MIKE ANTONELLI
”Country Mike”

Contact: Mike.Antonelli@Leaduthere.com

Program Lead
Joined Crew in 2016
IG: @Lead_U_CountryMike

+ Where are you from?

North Arlington, NJ.. Currently living in Point Pleasant, NJ

+ What is your educational background?

I've been working with children of all ages at the North Arlington after school SACC program since I was a senior in high school. While in high school, I found a genuine love for doing theatre so I went to school for Theatre Education to combine working with kids and acting. I graduated from Kean University in 2016 with a BA in Theatre & A Teaching Certification. I've been a performer for almost 10 years and a teaching artist for about 5 years!

+ When you aren't at Lead U, what are you doing?

When I'm not working with Lead U, I am an in home ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) Therapist for children with developmental disabilities. I work with children of all ages on the spectrum on social skills, behavior techniques (coping skills), and general life lessons. In addition to that, I am currently enrolled in the Georgian Court University ABA Masters Program to eventually become a BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analysis).

+ Who do you view as a leader and why?

I view myself as a leader because not only do I take charge when I need to, I'm adaptable to the group I'm with. If I see someone else taking charge, I have no problem taking a back seat. I'm always willing to put whoever we're working with or whatever we're working on before myself, so I believe my selflessness definitely makes me a good leader. In addition to that, I usually always try to make people laugh or smile, so I like to create positive environments to surround everybody in which makes life so much easier.

+ What's one thing you remember from Kindergarten or the early years of school?

I remember the first time I spelled the color Orange correctly. I was so proud of myself because all the other colors were basic like blue, red, green, those were easy, but spelling Orange as a kindergartener was definitely a highlight. Also, I wore a suit to my first day of first grade at a new school (Thanks Mom).

+ If you could only eat three foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?

Pepperoni Pizza, Peanut Butter Snickers, Chick-fil-A Fries well done. To wash it all down, I would definitely go with Vanilla Coke.

+ Who would play you in a movie of your life?

When I was younger, it would've been the High School Musical version of Zac Effron because I was the kid in high school that did the shows, played basketball, and had quite a few friends. Now, it was probably be Adam Devine. We have very similar mannerisms, comedic prefernces, body stature, and once Pitch Perfect came out, a lot of people told me he reminded them of me. When I get older, I'd like it to be Tom Hanks because he is literally the greatest actor of all time and it would be an honor.

+ What is your favorite family or friend tradition?

My favorite family traditon has spanned over years and years and still occurs to this day. Every Easter, my parents hide fake eggs around the house with dollar bills in them and my sister (27) and I (24) race around the house to see who can find the most eggs. It's totally ridiculous, but it's great fun to feel like a kid again.

+ Most memorable Lead U moment

Wow, there's really so many to choose from. I think my most memorable Lead U moment would be the creation of the character formerly known as Texas Mike. I had gotten fairly comfortable in my position with Lead U and wanted to take a risk, and I distinctly remember Cool Pants Connor not being into it, but I went ahead and did it anyway. During the opening skit, I believe we were making everyone eat grilled cheese at the time, I decided to gallop out on a fake horse (who ended up getting the name Biscuits, R.I.P), and talk with a southern accent with the full intention to throw a curve ball at JD. From then on, the character formerly know as Texas Mike, became a staple in the Lead U community. For the expansion of the brand, we decided not to play favorites to Texas, but to change the name to Country Mike after the very well known Beastie Boys country album.

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