Huntington High School seniors Yanira Rivera

Yanira Rivera Exudes Determination & Enthusiasm

Huntington High School seniors Yanira Rivera

December 2, 2021

Yanira Rivera is the epitome of an involved student. The Huntington High School senior loves all of her classes, clubs and sports and she enjoys all the teachers and friends that surround her. She plans to stay as involved as she possibly can in her final months prior to graduation.

The teenager plans to pursue a college academic major in criminal justice with a minor in psychology. “My passion to help others with my career is significant to me,” Ms. Rivera said. “No matter where I go to start my career, I want to thrive and succeed so I can make myself and my family proud.”

The senior recently completed her second year of running on the Blue Devil varsity cross country team “and it was one of the best experiences by far,” she said. “The girls are all so nice and inclusive with everyone,” Ms. Rivera said. “It was a place for me to just go, de-stress and spend time with some of my favorite people. Even though the workouts were hard, we all pushed each other and helped one another get through it.”

Ms. Rivera has participated in spring track and field since seventh grade, but this year she decided to join the winter track and field program as a distance runner. “This is a new experience that I am looking forward to because it involves many of the same girls from cross country and is an opportunity for new friendships. I will also have an amazing coach in Ms. [Sarah] Hall.”

The teenager is excited to be co-president of the high school’s New World mentoring club. “We get to help out students who struggle from the language barrier,” Ms. Rivera said. “At one point, I was also in the same boat, so I know how hard it can get when trying to learn a new language and also having to do schoolwork with that unknown language. Even though students have great staff helping them, having someone their own age can help motivate them to keep going and knowing that it’s possible; which is what I hope to do.”

Ms. Rivera is vice president of the high school’s highly regarded United Amigos club and participates in several other organizations, too. “I love being in this club because we do so much to help the community, such as donate clothes to those less fortunate than us and hold activities to let others know more about our Hispanic culture,” she said. “Being involved in AWOD [A World of Difference club) has helped me understand how important it is to be nice to others because you never know what’s going on in someone’s life. AWOD has allowed me to work with other students from different backgrounds and to eliminate discrimination as much as we possibly can to help others feel safe.”

The senior is also “excited” to be a member of the high school’s women’s empowerment club. “I can’t wait to see the changes we make to help females know they are heard,” Ms. Rivera said. “This is a safe place for everyone. We don’t judge you for being you and want to make sure everyone has somewhere to go when they need someone there to listen.”

Outside of school hours, Ms. Rivera heads over to Tri-CYA whenever she can and spends time with the kids there. “I help them with homework and play with them,” she said.

The teenager is very involved in the community. “As sub-director of a church club, we have been involved in helping the community by distributing food to those less fortunate,” Ms. Rivera said. “I’m also a teacher within the club.”

Mr. Rivera is taking a full slate of classes and she is doing very well in all of them. “AP Research is the class I’m most excited about because of the research I’ll be doing in it,” she said. “For my research topic I have focused on the effect social media has on a student’s academic performance and mental health. I am excited to possibly work with some psychologists from colleges I’m interested in such as Dr. Purdie (Columbia University), Dr. Hunt (Penn State) and Mr. [Peter] Crugnale (AP Psychology teacher at Huntington High School).”

One of Mr. Rivera’s favorite teachers has been Erik Bruckbauer, who she is currently interning with in a social studies classroom. She is also enrolled in Mr. Bruckbauer’s criminal justice course. “I had him for the first time last year and like the way he teaches and his humor,” she said. “He makes learning fun and has also helped me realize things won’t always go the way I want them to go. He always tells me everything can’t be perfect which is something I have learned to accept.”

Science teacher Michael Corcoran is another of Ms. Rivera’s faculty favorites. “He’s always listening to my rants and understands my high standard for myself is something I need to work on not letting get in the way of my mental health,” she said. 

The energetic teenager exudes enthusiasm. “Over the summer, I had the opportunity to visit my sister in Nebraska for a whole month, which was one of the best experiences I’ve had,” Ms. Rivera said. “I loved being with family and their little puppy, going to new places and learning how to live in a different place than here. After I came back and got a job at a pizzeria, I was very thrilled to start earning my own money and being able to start saving for college. I became manager of it within that month that I worked there because of my work ethic and leadership. I was able to understand just how hard my parents work for what we have now that I was earning my own money and I don’t even have the responsibilities that others do.” 

The senior has been enjoying her experience these past four years. “Huntington High is a place with many opportunities for all interests,” Ms. Rivera said. “There are many different classes, clubs and sports for anyone who wants to be involved with the community and helping those in need. Huntington High School is a safe environment for all; just do your part in going out and meeting new people.” 

Popular with teachers and classmates, Ms. Rivera is valued by everyone of all ages.

“I think my experience in Huntington has been amazing with all the different classes I’ve taken, which have helped me choose a career path,” Ms. Rivera said. “All the friendships I have built throughout the years and participation in sports has helped my health. With my education, I have been challenged to help me see that things won’t always be easy and sometimes we have to put in a little more effort to get things done.”