Andrew McKenzie is completely comfortable setting high goals and working very hard to reach them. The Huntington High School junior handles pressure deftly, whether it’s in a classroom taking a string of challenging courses or running with the Blue Devils in a race against Suffolk’s best.
Jefferson Elementary School. That’s where Mr. McKenzie’s trek through Huntington UFSD began. Since that first day of kindergarten he has accomplished so much academically and athletically.
On any given day, Mr. McKenzie can be found putting his time to good use. He’s always doing something to improve himself in some way; to build himself up. He seeks out new experiences and learns from them. Last summer was a perfect example of this.
“I went on a road trip out to the northwest; Montana and the surrounding states to camp and visit national parks,” Mr. McKenzie said. “In August, I went to running camp, which I’ve been going to for many years and right before school, I spent my Labor Day on a small annual vacation to camp at Herkimer Diamond Mines upstate.”
The teenager is a three-season athlete, running on the Blue Devil cross country, indoor and outdoor track teams. Mr. McKenzie writes for The Dispatch student newspaper, participates in the high school’s Science Olympiad program and is a member of the Latin Club and several academic honor societies.
The junior’s closest friends are Valerie Rogel, Ella Siepel, Aidan Heller and Bryan Wong. His favorite teacher is Kristin Fortunato. “She’s the Latin teacher and really knows everyone in her classes,” Mr. McKenzie said. “It’s always a great time in Latin. She knows how to teach well and get us to where we need to be, despite the difficulties of the subject. I can’t say I would love the language as much if I didn’t have such a great teacher.”
Mr. McKenzie is not ready just yet to make any firm decisions about where he wants to go and what he wants to do after he graduates in June 2021. “I have yet to take an in-depth look at colleges, but as of right now, Cornell University and Vanderbilt University are ones I will likely be looking into,” he said. “But as of right now, I’m still figuring out what I want to in the future.”
Over the past few years, the teenager has learned a thing or two about the ins and outs of high school life. “The best advice for a freshman would be to not overburden yourself,” Mr. McKenzie said. “Make sure you have a lunch or study hall to decompress and get some homework done. So many people, myself included, took too much on freshman and sophomore year. You’ve got four years of high school; don’t try and cram everything into the first two.”
When it does come time to move on to the next step in his life, Mr. McKenzie will do so with nothing but affection for Huntington. He has thrived here and is very highly regarded around the high school.
“I think the community is truly great,” Mr. McKenzie said. “Great people and great staff. I have yet to have a bad teacher or a staff member I didn’t like. In addition to the school staff, the athletics are fantastic. Great coaches and AD have really made this school community feel like one of progress. Overall, I have enjoyed my time in the Huntington district and I look forward to this year and my senior year. Of course, there are things that could be improved, but I’m certainly not complaining and I wouldn’t trade my experience here for anywhere else.”