Gaia D’Anna is smart, well-informed and articulate and she has an awfully nice way about her. The Huntington High School senior aspires to be a teacher. It’s a career that appears to suit her perfectly. She has the kind of personal magnetism that every great educator possesses.
Ms. D’Anna intends to study at City University of New York’s Hunter College in Manhattan. After weighing the pros and cons of some great schools, the teenager decided that Hunter has everything she is seeking in a college and is a great place to put her future plans in motion.
Huntington High School senior Gaia D'Anna.
“Hunter is the perfect choice for me mainly because of the location,” Ms. D’Anna said. “The city is the prefect distance away from home for me to be able to be on my own, but still come home on a regular basis. I love the beautiful Upper East Side campus and all of the amazing opportunities there are in the city. Hunter also has so many other great activities so I can continue with many of the extracurriculars that I was involved in during high school. Hunter was also originally an all-girls education school and is known for their education program.”
The Huntington senior considered Fordham University, Hofstra University, Stony Brook University, Marist College and Trinity College before finalizing her plans to attend Hunter College.
“I plan on majoring in social studies education and minoring in bilingual education since I am a graduate of the dual language program,” Ms. D’Anna said. “As a career, I will be able to teach history, specifically to ENL students.”
President of the high school’s orchestra club, vice president of the History Day club and treasurer of the Key Club, Ms. D’Anna personifies the term “involved student.” She’s competed on the Blue Devil varsity swimming team for the past three years and is a member of the National Honor Society as well as the Spanish, Social Studies and Tri-M Music honor societies. She has been performing with the chamber orchestra for many years.
“So many unforgettable experiences”
“I have had so many unforgettable experiences here at Huntington,” Ms. D’Anna said. “I will always remember all of the fun times I have had on the swim team working with Mr. [Chris] Helmke and Meg McConnell. I have participated in Relay For Life for the past four years and I think this event really shows how amazing Huntington truly is. I also love all of the homecoming festivities that we have. Huntington has so much to offer. I have so many amazing memories from National History Day and chamber orchestra. Most of all, I will miss putting together the K-Factor with the rest of the Key Club. Putting on the show has been so much fun and I am so grateful that I was given the opportunity to get to fundraise for the daughter of Ms. [Aimee] Antorino, who I had the pleasure of having as a teacher.”
Ms. D’Anna’s senior year schedule includes a credit-bearing internship with teacher Mercedes Pena as well as Advanced Placement Music Theory, AP Calculus AB, AP Government and Politics, AP Environmental Science, AP Research and Orchestra.
Difficult to choose a few favorites
The teenager is extremely popular with Huntington’s faculty members. She has worked closely with many of them and learned something from them all. Picking one or two favorites isn’t an easy assignment.
“It’s so hard to pick just a handful, because I have truly had so many amazing teachers all four years, but if I had to choose just a few that had a large impact on me, I would have to say Sra. [Mercedes] Peña. Mrs. [Kelly] Krycinski, Mrs. [Gina] Colica, Mrs. [Nicole] Castaldo and Mr. [Kenneth] Donovan,” Ms. D’Anna said. “I had Sra. Peña last year for AP Spanish and this year I am working as her intern in an HLA class. She has been an amazing role model and is such a generous person. She is always inspiring me to do good. I have also been really close with Mrs. Krycinski and Mrs. Colica who are the advisors of the Key Club. Key Club has been like a second family for me and Mrs. Krycinski and Mrs. Colica are a big part of that family. Whether it be something academic or personal, the two of them are always there for all of the officers and I.”
Makes time to pursue passions
Despite a long list of commitments, the senior always manages to make time to pursue her passions. Ms. D’Anna volunteered with a local political campaign last summer. “In the aftermath of the campaign, I helped form a local student group called SPICE (Students Promoting Inclusive Civic Engagement), which aims to get students involved in politics,” she said
When teachers state that Ms. D’Anna will be missed around the high school next fall it’s not just a string of words. The teenager has really made her presence felt over the past four years, earning many fans along the way.
“When I first started looking at colleges, I had a really hard time because it was really hard for me to find a place that I loved as much as I love Huntington,” Ms. D’Anna said. “I would not change my high school experience for anything in the world. I have made so many friendships that I know will last a lifetime. Huntington has so many amazing opportunities for its students and I am so glad that I had the chance to take advantage of so many of these programs, including dual language, all of the amazing music programs, National History Day and AP Capstone. Sadly, all good things must come to an end, but I will never forget my high school experience. Huntington will always be my home and I will always be a Blue Devil at heart.”