One of the top students and musicians in Huntington High School’s Class of 2017, Billy Garfinkel has earned the respect of every teacher and classmate. He’s one of the best and everyone knows it.
The teenager is headed to Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. Mr. Garfinkel plans to study international relations and French. “Colgate is a great fit for me because of its outstanding liberal arts foundation,” he said. “Students at Colgate are encouraged to explore a plethora of interests and courses, which ultimately enables one’s growth as a thinker and learner. Studying international relations leaves many doors open in my post-graduate life, but I’m considering diplomacy work and at some point, law school.”
Mr. Garfinkel has pursued a challenging slate of classes as a high school senior, including Advanced Placement English Literature, AP Calculus, AP Microeconomics, AP Macroeconomics, AP Statistics, AP Physics and an independent study of AP French.
Huntington senior Billy Garfinkel.
“Some of my favorite classes have included AP Chemistry with Mrs. Dame Forbes, who always encouraged me to try my hardest despite the difficulty of the subject matter and AP United States History with Mr. Kenneth Donovan, whose class mirrored that of a college discussion-based environment, which excited and prepared me for the next chapter of my life.,” Mr. Garfinkel said.
The teenager has been a standout musician throughout his long experience in the district. “I started on the viola in fourth grade and since then it’s been one of my biggest passions,” Mr. Garfinkel said. “I’ve continuously strived to be the best musician I can be. The music department at Huntington has been nothing but supportive of my endeavors.”
Among the musical highlights of Mr. Garfinkel’s Huntington experience is four years of involvement with the pit orchestra, playing violin and viola during drama club productions and participating in the district’s string fiesta and the New York State School Music Association’s programs.
“This year, I had the incredible opportunity of representing our school at the New York All State Conference in Rochester for viola and selection on violin as well,” Mr. Garfinkel said. “I also held the privilege of being continuously involved in the Long Island String Festival, where in January I served as the principal violist of the Suffolk County Orchestra. Leaving all these years of music at Huntington behind is bittersweet.”
Mr. Garfinkel and his good friend and fellow senior, Gabriella DeLuca performed a memorable double violin concerto during the high school’s record spring concert much to the delight of the crowd of more than 750.
The teenager isn’t about to set aside his love for music. “I plan to continue playing for the Colgate University Symphony and other ensembles on campus,” Mr. Garfinkel said.
Always up for an educational experience, Mr. Garfinkel participated in a study abroad program in Paris, France for five weeks during the summer of 2015. “I was immersed culturally with Parisian lifestyle and got to have an early taste of the independence I will have in college as I attended classes and lived with other students,” he said. “This incredible experience jump-started my passion of learning new languages and studying various cultures of the world. I plan on not only achieving fluency in French, but I’d also like to master German and Spanish while at college.”
Mr. Garfinkel also found enough time in his schedule to dabble in some other activities over the past four years. He’s held leadership positions with the National Honor Society as well as with the French and Social Studies Honor Societies.
“This year I made the impulsive decision to join the Huntington crew team as a novice and the risk paid off,” Mr. Garfinkel said. “We worked tremendously hard all season with coaches Avery Cohen, Ryan Boone, and Anika Selle-Giehl and as a result my Novice 4+ made it to B-finals at New York State championships in Saratoga Springs. It was definitely unusual joining a sport as a second semester senior in high school, but I was up for the challenge and the reward was worth it.”
Mr. Garfinkel was recognized as the Most Improved Senior on the crew team at last week’s 49th Blue Devil senior athletic awards banquet. He plans to continue rowing over the summer with the Long Island Rowing Club and is considering joining Colgate’s crew team.
“My advice to incoming Huntington freshmen is to specify what it is that you want out of your high school experience; this will be short and there’s no time to waste,” Mr. Garfinkel said. “Take advantage of what you have.”