DOCUMENTING DIVERSITY 2013
Blair Garett - Valley Stream South High School
Blair has a wide variety of interests. These include soccer, swimming, basketball, environmental awareness and writing poetry. Her greatest aspiration is to be a filmmaker. She wants to “retell stories from literary classics with modern casts”, particularly targeting underserved communities.
Alan-Michael Christian James Duval - Valley Stream Central High School
Alan-Michael enjoys photography and tennis, but his most involving activity is volunteering in his mother’s law office. His work there has brought him into contact with juveniles, between the ages of 7 and 15, who have been caught up in the criminal justice system. He uses this experience as motivation to make a career for himself and to choose activities that make a difference.
Jennifer Walsh - Townsend Harris High School
Jennifer writes, “I am who I am today not because of my ethnicity or spirituality, but because of Quidditch.” Those familiar with Harry Potter folklore will know the game as one played on flying broomsticks. Jennifer plays an adaptation of the game and has attended the world cup for the unique sport. She also has more grounded interests like the saxophone and Girl Scouts.
Kevin Hernandez - Amadon - Hempstead High School
Kevin is an excellent artist, having created large murals for his High School and is also an active participant in the local soccer league. These events are part of a compelling journey from the edge of juvenile delinquency, inspired by his close and demanding relationship with his father.
John Latini Jr. - Massapequa High School
John is a member of the varsity swim team, the percussion ensemble, National Junior Honor Society, and a volunteer puppy raiser of assistance dogs for disabled persons. He credits his discipline and moral values to his experience as a Boy Scout, which he has participated in since he was six years old.
Zoey Peck - Roslyn High School
Zoey participates in the Film Society and Art Club at her high school, but she is most proud that all of her friends want to come to her house for Shabbat dinner with her family. Besides the great food, there is great conversation that goes on for hours. From this she learned “that we you open your home you open your heart.”
Sanying Gui - Flushing International High School
Sanying is an international student from China, who has only been in the United States for 18 months. When most of his peers go home at the end of the school day, Sanying goes off to another school- the academic center required by his student visa. While he struggles being away from his family, he feels privileged to partake in the freedom he finds in the United States.
Caitlin Rubin - Friends Academy
Caitlin’s community of Long Beach suffered greatly under Hurricane Sandy. After she helped clean up and salvage her own home, she reached out to help others participating in groups such as the Sandy Task Force, which among other things conducted book drives to restore the public libraries of the affected communities. She does all of this when she is not studying for the National Latin Exam, or National Etymology exam, for which she has received multiple medals.
Kelvin Ramos - Flushing International High School
Kelvin and his family immigrated to New York from El Salvador. He is grateful to be in the United States, but had to leave behind many of his relatives including his 90-year-old grandmother. Experiences, such as working as an intern at the Queens Community College Art Gallery, have opened his eyes to a new world of creative and career possibilities.
Jacqueline Xerri - Oceanside High School
Jacqueline’s family’s roots are from the tiny Island of Malta. This has always made her aware of her heritage and the value of family. Hurricane Sandy made this point even stronger when Jacqueline’s family had to abandon their home and stay with an 88-year-old distant relative. Jacqueline remarks that not having access to regular Internet, cell phone service and television helped bring her family closer together, as they actually learned to interact with each other and not their devices.