Molly Kessler and Omari Stephen are two of the most dynamic members of Huntington High School’s Class of 2020. The duo has been named this year’s recipients of the National School Development Council Awards.
The two teenagers were both recognized as Distinguished Seniors after compiling academic grade averages of at least a 90 during every semester of high school. They are admired by classmates and both will be sorely missed next year when each begins pursuit of a new set of goals at their respective colleges.
The National School Development Council is a confederation of school study or development councils located across the country.
Huntington Superintendent James W. Polansky presented Ms. Kessler and Mr. Stephen with this year’s awards during the high school’s virtual senior academic awards ceremony.
“The National School Development Council allows me to offer two awards recognizing students who have demonstrated exceptional academic growth and student leadership in learning,” Mr. Polansky said. “These two individuals have put their respective best feet forward in the classroom and have also immersed themselves in school life throughout their educational careers in Huntington. They are well respected by their peers and understand the importance of both family and community. They are clearly ready to take the next steps, but I know that Huntington will remain a part of them indefinitely.”
“The Council embodies the philosophic and operational tenets of the school study and development council movement,” states the organization’s website. “Each of these regional, state, or county-based councils is, in turn, an association of local school systems that work together; usually in conjunction with one or more institutions of higher learning on matters of common concern.”
Ms. Kessler is headed to Clark University in Worchester, Massachusetts to pursue a degree in human development, community studies and international development. She feels the key to her success has been stepping outside of her comfort zone and trying new things. A member of Huntington High School’s National Honor Society chapter, she was also inducted into the Art Honor Society, English Honor Society, Math Honor Society, Social Studies Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society and Tri-M Music Honor Society.
The teenager has spent the past four years exploring her interests, excelling academically, volunteering and participating in a long list of activities. President of the high school’s Key Club chapter and the Blue Devil marching band’s co-flute section leader, Ms. Kessler was also historian of the Spanish Honor Society and an administrative assistant with the National Honor Society.
Ms. Kessler was a Natural Helper, assisting classmates as they work through personal issues. She performed with the high school’s wind ensemble and interned with the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition, participating in the organization’s community outreach initiatives by spreading awareness of cancer’s lesser known causes. She has enjoyed being a part of a diverse environment alongside those of different beliefs and backgrounds
A member of Huntington’s National Honor Society chapter, Mr. Stephen plans to study sports management at Coastal Carolina University. He attributes his success to remaining diligent and determined and always doing his best.
A three year Blue Devil varsity basketball player, Mr. Stephen also ran on Huntington’s spring track team. He said that he has especially enjoyed getting to know his “wonderful teachers” and “forming special connections with friends.”
Mr. Stephen plans to attend CUNY-Queensborough Community College and play basketball. His goal is to get recruited by an NCAA school and earn a basketball scholarship.