Marissa Cribar is going home for college. The Huntington High School senior plans to attend Colorado State University in Fort Collins, the town where she was born and resided in until she was five years old.
“I moved out here (Huntington) with my mother, but my father still lives out there,” Ms. Cribar said. “Colorado is my home and while I love New York and all of my friends and family here, I’ve always known I would go back. It just so happened that my intended career path took me to CSU.”
Besides the emotional pull of family considerations, teenager has academic reasons for attending CSU. “It is one of the better known animal science and agricultural schools out the west and have one of the top rated vet schools in the country,” she said. “I plan on studying animal science and sustainable agriculture during my undergrad years and then going to vet school for large animals. Hopefully, I will one day be working with large farm animals and running a small farm of my own.”
The Huntington senior feels very good about her college choice. “CSU just feels like a perfect fit for me,” Ms. Cribar said. “They value many of the things I do such as sustainability, wellness and nature. Being in a place where I can drive 20 minutes and be in the wilderness to go hiking or whatnot is an amazing experience.”
A member of Huntington’s National Honor Society and Science Honor Society chapters, Ms. Cribar also participates in the Environmental Club and she’s on the Suffolk Youth Climate Coalition’s planning committee. Her favorite activity is Habitat for Humanity.
Ms. Cribar is an official with the Huntington Sunrise Movement chapter, an organization dedicated to putting pressure on elected officials to push for the Green New Deal. “I also volunteer with Feral to Family cat rescue and work at the corresponding Cat Cafe Cattpurrchinos, which is owned by the rescue,” she said.
The teenager considers Bianca Lella, Michael Reed, Natalie Furman and Aidan Bonn to be her closest friends. “Not to say I don’t have other friends who I think of as extremely important and close in my life, which makes me feel bad I can’t include them in this list, but if I did that it would never end,” Ms. Cribar said. “I really love the people I go to school with and it would not be the same without them, even the ones I don’t really speak to outside of school. That being said, the guys I mentioned really are just there with me through everything, in and out of school, and life would be extremely boring without them.”
Does Ms. Cribar have an all-time favorite Huntington teacher? “I cannot decide,” she said. “I have been asked this question before and I have never been able to answer because I have had so many teachers here in the two short years I have been at this high school that have left such profound impacts on me or were just absolutely wonderful to have. They all were amazing in their own ways. Mrs. [Deborah] Beck for one. She is one of the most wonderful people and teachers I have ever had. I never felt so prepared for a test as I did when I took the AP Biology exam. Mrs. [Victoria Lombardi] Geier is another. She made AP English Language and Composition, an arguably non-riveting class the most fun and exciting English class I have ever had. I never looked forward to English class as much as I did with her.”
Ms. Cribar said Nicholas Wagner is her “all-time favorite” math teacher. “He made math make sense to someone who would rather have to study quantum mechanics than do simple algebra while also making it super fun,” she said. “Mrs. [Nicole] Cooper is another one of my all-time favs. She is just the embodiment of who I want to be when I am older; outdoorsy and educated. She teaches the class that I take most to heart, AP Environmental Science, because it is what I want to focus my life on. I want a world where we live in tandem with nature and respect it, not just take it as something we have to exploit.”
The senior is also quite fond of science teacher Anna Fabela. “I am never as on top of my game as I am with her,” Ms. Cribar said. “She fully believes that each of her students can excel and she does not give you the option to do otherwise and for that I am truly thankful. And even though they don’t teach a core class, I cannot not mention Ms. [Maria] Canino and Ms. [Elizabeth] Vogelsang. They make physical education, previously my most hated class, my favorite and I am going to miss them ridiculously. Last, but most definitely not least, I have to mention Mr. [Robert] Gilmor because he is the heart of this school. He is the kindest, most full-hearted man I have ever met and I am always at a loss for words for how much he means to me and this school. I don’t know what we would do without him.”
Advice for incoming freshmen
Asked to give advice to an incoming Huntington High School freshman and Ms. Cribar admits it isn’t easy. “This is a bit tricky for me as I was never myself a Huntington freshman, however some of the most important advice I have used throughout my high school career would be to a) forget about focusing on what those around you think,” the teenager said. “Do what makes you happy and focus on your school work. If you are yourself, those who would make up your most influential and important friends will find you and those who you would be better off without will leave you alone. And b) do your homework as soon as you get home (if you can). It is the easiest and most effective way I have reduced stress throughout my time as a student and stress is the bane of a high schooler’s existence. Don’t give it any more of a hold on you than necessary.”
Ms. Cribar has traveled to several states as a result of moving or visiting family. “My main three locations are here, Colorado and Michigan,” she said. “As for outside of the country, I have been graced to visit Ireland, Italy, England, Canada and this February I will be visiting Belize. Traveling is very important to me, as I personally feel that the best way to become a healthy and well-rounded member of society and the global society is to immerse and interact with as many cultures as possible. When you can sympathize and understand so many points of view, it puts many things into perspective and allows you to go through life in a much less confrontational way. You are able to experience the world through many lenses and it makes for a happier and fuller experience.”
“I feel so lucky”
With Ms. Cribar’s college plans finalized, she is enjoying these last few months of high school before a big change in her life sets in.
“I feel so lucky to have been in Huntington,” Ms. Cribar said. “I have met exceptional people; I have grown into a person I am really proud to be and it makes me excited to go out into the world and continue my journey. As with everything, there were low points where I wasn’t sure I was going to make it through, but the support of the staff and my classmates made all the difference and I have no doubt in my mind that I owe much of what brings me happiness in this world to them. I am so happy to be where I am in life and Huntington really makes that easy.”