It wasn’t even on her radar when she began the college search process, but by the time she had considered every option, Huntington High School senior Michaela Carnesi decided that Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania is the place she wants to spend the next four years.
The Huntington teenager will be playing field hockey for the Mules after starring for the Blue Devils and earning post-season honors this past fall.
“I am so excited to attend Muhlenberg,” Ms. Carnesi said. “At first, I had no idea that Muhlenberg existed. I had already visited a few schools and had my eye on a few in particular that I loved. My mom came home one day and suggested that we tour Muhlenberg because all of her colleagues at work said it was a great school. We booked a tour for early August and when I first stepped out of the car after we arrived, I was amazed.”
The Huntington senior quickly felt at home on the Muhlenberg campus. “The first person I saw there shot me a huge smile and said ‘hello’ and I knew this was a place where I wanted to be,” Ms. Carnesi said. “Everyone on the campus was happy and the overall mood there made me feel welcome. Besides the happy students and teachers, I knew Muhlenberg had a strong field hockey program.”
The sport of field hockey is Ms. Carnesi’s “thing” and she is awfully good at it. She can’t wait to play for Muhlenberg. “This past season they went 10-0 and won the conference championship,” she said. “I met with the head coach after my tour and she gave me an entire tour of the athletic facilities and explained the schedule that all field hockey players live by during the season and during training. I remember feeling overwhelmed, but field hockey is a passion of mine that I cannot give up. I am thrilled to be able to play with the Muhlenberg team next fall.”
The teenager filed an early decision application with Muhlenberg because she “knew 100 percent” it was the college for her. “When I received the call that I had been accepted, I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to tell my family,” Ms. Carnesi said.
At Muhlenberg, the Huntington senior intends to major in psychology and pursue a minor in secondary education. “I am not entirely sure what career path I will choose, but Muhlenberg is a school that can help me find my way,” Ms. Carnesi said. “What drew me to the school was the strong liberal arts education I would receive and their main message; Muhlenberg prepares students for the world and teaches them how they can give back to society.”
Highlight of senior year
Huntington senior Michaela Carnesi.
The highlight of Ms. Carnesi’s senior year came when she captained the Blue Devil varsity field hockey team. “We had a skilled group of girls and we all ended up being so close,” she said. “I was so happy to be a part of a team that felt safe and comfortable with each other. Unfortunately, we were unable to make it to playoffs this year, but I have complete faith in the returning players and the upcoming seniors will for sure navigate the team to playoffs. Field hockey has provided me with a passion, as well as everlasting friendships. One of my best friends, Elizabeth Berejka has shared the journey with me from seventh grade to both being co-captains of the team this past season. “
Ms. Carnesi is interning with high school special education teacher Erica Murphy-Jessen. “Every day I am able to help teach the students and I am extremely thankful I was given this opportunity,” the teenager said. “Last year I volunteered with the students during my free period and now I am able to see them every day. They have taught me so many things and I am happy to call them my friends. Mrs. Murphy has been an incredible mentor and she has taught me so many useful things in just a few short months. I cannot wait for what the rest of the year will bring.”
Spanish Honor Society president
President of Huntington’s Spanish Honor Society chapter, Ms. Carnesi is working closely with faculty advisor Mercedes Pena. “She has been an extremely helpful and dedicated advisor who has guided me through everything,” the senior said. “Her energy and enthusiasm about the honor society has only made my experience better. Once a month we hold social group activities with English-as-a-new-language students and they are always so excited to come. This is my favorite event with the honor society. We are also planning for an upcoming soccer tournament, which we hope will catch the interest of students at the high school.”
Math teacher Lynn Hendricks and field hockey coach Kathy Wright are two of Ms. Carnesi’s favorites. “I will never forget Mrs. Hendricks and Coach Wright, who have both had such positive impacts on my life,” the teenager said. “Mrs. Hendricks was my math teacher for two years. I have never been a strong math student, but with Mrs. Hendricks’ motivation and enthusiasm I was able to not only meet the average, but surpass it. She taught me that practice and dedication is what gets you places in life. I was in her room every morning at 6:30 a.m. and she was always ready to help. By the time the Regents exam came around, I was completely prepared.”
Ms. Carnesi has been on the varsity field hockey team since her sophomore year. “Coach Wright was a coach that I had heard wonderful things about and I was so excited to be able to play for her,” the senior said. “My tenth grade season taught me that you have to work for everything. When you play a varsity sport, there are no givens. You must work for that starting position and you must earn your playing time. You can’t expect anything just because you show up to practice.”
Pushed to limit as sophomore
Ms. Carnesi was pushed to her limit during that first season on the varsity team. “The practices were intense, the games were at a faster pace and the overall demand was greater,” she said. “By eleventh grade, I was starting. Coach Wright’s encouragement and dedication to her team has gotten me to where I am today. As I go off to Muhlenberg to play for their team, words cannot describe how grateful I am to Coach Wright for how she prepared me for this next step in my life. I know playing for Muhlenberg will be extremely challenging, but I plan on approaching it just like I did in tenth grade; with motivation and determination.”
While Ms. Carnesi can’t wait to start life on Muhlenberg’s campus, it will be hard for her to walk away from Huntington High School following a great four year run.
“My overall Huntington experience is one that I will never forget,” the senior said. “I have made friendships that will last a lifetime and learned so much in four short years. The support I received from my teachers, friends and especially my parents is what has gotten me to this point.”
The high school has been more than just a place to take classes for Ms. Carnesi. It’s been a second home as she can gone about discovering where her interests lie and having fun pursuing them.
“I still remember the day I walked through the main doors for the first time as a scared freshman,” Ms. Carnesi said. “It amazes me how much I have grown and matured since that day. If there is one thing that I want the students at Huntington High School to know is that high school is a time where you discover who you are. You uncover what your motives are, your aspirations and your limits. You may think that you aren’t capable of something, but always challenge yourself to surpass the average, because it can only help you in the long run. But most of all, enjoy the four short years you have at Huntington High. The friendships you make here are ones you will have for the rest of your life. Always remember to be the best you can be, but be sure to have fun doing it!”