Kiara Gelbman is fearless. The Huntington High School senior loves a good adventure and she is going to get it at the University of Colorado Boulder. One of the top members of the Class of 2020, the teenager plans to study journalism and sports media.
Ms. Gelbman is a personable young woman with a sharp mind. She’s articulate and very hardworking with an impressive streak of creativity.
Huntington senior Kiara Gelbman plans to attend the University of Colorado Boulder in the fall.
“I chose the University of Colorado Boulder because of their journalism program at CMCI (College and Media, Communication and Information) as well as their sports media minor. Within this program I have freedom to explore within the realm of media studies while focusing in on journalism. I visited Kerrie Joyce, a Huntington alum and freshman at CU Boulder and absolutely loved the community and vibes on campus. Plus I can’t complain about living close to the mountains. Being in Boulder gives me the opportunity to intern with local newspapers or magazines, which focus on documentation of the snowboard industry.”
The Huntington senior said she aspires to be a sports or travel journalist, “allowing me to document the world around me while doing what I love.”
Ms. Gelbman is the co-editor in chief of The Dispatch, Huntington High School’s student newspaper. It is a position that she has thrived in as she helped bring the publication to new heights and take it into the digital age.
“Huntington has prepared me for college through the rigor of the courses I took as well as the way my teachers have taught me to think,” Ms. Gelbman said. “I have learned to challenge concepts and ask the question ‘why’ as opposed to accepting answers at face-value. I feel like I have learned all that I can at Huntington and am definitely ready for a new challenge.”
The teenager said many of her favorite courses have been electives. “Honestly, I didn’t think very much about which electives I was taking and used it as a chance to explore my interests,” Ms. Gelbman said. “One of my favorite electives was Marine Ecology with Ms. [Nancy] Goddard. In this course, I furthered my knowledge of parts of the world hidden to the average eye, that which is underwater. Having just gotten my PADI scuba dive certification, I was super excited to learn about the ocean. It was from this course that I realized my love for marine life and my interest in underwater photography/videography, which is another form of media I will be studying in college.”
Last summer, Ms. Gelbman became quite involved in videography and she began using Adobe Premiere Pro software to make edits. “I was a little lost due to the complexity of this program and decided to take Video I, during which I learned all about Premiere and its functions,” she said. “Taking electives has allowed me to focus in on my areas of interest based on my passions.”
Ms. Gelbman’s favorite activity has been her involvement with The Dispatch, the high school’s student newspaper. “During my sophomore year, my family and I moved across the country to Colorado to experience living in the mountains and a different lifestyle than in New York,” she said. “During my trip, I wrote a student-abroad style column for The Dispatch, during which I found my love of travel journalism through writing about different parts of the country. During my junior year, I took over as editor of the paper. This was really beneficial for me as I saw the complexities of running a news organization. Having identified the shift towards digital media, my co-editor, Lucas Kelly and I worked to fundraise a website, www.hhsdispatch.com, which we have up and running. As much as I loved writing for the paper, I’ve also loved helping the staff of writers we have and watching them grow over time.”
Ms. Gelbman’s advice to incoming freshmen? “Take your time at Huntington to explore and discover the things you enjoy,” she said. “Definitely take chances because you’ll never know what opportunities or interests you will find in doing so. Follow what you’re passionate about and let that push you in the direction of your future. Don’t worry too much about doing what will ‘look good for college.’ As long as you work hard, everything will fall into place. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your teachers and advocate for your needs; they want what is best for you and to see you grow.”
The teenager is very well liked by her classmates and the high school’s faculty. Ms. Gelbman is a trusted and valued friend and she is respected by everyone across every grade level.
“Throughout my time at Huntington, I have learned a lot from my teachers, outside of course material,” Ms. Gelbman said. “Every other day during one of my high school years, I didn’t have lunch with any of my friends so I would go to Ms. [Nancy] Goddard’s room because she had an off period. We would talk about things we both enjoyed like travel and nature. I’ll never forget the time I brought in a rock from the Badlands in Colorado and she cut it in half, allowing me to see the inside of the rock. Between good times and bad Ms. Goddard was always there with a listening ear.”
The senior has also developed a wonderful relationship with guidance counselor Steve Lashin. “He has helped me greatly throughout my time at Huntington,” Ms. Gelbman said. “Beyond academics, he was always there whether I was having a bad day and needed a quiet place to take a break or just to talk about my stressors. Finding people to confide in has greatly helped me at Huntington.”
While Ms. Gelbman has enjoyed a wonderful time at Huntington High School, she is ready and excited to begin life as a college freshman.
“Having been to three different high schools, Huntington is definitely a special place,” Ms. Gelbman said. “To many Huntington teachers and administrators, this isn’t just a job. They care about their students. I’ve definitely seen this as they work to help us through our struggles even when we aren’t in the building with them during the school closure because of COVID-19. I’ll miss the teachers who have impacted my life and the good vibes within the halls of Huntington. I’ll always remember the funny jokes that got me through tough times and the smiling faces of the school. I definitely won’t forget Mr. [Paul] Caleca waving good morning to us on the way into school every morning. Honestly I don’t know how he hasn’t frozen yet.”