Melisa Torres is a thoughtful young woman who is going places. The Huntington High School senior has excelled academically and in the arts and she’s tried to make the world a better place by doing lots of little things behind the scenes.
The Huntington PTA Council presented Ms. Torres with the organization’s Heart of Huntington Award in recognition of her outstanding record of community involvement.
“I feel incredibly honored to be presented this award,” Ms. Torres said. “I believe that this community’s diversity has pushed me to constantly engage with the world around me and become the person I am. As a resident of Huntington, I hope to continue volunteering and being involved. The title ‘Heart of Huntington’ is something I will proudly bear.”
The Heart of Huntington Award is given to a graduating senior who has demonstrated the core values of the PTA, including school spirit, volunteerism, community involvement, commitment to academics and a willingness to act as a role model for their peers.
Ms. Torres is headed to Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York in the fall. “I plan to major in Latin American and Latino/a Studies and minor in creative writing,” she said. “I hope to possibly work in the book publishing industry and/or work to help the growing Latino community with assimilating in the United States.”
The Heart of Huntington Award carries with it a $500 stipend to help defer college expenses and a handsome certificate. Ms. Torres was announced as this year’s recipient by PTA Council President Michele Kustera at the organization’s luncheon at the Huntington Country Club this past Wednesday.
Ms. Torres said the door to success was “unlocked” when she discovered how to “draw a distinction between the important and the unimportant” and to focus on what she enjoys, as well as seeking out help when she has needed it.
Inducted into four academic honor societies, Ms. Torres has compiled an enviable high school record. She’s written articles for The Dispatch student newspaper as well as for an art magazine, displayed artwork at the Heckscher Museum, performed with the Blue Devil marching band and served as a volunteer tutor.
“For the summer, I plan to get a job to save up for college expenses, visit Mexico for the first time and volunteer at local food and animal shelters,” Ms. Torres said.