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Brothers who graduated from Aurora High head into medical fields

by BOB GAETJENS | REPORTER Published: October 12, 2016 1:00 AM
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Aurora -- The Calcei brothers -- Jake, Beau, Blake and Luke -- have a lot more in common than the same parents and an Aurora area upbringing.

After they played football and baseball for Aurora High, then attended Kenyon College to major in biology, all four have decided to enter medical professions.

Dr. Beau Calcei is practicing dentistry at Marsh-Huffman DDS Inc. in Kent.

"It's going good," said Beau. "I'm staying really busy. I took over for Dr. [Gordon] Marsh, so we're in the process of flipping the name over."

He said the new name for the business will somehow incorporate his last name, and Calcei now works with Aurora resident Dr. Craig Huffman.

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At 29, Jake is the oldest of the four brothers, and he's still in school. Serving a residency at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, he said he plans to become an orthopedic surgeon.

The hospital is the top facility in the country for orthopedic surgery, he added. In addition to treating professional athletes, including members of the Giants, Mets, Knicks, Nets and Cleveland Cavs, HSS is the hospital for the U.S. Olympic Team.

"It's fun taking care of [elite athletes], but it's equally fun taking care of high school athletes and helping them get back on the field again," said Jake, who would like to become a team surgeon in the future.

The younger two brothers -- Blake, 23, and Luke, 20 -- haven't begun their post-graduate work yet.

Blake graduated from Kenyon last spring and is in the midst of applying to medical schools.

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He said his own injuries have driven him toward helping others. In high school, he tore the meniscus in his knee, and last fall he had a hematoma behind his knee.

"It resulted in missing my first games ever from being injured," he said of the hematoma, adding he hopes to emulate those who helped him heal as an orthopedic surgeon.

"I KIND OF always have seen myself as a caretaker by nature," he said. "I enjoy doing things that help other people and make their lives better."

Luke, a junior at Kenyon this year, said he'd like to become an orthodontist or oral surgeon. "Last summer, I worked with an oral surgeon in Kent," he said. "And I liked that."

Although related, the two career paths require very different post-graduate educations, he said.

To become an orthodontist, he would have to complete dental school and then do his residency with an orthodontist. To become an oral surgeon, he would have to attend medical school and go through a residency.

Orthodontists deal mostly with the positioning of teeth and jaws, and oral surgeons can perform a wide range of procedures ranging from removal of wisdom teeth to reconstructive surgery for someone whose jaw is broken or whose facial bones are cracked, explained Luke.

Nature or nurture?

AHS guidance counselor John Calcei, their father, said he has no doubt his sons gravitated toward higher education and professional careers as doctors because of the influence of those around them as they grew up.

He said they developed strong work ethics, sense of intellectual curiosity about science and values from a variety of people.

"My wife and I were science teachers," he said. "From the time we were young, when we had days off we'd go for hikes in the woods. We'd talk science all the time. It was what we did."

All four boys agreed that having two science teachers for parents had a profound effect on their interests.

"People always ask us if our parents were doctors," said Luke. "They were biology majors. We were all biology majors at Kenyon. The general interest in science runs deep in our family."

John, a longtime assistant football coach at Aurora High School, credited some of the great coaches the brothers had with instilling a strong work ethic and respect for others.

HE SINGLED out AHS football coach Bob Mihalik and retired AHS baseball coach George Snyder as individuals who had a particularly strong effect.

"We teach our kids about all things in life," he said. "As much as we talk about the plan to win the game Friday, we teach them about prioritizing things in life, school, family and then football and baseball."

Blake said some of the work ethic developed over years on the gridiron rubbed off on him when he faced a common nemesis for undergrad biology majors -- organic chemistry.

"I'm not good at chemistry," he said. "It's one of those things that was required to get me where I wanted to go. I was able to rely on my work ethic. My parents have really instilled in me a deep drive to want to succeed."

John also said his sons developed a sense of compassion through their participation at Christ Community Chapel.

"All of those people have been a big influence on them to serve others, not just themselves," he said.

Beau said he wants to become active in the Kent community, adding he would like to help provide for scholarships, support community youth sports and help those who need dental work.

"It's a good way to interact and be involved in your community, provide services and help patients," he said. "It's more than just doing dental work."

Still, as much guidance and help they've had along the way, the brothers have done the hard work themselves, said their father.

"I have good kids that I coach, but they sometimes make bad choices and it ruins everything they work for," he said, but he believes his sons have made good choices when they could have been led astray.

"I'm very proud of them for everything they've done," said John. "As much as I've helped them, they've done the hard work."

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