When Niamh Condon puts her mind to something it’s usually just a matter of time before the she accomplishes what she set out to do. The Huntington High School senior is headed to Quinnipiac University where she plans to study for a career as a physician assistant. It’s a goal she’s had her eye on for a long time.
“Ever since I was a freshman in high school I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in the medical field, but I was unsure as to whether I wanted to obtain a job as a nurse, physician assistant or as a physician,” Ms. Condon said. “I ultimately choose physician assistant after shadowing a PA at Saint Francis Hospital. I instantly knew I wanted to be a PA as he had nothing but positive things to say about his job.”
Huntington High School senior Niamh Condon
The teenager considered Binghamton University, Drexel University and Hofstra University before deciding that Quinnipiac was the best place for her to pursue her dreams.
“A physician assistant works directly underneath a physician, prescribing medicine and performing examinations while having more flexibility in the schedule and the ability to transfer specialties without going back to school,” Ms. Condon said. “There is also more of a work life balance, which is definitely something I want in my career. Not to mention, I wanted a program that was direct entry, meaning if I got into the program I am guaranteed a spot in the graduate portion as long as I maintain a certain GPA. After reviewing my various options I realized that Quinnipiac would be the best option as it is ranked as the number five PA program in the nation and would allow me to have a job right of college. I also fell in love with the community feel on the campus and the beautiful nature that surrounds the university.”
A popular senior
Ms. Condon is a popular senior. Her classmates admire her and recognize her remarkable work ethic and engaging personality. Huntington’s teachers have enormous respect for her perseverance and commitment to accomplishing her goals.
“Niamh is the most hardworking and determined person I know and I am so lucky to have her as a best friend,” senior Francine Nastasi said. “Niamh is someone that everyone looks up to because of her wonderful personality. She pushes herself to achieve her goals and ends up doing extraordinary things. She is always by my side and is someone I can talk to about anything. She has accomplished so many great things at Huntington and I couldn’t be more proud. Niamh will definitely be missed, but she is going to do amazing at Quinnipiac University and I can’t wait to see everything she achieves. Quinnipiac is lucky to get a person like Niamh!”
Rather than coast through her senior year, Ms. Condon is taking a challenging slate of classes, including Advanced Placement Physics, AP Government and Politics, AP Calculus, AP Research, Spanish 5 Honors and Psychology. She’s also engaged in a credit bearing internship with high school health teacher Richard Agnello.
“I have known Niamh since we were in fourth grade together and I can attest to the fact that she has always been one of the most hardworking and dedicated people out there,” senior Nicole Arenth said. “She takes absolute pride in her work and puts her passion into everything she does. She would always tell me about her time volunteering at the hospital and while many would just take this work lightly, you could tell Niamh was truly passionate about volunteering and caring for patients. I’m so proud to be able to call her one of my best friends and know she will thrive at Quinnipiac and on her way to becoming a physician’s assistant.”
An involved high school student
Ms. Condon has been a very involved high school student, participating in clubs, sports and academic honor societies over the past four years.
At one time or another the teenager has participated in Habitat for Humanity and Key Club, student government and on various Blue Devil athletic teams. She’s volunteered with the Stuff the Bus food drive that helps feed the community’s hungry and the Safe Halloween program that provides an assortment of fun indoor activities for elementary school children on Halloween Day.
A member of five different honor societies and an officer in two of them, Ms. Condon has compiled an exceptional academic record. She was named a Distinguished Senior after earning a grade average of 90 or better during every semester of high school.
Ms. Condon has also volunteered at Huntington Hospital. She spent two hours a week as a junior volunteer and four hours a week as an Emergency Medicine Dept. ambassador. “Being given the opportunity to volunteer in the hospital, specifically the emergency room gave me first-hand experience in the hospital and the chance to see what medical staff members do on a regular basis,” she said. “It also allowed me to grow in my communication skills as I have to greet the incoming patients.”
Ms. Condon’s academic program at Quinnipiac will feature four years of study on the undergraduate level and then another 27 months of graduate level classes, which will culminate in a master’s degree and physician assistant status. “I am not certain what specific specialty I would like to enter, however I am currently learning towards emergency medicine or neurology,” she said.
Teachers have made a difference
The senior has enjoyed close relationships with many teachers over the years. “I have had a variety of teachers in Huntington that had a tremendous impact on my life,” Ms. Condon said. “One of the most influential teachers I had in my life was my first grade teacher at Jefferson, Mrs. [Kathleen] Kraus. She had the biggest heart and cared for all of her students. With her loving attitude and her funny sense of humor, she made school enjoyable for me and the rest of my classmates. I will always remember the class riddles in the morning and the Fridays when we would go outside on the playground and eat ice pops.”
Grade by grade, subject by subject, Ms. Condon always managed to find teachers who have helped her grow in some way.
“As I grew older, more teachers had an impact on my life,” Ms. Condon said. “Some of these teachers include Mr. [Michael] Graziano, Mrs. [Stacey] Byrnes and Mr. [Kenneth] Donovan. Mr. Graziano was my ninth grade geometry teacher and was the reason why I love math today. He made a class that is usually challenging more enjoyable with his sense of humor, which made me want to learn. I had the pleasure of being in Mrs. Byrnes’ AP Physics class this year. Even though it is probably the most rigorous course that I took in high school, she taught me to never give up in the class and if you dedicate a lot of your energy to something you will be guaranteed good outcomes. Prior to being in Mr. Donovan’s US History and Government class I did not particularly like social studies, but his college lecture teaching style helped me to really enjoy the class. Even though I only mentioned a few teachers, every teacher at Huntington High School has influenced my life in some way. I cannot thank each and every one of them enough for all the support they gave me and the dedication they put into teaching.”
A remarkable four year run
Ms. Condon has enjoyed a remarkable four year high school run. Vice president of the Class of 2018, she will always remember standing outside Stop and Shop collecting food items for the Stuff the Bus drive that benefits local pantries. She’ll never forget playing on the basketball, soccer, cross country and winter and spring track and field teams. “I especially enjoyed going to the playoffs my freshman and sophomore year with varsity basketball and my senior year for in soccer,” she said. “I also enjoyed meeting new people through various clubs and sports and creating bonds that will lead to lifetime friendships.”
Ask any teacher, coach or club advisor and they’ll express the opinion that Ms. Condon is one of the most responsible and reliable teenagers they have ever encountered.
“As I look on my experience at Huntington High School it has truly been amazing,” Ms. Condon said. “Engaging in five honor societies, sports and a variety of clubs allowed me to make a wider array of friends. Through these organizations I made countless memories and long lasting friendships. Like any student I had ups and downs in my high school career, but with the help of family, friends and teachers I was able to make the most out of my experience. I am very excited to start a new chapter in my life, yet I am truly going to miss the Huntington community. I would not change anything about my four years in Huntington.”