The October Dawn Scholarship is a very special award presented annually to a graduating Huntington High School senior. This year, the scholarship’s generous stipend of $2,000 was captured by Niurca Chabla-Leon, a member of the Class of 2021.
The scholarship is presented in memory of Kathryn A. DeGelleke, a special education teacher and Centerport resident who passed away September 22, 2009 after a two-year battle with cancer. She was only 53 years old.
Mrs. DeGelleke worked in the district as a home tutor and provided instructional support services. Her husband, Scott typically presents the scholarship on the high school stage, but the award was announced by school officials as were many of this year’s scholarships due to COVID-19.
Scholarship applicants are asked to submit a one-page essay detailing what obstacles they have overcome in high school, their future plans and why they believe they should be awarded the scholarship.
President of Huntington High School’s Art Honor Society and a member of the National Honor Society, Ms. Chabla-Leon intends to study at Adelphi University for a career as an art teacher. Recipient of the New York State Seal of Biliteracy, she cites the support of her family and teachers as the foundation of her success. She engaged in a credit bearing internship as a senior with high school art teacher Kristin Singer.
One of Long Island’s top young artists, Ms. Chabla-Leon has completely mastered two languages. She hopes to work with students on the elementary grade level. Her drawings were featured in this year’s high school yearbook.
The teenager plans to join Adelphi’s art club and seek out opportunities to volunteer in the community.
Many teachers have “had an impact” on the teenager “and I will always be grateful for that,” Ms. Chabla-Leon said. “I think Mrs. [Kristin] Singer has had a great impact on me because she inspired me to want to become an art teacher. That’s why I am interning with her this year.”
The new Huntington alum said that focusing her attention on education and developing the mindset that she can accomplish anything has helped propel her toward success.
Ms. Chabla-Leon came to the Huntington School District and Southdown Primary School as a fourth grader. She was named a Distinguished Senior after compiling an academic grade average in excess of 90 during every semester of high school.