Katie Seccafico is a naturally upbeat, smiling young woman. As she enters her senior year at Huntington High School, the teenager plans to get the most out of every single day.
One of the top students academically in the Class of 2018, Ms. Seccafico will once again pursue a challenging set of classes, including Advanced Placement Calculus AB, AP Government and Politics, AP Economics, Multicultural Literature, Holocaust Literature and orchestra. She will also be participating the high school’s science research program.
Last year, Ms. Seccafico developed a project with fellow science research program classmate Isabella Annunziata. It involved Palaemonetes paludosus, the scientific name for freshwater grass shrimp, which are usually found east of the Appalachian Mountains in southern states.
Katie Seccafico is one of the top members of the Class of 2018.
“As the human population continues to flourish, people are putting great pressure on Earth’s water resources,” according to a project abstract. “Pollution is a real world issue that is affecting many freshwater organisms. This project has shown that oxybenzone, a chemical located in sunscreen, increased the mortality rate in Palaemonetes paludosus. As the chemical was added to their tanks, the amount of brine shrimp diminished over a short time period of three days.
The project’s findings alarmed the two teenagers. “These results were alarming due to the fact that this freshwater is the same water humans consume, only filtered,” states the project abstract. “Pollutants and other types of toxins could be contaminating humans all around the world. Overall, this project correlates to a real world problem that can help not only freshwater organisms, but humans as well. In the future, other organisms, such as saltwater ones, can be exposed to other harmful chemicals found in sunscreen to get a wider range of data.”
Ms. Seccafico hasn’t finalized plans for a senior year science research project or whether she will work alone or with a partner. “I love science research; it’s such a great class,” she said. “It prepares you for college in a number of ways. I would 100 percent recommend it to everyone who has a chance to take it. The teachers are awesome and more than helpful throughout the project and they are willing to help in any way.”
The teenager is starting to kick around some ideas for college, but she hasn’t reached any final decisions. “I’m not sure where I want to go yet, but I have an interest in Bucknell, Lehigh and UCLA,” Ms. Seccafico said. “I would like to go somewhere academically challenging.
Ms. Seccafico has an interest in possibly majoring in business in college, but she isn’t ready to commit to a specific career field.
A three-sport athlete, Ms. Seccafico is expected to play integral roles on the Blue Devil varsity soccer, basketball and track and field teams. She’s popular with her teammates and coaches and is a leader on and off the field.
Treasurer of the school-wide student government, Ms. Seccafico has been involved with the GO for many years. She participates in the Young Leaders youth development community organization and is considering volunteering with the high school’s Habitat for Humanity chapter.
A member of the National Honor Society and the Social Studies Honor Society, Ms. Seccafico also volunteers at Huntington Hospital.
As summer vacation enters its final weeks, Ms. Seccafico grows closer to beginning her senior year, which she hopes is filled with fun times.