’81 who established the scholarship in memory of her husband. In fact, scholarship support allowed Kouthoofd to travel to London for 10 days as part of a computer science quarter course in 2015. The group built devices to measure the city’s air quality in different locations; they also designed a mobile app to operate on iOS devices.
Back when he was a student at Oswego High School, Kouthoofd would sometimes ride his bike to the SUNY Oswego campus, which would someday become such a vital part of his life. When it came time to select a college, SUNY Oswego was the obvious choice because of its strong computer science programs and dedicated professors, he said.
Kouthoofd has brought with him to SUNY Oswego the energy—and life lessons—cultivated through his involvement with parkour.
“If there’s a wall, you don’t walk around it,” he said. “You jump over it.”