Gemma Pellegrini came to Huntington UFSD from Italy as a fourth grader. She’s now a senior and closing out a remarkable run during which she has shined in every possible way.
The teenager is a great student. She is especially interested in her senior year Advanced Placement US Government and Politics, AP Micro and Macro Economics, AP Environmental Science, French V Honors and Multicultural Literature courses.
“I’ve been enjoying working with Mrs. [Kaitlyn] Hanft, Mr. [Michael] Schwendemann, Ms. [Nicole] Cooper, Ms. [Joann] Ferazi and Mr. [James] Graber,” Ms. Pellegrini said.
The senior said she was “looking forward” to participating in her fourth and last year of the Blue Devil marching band program as the alto saxophone section leader. “Sadly, the season got canceled, but nonetheless the program still has a special place in my heart,” Ms. Pellegrini said.
Vice president of Huntington High School’s National Honor Society chapter, Ms. Pellegrini said she is excited to be one of the organization’s leaders. The group is planning a mask drive and various other initiatives while keeping health and safety first.
As the president of the high school’s French Honor Society, Ms. Pellegrini is in the middle of planning several fundraisers, the proceeds of which will all be dedicated to helping subsidize education related expenses of schoolchildren in Paulette, Haiti.
Among Ms. Pellegrini’s closest friends are Lily O’Heir, Lauren Gooding, Carrie Kilgour, Rebecca Hoffmann, Tess Stanley, Catherine McCooey, Nate Otto and Aiden Lefebvre.
“My closest teachers for the past four years have been Madame [Deidre] Mayer, as I’ve been in her class since freshman year; Mr. [Brian] Stellato, who’s been my instructor and marching band conductor; Mrs. [Stacey] Byrnes, who taught me AP Physics last year and finally Mr. [Robert] Gilmor, who acted as a parental figure and overall has been there for me and my family,” Ms. Pellegrini said.
In addition to the high school teachers she has developed strong bonds with the faculty member “that has really left a great impact on me is my fourth grade teacher, Ms. [Patrice] Monks,” Ms. Pellegrini said. “She was my first teacher I had in the Huntington School District and since then I will never forget how much she helped and cared for me as a new student barely knowing English. She taught me resilience and fostered my love for learning. I am truly grateful for everything she’s done for me and will never forget it.”
Ms. Pellegrini’s advice to incoming ninth graders? “Enjoy it while you can since this time should be treasured and will hopefully be some of the most memorable years of your life,” she said. “Don’t stress yourself about what might be in the future because everything will eventually fall into place. I promise.”
The teenager has compiled a very strong academic record and she is currently considering a fine array of colleges as she goes about sketching out her future.
“My current top school is Cornell University and its government and international relations program,” Ms. Pellegrini said. “I am also applying to Northeastern University, University of Vermont, Middlebury College, Bowdoin College and several others. I’m interested in focusing my academics on international relations and affairs/global studies.”
The teenager is interested in career as a United Nations diplomat or “in any field that deals with international policies and agreements,” Ms. Pellegrini said.
Even with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing so many changes in her junior and senior years, the teenager has enjoyed her time in the district and at the high school.
“I’d say my experience in Huntington has been a fulfilling one,” Ms. Pellegrini said. “Moving here in fourth grade from Italy has definitely been an impactful change in my life. I’ve been introduced to so many amazing people, some including lifelong friends that will always be cherished. The Huntington staff and teachers are all brilliant individuals that strive to help students succeed. I will miss Huntington dearly next year, so I’m hoping my last few months will be memorable.”