Yolani Cabrera and Valerie Rogel are two of the most impressive members of Huntington High School’s Class of 2021. The exceptional duo has been named this year’s recipients of the National School Development Council Awards.
Admired by classmates and teachers alike, the pair will be sorely missed next year when each begins pursuit of a new set of goals at their respective colleges.
The National School Development Council is a confederation of school study or development councils located across the country.
Huntington Superintendent James W. Polansky presented the teenager’s with this year’s awards during the high school’s senior scholarship awards ceremony in the high school auditorium.
“The National School Development Council allows me to offer two awards recognizing students who have demonstrated exceptional academic growth and student leadership in learning,” Mr. Polansky said. “These two individuals have put their respective best feet forward in the classroom and have also immersed themselves in school life throughout their educational careers in Huntington. They are well respected by their peers and understand the importance of both family and community. They are clearly ready to take the next steps, but I know that Huntington will remain a part of them indefinitely.”
Mr. Polansky presented Ms. Cabrera and Ms. Rogel with certificates and gift cards.
“The Council embodies the philosophic and operational tenets of the school study and development council movement,” states the organization’s website. “Each of these regional, state, or county-based councils is, in turn, an association of local school systems that work together; usually in conjunction with one or more institutions of higher learning on matters of common concern.”
Ms. Cabrera’s focus in life is on helping others. She will be attending City University of New York – John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City and plans to study political science. She began kindergarten not knowing a word of English, but has worked extremely hard and compiled an impressive list of accomplishments.
The teenager completed school and community based internships and helped fellow Huntington High School students who were new to the United States become acclimated to their classes and surroundings. Ms. Cabrera helped them put past difficulties behind them and go about acquiring the English speaking, writing and reading skills that are essential to success.
Her work with the New World Club allowed Ms. Cabrera to assist immigrant students with their assignments and even with making friends in the high school.
Ms. Rogel is headed to Columbia University in Manhattan to study statistics and public health. She ran on Huntington’s cross country and winter and spring track teams, excelled academically across every subject area, completed internships at Stony Brook University and Cold Spring Harbor Lab, captured awards in the National History Day contest and sparkled in the high school’s science research program.
A down to earth teenager with a big heart, wonderful sense of humor and a strong work ethic, Ms. Rogel thrived at Huntington High School, earning the respect and affection of everyone. As the captain of the cross country and track teams she led by example. She was never afraid of a classroom challenge and is well equipped for the rigors she will encounter at Columbia University.