Camille Stafford’s laidback personality seems to be a perfect fit for where the Huntington High School senior is headed to college. While the teenager loves her hometown, she can’t wait to start attending the University of Southern California, which recruited her to play on its lacrosse team.
Known for taking whatever comes her way in stride, Ms. Stafford doesn’t let her feathers get ruffled very easily. She is known for keeping things in perspective and calmly dealing with the ups and downs of daily life, including some sharp unexpected turns during her high school lacrosse career.
A fine student academically, Ms. Stafford is currently enrolled in Advanced Placement Macro/Micro Economics, AP Statistics, Regents Physics, Bible as Literature and Humanities, Drawing and Painting I and a credit bearing full year career internship with Spanish teacher Mercedes Peña.
Huntington senior Camille Stafford.
The teenager is in her second year on the Blue Devil varsity swimming team after many years of playing soccer. She will return to the Huntington varsity lacrosse team in the spring for her fourth and final year of play before heading off to USC and its NCAA Division I program.
Secretary of the Interact Club, corresponding secretary of the Spanish Honor Society, a member of Huntington’s Habitat for Humanity chapter and a Natural Helper, Ms. Stafford is very involved in high school life outside of class.
“I want to be able to make as many memories as possible before I head off to college,” said Ms. Stafford about her senior year. “So far, so good, but there is still a full year ahead of me and I look forward to taking advantage of everything life has to offer. I haven’t had the chance to see all of the sports teams play in my past three years at high school so this year I really want to attend at least one game for every sport.”
Productive relationships with teachers
Some of Ms. Stafford’s favorite teachers are Stacey Brynes, Robert Gilmor III, Kenneth Donovan, Kelly Krycinski, Camille Tedeschi, Deborah Beck and Mrs. Peña.
“I met both Mrs. Byrnes and Mr. Gilmor through Natural Helpers and they are two of the nicest and helpful people I have ever come across,” Ms. Stafford said. “Their selflessness towards others is truly amazing. I am lucky to have them both in my life. Mr. Donovan teaches social studies, my favorite subject and I really enjoyed the structure of the class, which was based around discussion. Mrs. Krycinski was my ninth grade English teacher and my current English teacher, too, and I really enjoy her sense of humor. Both Ms. Tedeschi and Mrs. Beck have taught me a lot outside of the classroom. Ms. Tedeschi was my social studies teacher for ninth and tenth grades and I learned the importance of reading the textbook in her class and how to write an entire essay in 40 minutes. Mrs. Beck was my teacher for AP Biology, which was an incredibly demanding subject and I really had to learn how to study, even if I wasn’t the biggest fan of the subject matter.”
The teenager’s internship with Mrs. Peña is no accident. “She was my AP Spanish teacher and her class was one of my favorites last year,” Ms. Stafford said. “I have taken Spanish since I was in kindergarten, but I expanded my understanding of the language by thinking critically and analyzing documents, videos and readings. Now as her intern, I am able to help her teach the AP Spanish students what I learned last year.”
There have been many highlights sprinkled throughout Ms. Stafford’s long run in the Huntington School District.
“One of my favorite memories was in eighth grade when I watched my brother and his grade along with the other classes in the high school at Play Fest,” Ms. Stafford said. “I am lucky enough to have been able to spend one year of high school with each of my siblings. My brother was a senior when I was a freshman and I am a senior and my sister is a freshman. The athletic teams during my freshman year were very successful and I remember attending the football game at Stony Brook University under the lights and snowfall. In my freshman year on the varsity lacrosse team and we made it to the quarterfinals of the playoffs only to lose in double overtime to Sayville. Sophomore year I had a great time helping my class build the float for homecoming. Junior year I learned how to swim properly thanks to Coach [Christopher] Helmke and Coach [Meg] McConnell and now senior year I plan on making every day count.”
Considered many potential colleges
The Huntington senior considered Boston University, University of Virginia, the US Naval Academy at Annapolis and the US Military Academy at West Point, “but really there wasn’t much competition” between them and USC.
“The more I learned about USC the more I wanted to go there and I found myself comparing every other school I looked at to USC,” Ms. Stafford said. “I am planning on applying to the Marshall School of Business, but honestly I have no idea if that is what I will study while I’m there.”
She may be headed to Southern Cal as a recruited athlete, but Ms. Stafford isn’t going there merely because of its sports program, but as a result of a whole array of determining factors.
“I chose USC for a lot of reasons and not just because I was recruited for their lacrosse team,” she said. “It is an incredible academic institution that has endless opportunities that continue beyond graduation. USC has one of the strongest alumni networks in the country and I couldn’t be more excited to become a part of the Trojan family. Support for the student-athlete is really important to me because I don’t plan on becoming a professional lacrosse player. I wanted to find a school where I would be a student first and an athlete second. Also, the location was really important to me when picking a school because I’m really not a fan of the cold and the weather in Southern California rarely goes below 60 degrees, which is great. It also doesn’t hurt that my favorite color is red and the school’s colors are red and gold.”
“I have loved my time at Huntington”
The driving distance between Huntington and the University of Southern California is pegged at 2,834 miles or 43 hours. It’s a long way, that’s for sure. But, Ms. Stafford’s thoughts will never be that far from her hometown.
“I have loved my time at Huntington,” Ms. Stafford said. “From my very first day at Southdown I bled blue. This is more than a school district; it is a family and the support for the students is something special and I am grateful to have been a part of it. There is no other district or town I would have rather grown up in.”
After learning so much over the years, Ms. Stafford is anxious to share her knowledge with the newest crop of high school students.
“Don’t sweat the small stuff,” is Ms. Stafford’s advice to incoming Huntington freshmen. “Yes, it disheartening when you don’t do well on a test or quiz, but don’t forget about the big picture. The end goal is not to get a 100 on your test on Friday it’s to find out who you are and who you want to be so don’t get caught up in the fine print. Enjoy the moments that you have because it really goes by in the blink of an eye.”