Fantazhia Ward lives life her way. The Huntington High School senior doesn’t worry about society’s expectations. She follows her own path and chases after her own interests and goals.
Ms. Ward is a confident young woman who is sure of the choices she has made. “The courses that I’m most interested in are African American Politics, Bible Literature and Psychology,” she said. “The teachers that I’m looking forward to working with are Mr. [Kenneth] Donovan and Mr. [Matthew] Liguori,”
Participating in the club and athletic programs isn’t on Ms. Ward’s agenda since she has so many responsibilities outside of school. “I’m not socially outgoing,” she said. “I really keep to myself for the most part.”
The teenager’s closest friends include Ashley Reyes, Angel Santiago, Karen Ulloa and Katelin Smith. “I haven’t gotten really close with a lot of my teachers, but one who I feel the closest to is my ninth grade English teacher, Mr. [Michael] Schwendemann,” Ms. Ward said. “He’s hilarious and is really a down to earth guy. I really loved being in his class.”
The senior’s advice to incoming ninth graders? “Honestly be yourself; don’t create a front for other people to try to fit in, cause some of those people might not even be your friends and just see you as a gimmick and also focus on your grades,” Ms. Ward said. “This might sound harsh, but when these four years are almost over and you’re in your last year, you don’t have to worry about getting your grades up to par to get a suitable GPA for college or have to worry about not graduating.”
Ms. Ward’s future plans are still coming together. “I’m not really sure about which college I want to go to, but the one that has really interested me is Stony Brook,” she said. “But I want to go to a cosmetology school first and then I want to go back to college.”
The teenager is interested in majoring in psychology and minoring in race studies once she begins attending college.
“At Huntington I’ve experienced both good and bad moments, but I can say overall I wouldn’t change a thing,” Ms. Ward said. “I’ve met so many people that I feel like we’ll be friends even with high school being over and people that even if we’re not close now, when we were, we had the best moments together and I wouldn’t change that for anything else and wish nothing but the best for them. I’ve learned so many lessons about who I am as a person and I feel like I’ve really evolved from who I was in ninth grade to who I am now in twelfth grade.”