Isabella McGinniss took her time deciding where she wanted to attend college. The Huntington High School senior went on campus visits, did quite a bit of reading, spoke with people she trusted and then sorted it all out. Now that the long process has wrapped up, she’s thrilled to be heading to Binghamton University next fall.
“I was really torn between Geneseo and Binghamton, but after the ‘accepted student’s day’ at Binghamton, I was sold,” Ms. McGinniss said. “It has a very nice campus and has great academics.”
Ms. McGinniss considered SUNY Geneseo, Northeastern University, University at Buffalo, University of Vermont, University of Maine and University of Massachusetts Amherst before choosing Binghamton.
The teenager hasn’t decided on an academic major just yet, but she is interested in education. “If I do continue with that, then I’d look into studying a particular subject area while having education as my minor, hopefully leading towards a master’s degree, but everything is tentative at the moment,” Ms. McGinniss said.
President of Huntington’s Italian Honor Society chapter and a member of the National, Social Studies, English and Math Honor Societies, Ms. McGinniss is an exceptional student and a very impressive young woman.
The senior has been very involved in life around the high school. Ms. McGinniss rowed with the crew team for three years and she has participated in numerous club activities and even held down a part-time job.
Considering education as a career
Huntington senior Isabella McGinniss.
The teenager is a Natural Helper. “I was chosen by my peers my junior year to participate in this program and I can honestly say it has helped lead me into considering education as a future career,” Ms. McGinniss said.
“Natural Helpers is a program with the philosophy that if peers are selected from each friend group, they can be equipped with the necessary skills in order to respond to specific situations in the lives of others,” Ms. McGuinness said. “Mr. [Robert] Gilmor is the advisor and he introduced me to a brilliant group of students. Through Natural Helpers, I have found a new home in room 216A, where I go most every day during my special attendance period. In 216A, they learn all the necessary life skills and I can definitely say that I have learned a bunch from being there. I’ve grown to love working with these kids and couldn’t be more grateful that I’ve had the privilege of working with them.”
Ms. McGinniss’ senior year academic schedule includes Advanced Placement Calculus, AP Research, AP Government and Politics, AP Microeconomics, AP Environmental Science, AP Italian, and Chamber Choir.
“My favorite class”
“I’d say my favorite class thus far has been AP Calculus with Mr. [Keith] Mattis because I love calculus and Mr. Mattis has been a phenomenal teacher that simultaneously teaches the fundamentals of calculus and makes it the most enjoyable class of my day,” Ms. McGinniss said.
The teenager is headed to Detroit with her Huntington Robotics teammates for the world championships. “I’ve been involved in the robotics program for the past three years and while it’s not an athletic team, it is considered a ‘sport for the mind,’” Ms. McGinniss said. “I went into it thinking I had to know how to build a robot. During my first season, I really found my place and that’s when I created the head of promotions position, which I hold right now. Although I don’t play a key role in the building of our robot, I’ve picked up a lot of knowledge through this team and it has had a huge impact on my high school career. This will be my third year attending the FIRST world championships with Team 5016 and I couldn’t think of a better way to finish out my senior year.”
Ms. McGinness is also the History Day Club’s historian. She has an impressive record of participation in the National History Day program, which the History Day Club coordinates. The teenager and her group of collaborators won the Clio Award as freshman for their exhibit on Nelson Mandela, then captured second place as sophomores for their project on the polio vaccine before winning first place as juniors for an exhibit on the death penalty. “National History Day made me realize how much I really love doing research and that led me to take AP Seminar and AP Research,” she said.
Enormously popular with her classmates
Enormously popular with her classmates, Ms. McGinness and her best friends are very close to one another. “Bella has been by my side for over ten years now and seeing her grow into the person she is today has been such an honor,” senior Maggie Giles said. “She has found herself within her four years at the high school and she is going to do incredible things at Binghamton. Everything she does she does with a smile. Through Natural Helpers we got to learn so much about ourselves, but it also provided us with an opportunity to meet the Life Skills kids. Bella goes every day and spends her free periods with some of the most incredible students in Huntington in the Life Skills room. Her dedication to giving back through Naturals and Habitat for Humanity and her accomplishments in National History Day and robotics are inspiring.”
While the teenager is currently undecided on a possible career choice, she is “leaning toward adolescent education” in a specific, but still undetermined subject area. “That’s one of the perks of Binghamton as it has a liberal arts school, (Harpur College of Arts and Sciences) and then if I do happen to want to change my major I can transfer into a school with a particular discipline,” Ms. McGinniss said.
Close relationships with several teachers
The senior has benefitted from close relationships with several teachers, who have inspired, guided and mentored her over the years. “Signora [Silvia] Gilbert, although she has retired, had a huge impact on me and is one of the few teachers that I became particularly close with,” Ms. McGinniss said. “She sparked my interest in the Italian language and culture and really encouraged me to run for president [of the honor society] and compete in the National Italian Exam, where I received honorable mention recognition.”
Ms. McGinniss is making every day of her final year of high school count. She is completely engrossed in her courses. “My yearlong research project for my twelfth grade English course seeks to find the most effective method in curtailing the 21st century U.S. opioid epidemic in metropolitan vs. non-metropolitan areas,” Ms. McGinniss said. “Through this course, I’ve enhanced my research, writing, editing and presentation skills and I couldn’t have done so without the help of Mr. [Seven] Kroll, who has done an exceptional job mentoring me through the research process.”
The high school is filled with Ms. McGinniss’ admirers. “I’ve had Bella by my side since sixth grade and we’ve been best friends ever since,” senior Lauren White said. “Watching her grow as a person since then, I’ve been able to see her strength and ability to never be deferred from a challenge. She takes in every aspect of high school, like her involvement in robotics and honor societies and does it to the fullest. She excels in her school work and never fails to help those who need it. She jumps on every opportunity with confidence and determination. With whatever major she chooses to pursue, I know that she’ll accomplish so much and I’m extremely proud to see that Binghamton University will have a student like her in the fall.”
Ms. McGinniss has been participating in Huntington’s Relay For Life fundraiser for the American Cancer Society since eighth grade. “I love staying up all night while making smoothies with my great friend, John Riley,” she said.
The teenager is remarkably talented across a wide range of areas. She even captured second place in the 2017 K-Factor talent show in her third year of participation when her solo singing performance impressed the judges and everyone else in the crowd that night.
“Huntington has always been a welcoming environment,” Ms. McGinniss said. “From Washington Primary School all the way to the high school, I couldn’t have asked for a better academic experience. Huntington has just the right mix of everything and I’m incredibly lucky to call it home.”