Joel Alfaro is one of the top seniors in Huntington High School’s Class of 2018 so it’s only fitting the teenager is headed to Colgate University, one of the most highly regarded colleges in the country.
“When I began the college application process I never thought I would end up committing to Colgate University,” Mr. Alfaro said. “I always thought that I would stay home and commute to college. I only began to see myself at Colgate when I saw the financial aid letter. I continued to see the generosity and commitment that Colgate holds to low-income and minority students when I visited the college. I will be part of Colgate’s Office of Undergraduate Studies Scholars Program along with 43 other students, that will help me economically and academically achieve success and my educational goals. Finally, I made the decision to commit to Colgate because I want to go to a university that is as committed to my success as I am.”
Mr. Alfaro earlier considered Stony Brook University and SUNY Old Westbury, primarily because he could commute to them. Once Colgate became a legitimate possibility he jumped at the opportunity to study at one of the best schools in the United States.
“I am interested in majoring in history and minoring in educational studies so I can become a high school social studies teacher,” Mr. Alfaro said. “Colgate offers a path to secondary education teacher certification and a Master of Arts in Teaching, so maybe I will be staying at Colgate for longer than four years.”
The teenager has been deeply involved in high school life. Mr. Alfaro has participated in the student government, Asian cultural club, National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, Math Honor Society and Social Studies Honor Society.
“One of my favorite teachers in the high school has been Mr. [Jason] Gould, because he was the one that made me realize I wanted to enter a career in education,” Mr. Alfaro said. “I have seen his passion and enjoyment in teaching for the past three years and I hope I feel the same way when I begin my teaching career. Some other favorite teachers are Mrs. [Kelly] Krycinski, Ms. [Anna] Fabela, Mrs. [Amelia] Saggese and Mrs. [Lorena] Hickey.”
Mr. Alfaro’s senior year academic schedule includes Advanced Placement US Government & Politics, AP Microeconomics, AP Macroeconomics, AP Spanish, Chamber Choir, Bible Literature, Humanities, Advanced Algebra and Animal Behavior.
“I feel that my overall experience in the Huntington School District has been great,” Mr. Alfaro said. “I would not have been able achieve in academia in high school without the help of all my previous teachers, especially the ENL and special education teachers and staff, like fifth grade special education teacher Joan Verrelli.”
Highlights of the past four years include the high school student government’s stuff the bus food drive that restocks local pantries that help feed the community’s hungry. “Not only was collecting non-perishable food on Saturday mornings with friends fun, but it was great that I was giving back to the food pantry that my family had received help from in the past,” Mr. Alfaro said.
Mr. Alfaro is excited about the next phase of his life. Founded in 1819, Colgate enrolls 2,900 students. The university boasts 55 academic majors and more than 195 student organizations. The most popular career fields of recent graduates include business/management, communications/media, consulting, education, financial services, health/medicine, law/legal services, non-profit/social change, sciences, sports/recreation and technology/computing. The school sponsors 25 NCAA Division I athletic teams with a student-athlete graduation rate of 98 percent.
“What I will always remember about Huntington High School is the helpful and dedicated teachers and staff,” Mr. Alfaro said. “I would like to give a special thanks to Mrs. [Bernadette] Wash, Mrs. Catalano, Mrs. [Kelly] Krycinski, and Ms. [Alissa] German for helping me through the college application process. As a first generation to attend college in my family, I had little help from home. But Mrs. Wash, Mrs. Catalano, Mrs. K. and Ms. German each helped me through different parts of the process, even with visiting Colgate and deciding what school to attend.”