Maggie Giles is a superstar. She really is. The Huntington High School senior is a dynamic young woman with so many talents and admirable qualities that it’s impossible to list them all in a short article. The teenager is headed to SUNY Purchase and everyone who knows her believes she’s destined for stardom there, too.
Huntington High School senior Maggie Giles.
“SUNY Purchase was actually a school I applied to at the last minute and fell in love with when I visited in March,” Ms. Giles said. “I was struggling to find a major that fit all my interests, but after taking part in AP Capstone with Ms. [Dianna] Molenko and Mr. [Steven] Kroll I was able to find what I was looking for. This year I focused my research and concentration on the feminist movement and when acceptances were rolling in, I knew I needed to continue feeding this passion for social activism. My dad is a SUNY Purchase alum and after touring I applied and was committed a few weeks later. I’m more than thrilled to be a new media major this coming fall.”
Ms. Giles considered Emerson, Fordham, Syracuse, Fashion Institute of Technology, Marist and New Paltz prior to finalizing her plans to attend SUNY Purchase.
“At this point I’m looking in the field of public relations, whether that takes me into advertising or political communications,” Ms. Giles said. “Purchase provides me with a safe place to explore the endless opportunities.”
While Ms. Giles has compiled an exceptionally impressive academic record, it’s her participation in the high school’s extracurricular activities program that she will always remember.
Key Club veteran
“As a freshman, I began as a shadow officer for Huntington’s Key Club and made my way up from there,” Ms. Giles said. “The Make-A-Wish card sale, which began back in seventh grade, gave me an opportunity to join Key Club within the first few months of high school. Our advisors, Mrs. [Kelly] Krycinski and Mrs. [Gina] Colica have guided us through events such as K-Factor talent show and our annual Sears/ Target holiday shopping tour. K-Factor gave me an opportunity to give back to some of our fellow Blue Devils. The show always reminds me of the incredible work our officers can achieve.”
It was during that same freshman year that Ms. Giles signed onto the high school’s National History Day initiative with a group documentary on Walt Disney. “This was my first introduction to history portrayed through art and after three years of documentaries, I’ve served as the History Day club president during my junior and senior years under the advisement of Mrs. [Lauren] Desiderio,” the teenager said.
Relay For Life Organizer
Ms. Giles has also been integrally involved in the high school Relay For Life program. “It has been one of the most rewarding experiences, bringing the community together for a 12 hour event here at Huntington,” she said. “I began attending the event in eighth grade and by tenth grade found myself on the organizing committee. Today I serve as one of the Relay For Life chairs and I'm thrilled about this year’s event. Mr. [Joseph] Cohen has been an incredible advisor and working with him has taught me the importance of leadership and dedication.”
As vice president of Huntington High School’s orchestra, Ms. Giles can frequently be found in the music wing of the building. “Mrs. [Nicole] Castaldo has been such an amazing teacher these past four years both in class and with the chamber orchestra. Even as a senior, you will find me and my orchestra president spending our lunch periods in the music wing,” she said.
Ms. Giles’ senior year academic schedule has included Advanced Placement Government and Politics, AP Studio Art Drawing, AP Microeconomics, AP Research, AP Environmental Science, Calculus, Symphony Orchestra and a credit bearing career internship with art teacher Kristin Singer in a Studio Art class.
Incredible four years
“I’m so lucky to have such an immense support system at Huntington High School, but there are a few individuals who made these four years incredible,” Ms. Giles said. “Mrs. [Kristin] Singer has been my art teacher since freshman year and she has been my biggest supporter from the beginning. Mrs. Singer has provided me with a home away from home in room 106. I’m so grateful to be her intern this year and have her as my teacher as well. With my crazy schedule, I still look for any free time I can get to make my way back to her room.”
The teenager got involved with Natural Helpers as a freshman and the high school club’s advisor, Rob Gilmor “has been there for me ever since,” Ms. Giles said. “I can’t thank him enough for his friendship and support, as well as the opportunity to meet such incredible individuals through Naturals and Habitat for Humanity. Mrs. Colica has not only been an advisor for Key Club, but has been a role model for us all. She has gotten me through the best and worst days and I don’t know how I’m going to make it without her next year.”
As if she didn’t already have a full plate, Ms. Giles somehow found the time this year to develop a group known by the acronym SPICE (Students Promoting Inclusive Civic Engagement) with Northport teacher Darryl St. George and some of her classmates to encourage political engagement among students.
“A great sense of community”
“One of my favorite high school experiences has been playing in the pit orchestra for the musical,” Ms. Giles said. Mr. [Michael] Schwendemann and Mr. [Brian] Stellato have brought us together for such incredible performances, including The Little Mermaid, Once Upon a Mattress and Cinderella this past March. Being a cellist means that I got to work with students and teachers across the music department and having Mr. Stellato as our conductor the past two years brought me some of my favorite high school memories. The music department has been a safe place and I’m going to miss tech week with my pit family.”
A member of Huntington’s National Honor Society chapter, Ms. Giles has also been inducted into the Social Studies, English, Art and Tri-M Music honor societies. She even works a part-time job at A Rise Above Bakery in Huntington village.
“Huntington has provided me with a great sense of community and I’m hoping to find that same dynamic wherever I end up,” Ms. Giles said. “Though I’m excited for the road ahead, I’m not ready to say goodbye. These four years have gone by so quickly and I am grateful for each and every moment.”