Hispanic Celebration Honors HHS Trio
Three Huntington High School students were among a group of exceptional teenagers honored at the 18th annual Hispanic heritage celebration at Town Hall. Sponsored by the town's Hispanic Task Force, the evening included several performances and remarks by local and state elected officials.
Huntington High School juniors James Sosa, Ashley Melgar and Ashley Lopez were each presented with a Student Achievement Award. The Huntington chamber choir under the direction of Veronica Mainville sang the national anthem and later performed "Cielito Lindo."
New York State Assemblyman Francisco P. Moya was the celebration's keynote speaker. Members of the Huntington Town Board were also in attendance as were several local principals, including Huntington Principal Carmela Leonardi.
"The evening served to bring together people from across the township to celebrate the diversity that makes Huntington a special place," said Huntington Superintendent James W. Polansky, who attended the celebration. "The school district community continues to take pride in the accomplishments of Ashley, Ashley and James. Their academic and extracurricular efforts have been beyond praiseworthy. They have the brightest of futures ahead of them."
The Huntington trio was joined in the spotlight by a small group of fellow outstanding students from area high schools. The event was held in the Town Board meeting room.
The three honorees from Huntington High School sport academic averages in the 90s. Mr. Sosa is currently enrolled in a several Advanced Placement and honors course. His teachers have noted "his dedication, respectful manner and helpful attitude toward classmates," according to a profile included in the evening's program. Mr. Sosa's parents came to the United States from El Salvador. He's proud of his Hispanic heritage and hopes to study science in college.
Ms. Melgar is also taking a set of challenging classes this year. She's known for her exquisite time-management skills and ability to smoothly handle her academic, extracurricular and community service activities. The teenager sings in her church choir, plays violin in the orchestra and has volunteered at Huntington Hospital. She has participated in the YMCA's ballet program and loves both classical and modern ballet.
Teachers say Ms. Melgar is a "wonderful role model." She has helped teach small children how to swim and worked as a lifeguard. The teenager's parents were born in El Salvador and she, too, is proud of her Hispanic heritage.
A member of Huntington High School's Key club, Ms. Lopez has been involved in numerous community service activities. She is pursuing advanced course studies, including classes in English, Spanish and art. The teenager has won an award for perfect attendance. Ms. Lopez is planning to study medicine in college. Her parents were born in Guatemala and she takes great pride in her Hispanic heritage.
Following the close of the formal awards ceremony, the celebration continued with refreshments in a nearby room.