Triplets graduate RCBC with perfect 4.0 GPAs
Monday, May 17, 2021

Nicholas, Gregory & Christopher Zacharko

Back in December 2019, before the pandemic upended life as we knew it, Rowan College at Burlington County hosted a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament on their Mount Laurel Campus. It garnered 40 participants and drew quite the crowd, bringing together RCBC students, faculty, Barry and even President Dr. Michael A. Cioce. It also helped to propel the RCBC E-sports scene thereafter.

What you may not know about that tournament, however, is that it was set into motion, in large part, by triplets Christopher, Gregory and Nicholas Zacharko. In fact, Christopher, who co-founded the college’s Smash Club, competed in the very first match of the tournament and Gregory and Nick are so passionate about video games that they hope to pursue careers in the industry. 

“I was the first match of the tournament versus a student who wasn't a part of the club but still a great player,” Christopher shared. “It felt like I had to prove that the club is successful to the administration of RCBC through that best of three set. At this point, I had only begun playing Ultimate for a couple of weeks, since I never had the opportunity before with no access to the game. I lost the first game of the set. I then changed my character, and came back to win the set 2-1. The crowd was amazing, and the club was so proud of me for completing the comeback. That was probably the best moment with the club, and I love this club.”

So, what do we know about the triplets other than their penchant for video games? Well, for starters, all three brothers, of Cinnaminson, graduated with 4.0 GPAs and were selected as co-valedictorians of the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF). However, their unique interests and talents will take them down different paths in the future. 

Christopher, an RCBC Liberal Arts and Sciences alum, is currently at the end of his first semester at Rutgers-New Brunswick’s School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS), where he’s pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Meteorology. He hopes to work for the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, NJ. While at RCBC, he helped found the RCBC Smash Club and obtained NJSTARS II status, which will help fund his bachelor’s degree. Since his sophomore year of high school, he’s adhered to a yearly internal theme or mantra. Once he enrolled at RCBC, he changed his mantra each semester. 

“With each mantra, I would work within that frame of mind for the whole time period,” Christopher said. “For the first semester of RCBC, it was "Fly or Die", since the first semester at a new school is critical in terms of a new GPA, but also first impressions and such. Once the COVID-19 pandemic began, the mantra switched to "Anytime, Anywhere", saying that I can earn fantastic marks no matter if I'm on-campus or off-campus, or the time when assignments and classes happen. But, the mantra I had for junior year of high school, the year I took and passed my first three AP tests and courses, has stuck with me to this day. It is my universal mantra, and I think it applies to a ton of students. It’s ‘Will you be lost by time, or be part of history? Will your story be told, or remain a mystery? Will they sing your song, telling all that you have done? Time to make your choice, only you can be the one!’” 

Christopher’s brother, Gregory, an RCBC Computer Science alum, has had his eyes on a computer career since he was just seven years old and received his first video game console, a Nintendo DS Lite, on Christmas. He’s set to attend Rowan University this fall to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. 

“I fell in love with the hobby of video games, and it was at that moment (on Christmas) that I decided that I wanted to become a video game programmer/software engineer,” Gregory said. “I want to provide people the same fun, enjoyment, entertainment, excitement and engaging and immersive experiences that I experience when playing games. I want my legacy in this world, my purpose in this world, to be known as someone who helped in creating games that make people happy, that bring people together as one community, that tell engaging and thoughtful stories that cannot be done in any other medium (a la movies, books, tv shows, etc.) but can only be done through the interactive, artistic medium of video games.”

As for their brother, Nicholas, he will attend The College of New Jersey in pursuit of a bachelor's degree in Interactive Multimedia. He, like Gregory, wants to work in the field of video games, but instead of programming, he would like to work as an artist on games by creating models, scenes, characters and more. 

“I truly did have a good time at RCBC,” Nicholas said. “I liked walking around campus, sitting outside and in the lounges. It was honestly a very good experience.”

When asked why they chose RCBC over other schools, each of the brothers echoed a similar sentiment relating to cost-effectiveness, quality of education and proximity to home. 

“Going to RCBC is much cheaper than a four-year, but with no sacrifice to the quality of learning,” Christopher said. “I would receive the same quality of education as I would for my first two years at a four-year school, but I would be able to take advantage of programs such as EOF, NJSTARS, the Statewide Transfer Program (earn an associate at community college and 4-year institutions must accept all credits), etc. These programs allowed me to go to RCBC without loans and will help me in the future at Rutgers.”

The brothers also formed lasting relationships while at RCBC, even in a predominantly remote environment. In fact, on the last day of the semester, their friends surprised them by giving them the Smash Ultimate game. 

“They all chipped in and bought it for us since we did not have it, and they wanted us to practice consistently, instead of only being able to play or practice while at RCBC,” Gregory said. “They also gave us some of the proper controllers to use. We were so ecstatic! I was so happy to finally have friends that truly care about us as much as I care about them. Finally, a true friendship! And for them to do that was just incredible.”

As for keeping in touch with RCBC in the future, they hope to participate in the college’s Smash Club events for a long time, hoping it helps to spawn a bigger Smash Brothers scene in Burlington County and South Jersey as a whole.