Huntington High School senior Richard Rongo has captured Suffolk County’s Distinguished Youth Award after notching exceptional achievement in each of the four areas of personal development, volunteer service, physical fitness and park exploration.
The teenager is a member of the National Honor Society and Latin Honor Society and he plays on the Blue Devil varsity tennis team. The sergeant-at-arms of the Halesite Fire Department’s junior program, Mr. Rongo completed a summer internship at Caumsett State Park through Suffolk Legislator William Spencer’s Lead by Example program.
Huntington High School senior Richard Rongo, Jr.
The Suffolk Distinguished Service Award promotes and recognizes achievement, initiative and service in the county’s youth, ages 13-18.
Mr. Rongo’s senior year of high school is off to a great start. “One course I am really looking forward to is Virtual Enterprise, since it simulates how businesses actually work in a real life scenario and Mrs. [Paige] Furman is a great teacher who I have had in the past,” he said. “I am super excited to work with her again. Ms. [Suzie] Biagi is also a standout teacher who I have heard a lot about and I am in her Accounting I class this year.”
The teenager said he has also enjoyed working closely with teacher Kristin Fortunato. “I met her as a sixth grader and took four years of Latin with her,” Mr. Rongo said. “She introduced me to ancient cultures and created an interest in travel.”
Mr. Rongo intends to continue his community service work with Helping Hand Rescue Mission and Tri-CYA. He has also volunteered with the Kiwanis Club and General Needs.
The teenager visited many Suffolk parks to meet the requirements of the exploration category of the county’s Distinguished Youth Award. The personal development category led Mr. Rongo to engage in new experiences, including flying in a small plane and shark diving at the Long Island Aquarium as well as completing the New York State safe boating course and the driver education program.
Mr. Rongo has worked hard to improve his tennis skills, including during the off-season. He also enjoys skateboarding. The teenager has also held down a part-time job.
“Due to COVID-19 most of my college trips were put on hold, but I plan to look at many schools as soon as possible, including Binghamton University, Fairfield University and Scranton University,” Mr. Rongo said. “I focused my academics to point me toward something in the world of business whether it be marketing, accounting or some other major that can help me secure a career in business.”