Erik Flores is an impressive young man who has already won academic and co-curricular awards and been honored by the Town of Huntington. The Huntington High School junior is unstoppable when he puts his mind toward accomplishing a goal.
The teenager immigrated to the United States from El Salvador. He is very interested in learning new languages and cultures, drawing and painting, reading and the medical field.
Mr. Flores has been looking forward to this year’s academic schedule, especially courses in Advanced Placement Chemistry and Italian. “In addition, I am excited to take Latin IV Honors because the course is focused on Latin literature and we get to read the Anead written by Vergil,” he said. “However, courses like AP US History, AP English Language & Composition, Pre-Calculus and Advanced Drawing & Painting can also be found in my schedule.”
The teenager is excited to once again be working with Latin teacher Kristin Fortunato. He has studied with her for three years and the two developed a great rapport.
Mr. Flores plans to get involved in United Amigos and the New World Club as well as a long list of academic honor societies that he has been inducted into over the years. “I’ve always wanted to be part of Key Club since freshman year, but I have other club activities on Thursday, so I can’t make it to their meetings,” he said. “However, I am involved in New World Club, where I hope to create a safe environment by mentoring ENL students. I’ve got to say that this is something that gives me hope.”
The teenager and classmate Hannah Roberts have developed a close friendship. “Although we met in freshman year, we have held a strong friendship while also working together on our National History Day project last year and this year,” Mr. Flores said.
The junior has worked well with high school faculty members as well as his classmates. “There have been many teachers in the school who have stood out and have helped me over the years,” Mr. Flores said. “One of them is Kristin Singer. She was my teacher in freshman year in my Drawing and Painting class. Despite not taking an art class the following year, she always encouraged me to do art projects. Eileen Gonzalez is another teacher that has helped me tremendously. She was my ENL teacher at J. Taylor Finley Middle School when I was in seventh grade. She was the first teacher I ever had in the U.S. Although she is no longer my ENL teacher, I see her as more than just a teacher. She has encouraged me to take on new challenges and help others. I am grateful for that.”
The teenager has also hit it off with veteran Spanish teacher Mercedes Pena. “She has been an amazing teacher as well,” Mr. Flores said. “I had her in AP Spanish last year and she was definitely someone who taught me that I can do more than what I think I can. I was always helping her with ENL kids wherever I could and she was grateful for that. I was grateful to help others.”
The senior’s advice to incoming ninth graders? “Don’t overthink it,” Mr. Flores said. “Do not stress too much about your grades. Have some time to yourself. Play a sport; get involved in a club; do the things you enjoy.”
Looking ahead, Mr. Flores is interested in the College of Mount Saint Vincent, LIU Post, Hofstra University and SUNY College at Old Westbury.
“I am interested in pursuing a career in the medical field, but I am also considering a career in linguistics, studying languages,” Mr. Flores said. “However, it may all change. I am also interested in art.”
Mr. Flores has a habit of making every day count. He is enjoying his time at Huntington High School and using it to better position himself for future success.
“Huntington is a welcoming town, where teachers like Eileen Gonzalez, Senora [Mercedes] Pena and Kristin Singer welcome their students with great enthusiasm and lend their help in order to encourage them to do their best,” Mr. Flores said. “I have to say that one of the things that I love about Huntington High School is its diversity in culture and history.”