Madelyn Kye’s summer internship at the Walt Whitman Birthplace in Huntington Station was an educational and eye-opening experience for the Huntington High School senior. She is a thoughtful, articulate and delightful young woman with many admirers among her classmates and teachers.
President of Huntington High School’s History Day Club, Ms. Kye has produced award winning research in multiple academic disciplines. She’s a splendid athlete and musician, too.
Whitman is one of America’s great poets, essayists and journalists. His 1855 “Leaves of Grass” poetry collection is one of the most famous volumes ever published in the United States. He founded the Long Islander newspaper in 1839. Whitman died in 1892.
The Whitman house has been a state historic site since September 1957. Located at 246 Old Walt Whitman Road, the great Walt Whitman was born in the Federal-style home in 1819. The interior and exterior of the house retain a remarkable degree of design integrity.
“I worked on developing exhibits, cataloguing books and on an independent research project,” Ms. Kye said. “I’m hoping to continue volunteering during the school year, likely working as a tour guide.”
The teenager’s senior year academic schedule includes classes in Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition, AP Calculus AB, AP U.S. Government and Politics, AP Micro/Macro Economics, French V Honors, Physics, science research, orchestra and a credit bearing internship with social studies teacher Lauren Desiderio in an AP World History class.
“Last fall, I participated in an online class on relations between the U.S. and China,” Ms. Kye said. “It was an amazing learning opportunity and I really wanted to recreate that experience for this past summer. To do so, I reached out to the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association near the end of the school year knowing Walt Whitman was important in the areas of literature and history, both of which I am very interested in. I really didn’t know much about him, but ended up learning so much more than I ever expected to about everything from Walt Whitman to how historic sites operate.”
This marks Ms. Kye’s second year as the History Day Club’s president. “I really want to expand our community involvement this year beyond the History Day project,” she said.
The teenager is also president of Huntington High School’s Social Studies Honor Society chapter and vice president of its English Honor Society chapter. Ms. Kye is the chief of business operations for Huntington Robotics. She’s secretary of the school orchestra and even manages to find the time to play on the Blue Devil varsity field hockey team.
A member of every academic honor society except art, Ms. Kye is an administrative assistant with the high school’s student government, too.
The senior also participated in the RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) program this past summer after serving as a facilitator at the organization’s spring event. RYLA is an intensive leadership development experience. “I truly thing that it is such an amazing program,” Ms. Kye said.
Asked who her all-time favorite teacher has been and why, Ms. Kye took her time before responding. “This is obviously a difficult question because I have had so many amazing teachers from elementary school to the present, but Ms. [Lauren] Desiderio has definitely been my favorite,” she said. “She has had such an impact on me and cares so much about her students. I know I can always count on her for help or advice of any kind. I really look up to her and I’m so grateful to have had such a spectacular teacher. I’ve also really enjoyed having Mrs. [Lori] Kenny, Mr. [Kenneth] Donovan and Mrs. [Dianna] Cazzalino. All of their classes were incredibly insightful and I’ve learned so much from each of them.
Ms. Kye is very interested in Georgetown University, The College of William and Mary and Binghamton University, but the college application and selection process has really not begun in earnest just yet, so the teenager is still considering her options and reflecting on just where she might want to go.
“I’m interested in majoring in global studies or international affairs, which I anticipate will lead to a career somewhere in the realm of international development and/or government,” Ms. Kye said.
As her senior year gets underway, Ms. Kye seems well positioned to enjoy a spectacular experience.