Gretel Cassell began playing lacrosse shortly after she learned to walk and she absolutely loves the sport. The Huntington High School junior enjoys it so much that she has given a verbal commitment to Binghamton University to play on its women’s lacrosse team.
“The beginning of my junior year was probably a few of the most challenging months in my life,” Ms. Cassell said. “The recruiting process for any athlete is supposed to be enjoyable as they say, but really, I had a very difficult time. I spent hours doubting my athletic ability and I would think about this throughout school every day. This got to a point to where I couldn’t even do my work. But after I went through all of that, it finally was worth something. The coaches and the atmosphere on the Binghamton campus are truly both something else.”
Huntington junior Gretel Cassell has verbally committed to the Binghamton University women's lacrosse team.
Ms. Cassell is a great student. She works hard at it and earns top grades. “This year, I am most excited about the business course, Virtual Enterprise,” she said. “This class so far has brought me some of the best skills for the real working field. I am surrounded by hard working and creative people every day, constantly making my peers and I better. I am vice president of marketing and it has taught me how much really goes into a business behind the scenes. Mrs. [Paige] Tyree has done an amazing job of giving us the resources that will help us in the future.”
The junior said she is also “extremely excited” to continue her long journey studying Spanish. “Ms. [Clara] Galeas has been the first Spanish teacher I have had that has repeatedly told me I’m going to get to where I need to be in her class,” Ms. Cassell said. “Señora Galeas is always very engaging with us and it really shows how much she truly cares for us.”
Surrounding herself with friends has been an important part of Ms. Cassell’s life, especially after jumping to the Blue Devil varsity lacrosse team as an eighth grader. “They really helped me when I felt like such an outsider,” she said. “The older kids who have been in the 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 classes were always and still are role models for me.”
Ms. Cassell’s counts her teammates past and present as among her friends, but her closest friends include Katie Browne, Hanna Carlson, Ella Naima, Alyson Baker, Jillian LoTurco and Sydney Wekstein.
The junior has also benefitted from a wonderful relationship with science teacher Lori Kenny. “Back in ninth grade, Mrs. Kenny was my biology teacher and she got me through that class no matter what,” Ms. Cassell said. “I would come into school an hour early every day and she was there to help me just so I could be the best version of myself in the class. She got me to where I am today.”
A member of the high school Key Club and Spanish Honor Society, Ms. Cassell is a candidate for this year’s National Honor Society induction class.
This will mark the teenager’s fourth year on the Blue Devil varsity lacrosse team. “I am super pumped to see what this season has in store because we have worked really hard these past few years,” Ms. Cassell said. “I am so lucky to be a part of an outstanding program that focuses on not only the present, but the future. Coach [Elizabeth] Vogelsang has done everything in her power to build this program from the ground up and whether the championship title comes when I'm on the team or when I’m an alum, I will just be glad to have been a part of paving the way for the younger girls.”
An exceptional young woman, Ms. Cassell has enjoyed many satisfying relationships with high school faculty members. They have enhanced her experience and helped make her a better student, too.
“Mrs. [Lori] Kenny, Mr. [Michael] Graziano and Mrs. [Dame] Forbes have been three of the best teachers that I have ever had,” Ms. Cassell said. “Without them my work ethic and my knowledge wouldn’t be nearly as good. Besides learning about biology, geometry and chemistry, all three teachers taught me more life lessons than anyone else before. I would not have done so well in those classes if it weren’t for their dedication to teaching me the material needed. I owe everything to Mrs. Kenny, Mr. Graziano and Mrs. Forbes. They made the first two years of high school the most memorable ones yet.”
Ms. Cassell’s advice to incoming freshmen? “Make sure you get really good grades early on,” she said. “It’s going to pay off in the long run, especially if you play a sport. It’s a complete myth and common misperception that your athletic standings will trump your bad grades and you will get into any college you desire. I had a coach tell me it was going to be a tight squeeze just because I had one iffy grade in eighth grade. Just remember to always keep trying and continue to ask for help.”
The teenager is interested in studying political science and possibly marketing at Binghamton University. If Ms. Cassell does end up majoring in political science she “would love” to attend law school immediately following her undergraduate studies.
“Huntington High School has brought me more opportunities and memories than I could ever forget,” Ms. Cassell said. “The staff is amazing and they do so much for us. My coaches, classmates, peers and friends have never left me leaving school with a frown on my face. I couldn’t have asked for any other school to provide me with everything Huntington has offered. When I graduate, I will remember every detail and everyone here at Huntington who has taught me what a community looks and feels like.”