Erica Vazquez is an impressive young woman. She’s intelligent, articulate and a leader and the teenager has a heart of gold.
The Kiwanis Club of Huntington is so impressed by Ms. Vazquez that the organization presented her with its coveted Quentin Sammis Memorial Award in recognition of her work with the Key Club and her potential make the world a better place.
The Quentin Sammis Memorial Award is given to individuals who show “great passion” for service to their school and community, according to Kiwanis Club officials Matthew Minero and John Reilly, who presented a scholarship to Ms. Vazquez during Huntington High School’s senior academic awards ceremony.
Ms. Vazquez was presented with a special certificate by Messrs. Minero and Reilly along with a check for $1,000, which represents the stipend that comes with the Quentin Sammis Memorial Award.
“It was such an honor to win the award,” Ms. Vazquez said. “I’ve worked with the Key Club and Kiwanis throughout all four years of high school and tried to be involved in every single event. It all started with pitching the Make-A-Wish holiday card sale and little did I know that would be the start of my Key Club career. I’ve worked day and night for this club to purely help others as it gave me this feeling of warmth, happiness and satisfaction. It was the root of all my favorite high school memories such as Target tour and K-Factor. It’s nice to know all the hard work definitely paid off. However, I couldn’t have received the award without my determined Key Club officers, dedicated members and wonderful advisors. I’m so sad to leave, but I can’t wait to continue helping others in the future.”
Ms. Vazquez is headed to Nova Southeastern University in Florida to study for a career as a physician assistant. She leaves for college in a week. This summer she took a trip to Riviera Maya, Mexico and also earned her 4th degree black belt in taekwondo.
The teenager served as president of the high school’s Key Club chapter this past year. Ms. Vazquez played key roles in all of the organization’s initiatives. She also interned with club faculty advisor and high school English teacher Kelly Krycinski and participated in Relay For Life.
Ms. Vazquez credits her all-around success to the support she has received from her parents, friends and teachers. She said they are the ones who have pushed her to strive for success and taught her how to stand-up for what she believes in.
Born May 16, 1924, Quentin Byron Sammis was a member of Huntington’s Class of 1942. He went on to serve his country as an ensign in the United States Navy, earn an electrical engineering degree at Georgia School of Technology (he began his college studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) and an MBA at Harvard Business School, serve as owner and president of Coldwell Banker Sammis real estate and Sammis, Smith & Brush insurance and lead Friends World College as its president.
Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers, dedicated to changing the world, one child and one community at a time. The local chapter believes that Ms. Vazquez has the ability and determination to achieve great things for society and change the world for the better as she moves on to college and an eventual career in health care.
The Kiwanis Club considers the sponsorship of its service leadership programs, such as the Key Club to be among the most important projects it undertakes. The Key Club seeks to develop leadership, build character and provide service to the school and community.
Mr. Sammis founded the Townwide Fund of Huntington and the Huntington Arts Council and at one time or another was integrally involved in the YMCA, Huntington Hospital, the Visiting Nurse Service and the Family Service League. The Huntington High School graduate served in the US Navy during World War II and in the U.S. Navy Reserve for two decades.
Mr. Sammis, whose family has lived in Huntington village for generations dating to the Revolutionary War, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his loved ones on August 29, 2007 after battling cancer for 13 months. He was 83.