Senior Nicole Leslie is flanked by Peter Steen's family and friends at the award presentation.

Nicole Leslie Captures the Peter Steen Scholarship

Senior Nicole Leslie is flanked by Peter Steen's family and friends at the award presentation.

June 5, 2018

Peter Steen showed everyone that knew him or heard his story about the true meaning of the word determination. A member of the Class of 1979, he suffered a devastating spinal cord injury during the summer preceding his junior year and was confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

Peter Steen showed everyone that knew him or heard his story about the true meaning of the word determination. A member of the Class of 1979, he suffered a devastating spinal cord injury during the summer preceding his junior year and was confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

Despite missing an extended period of school time as he underwent extensive rehabilitation, Mr. Steen still managed to graduate on time. Voted Huntington High School’s Homecoming Day king in 1978, he went on to earn an undergraduate degree at Stony Brook University and work as a stockbroker, financial planner and inventor. He never surrendered his zeal for life nor let go of the hope that he would one day walk again.

Huntington senior Nicole Leslie garnered the Peter Steen Scholarship Award.
Huntington senior Nicole Leslie garnered the Peter Steen Scholarship Award.

Mr. Steen was seriously injured while playing in a summer lacrosse game in the community. As a Huntington sophomore, he had been the junior varsity football team’s leading rusher and the JV lacrosse team’s top scorer.

When Mr. Steen passed away on December 9, 2016 it hit his family, friends and classmates very hard. They all admired his perseverance and his positive outlook on life. His family decided to perpetuate his memory by creating a scholarship award earmarked for a graduating senior at his alma mater.

The second annual Peter Steen scholarship award was presented to Nicole Leslie during last week’s 50th annual Blue Devil senior athletic awards banquet in Louis D. Giani Gymnasium. Mr. Steen’s family and friends gathered around the podium as Huntington High School Class of 1979 President Andrew Lukowicz told a crowd of 200 the amazing alum’s story and introduced Ms. Leslie as the 2018 recipient of the $1,000 scholarship.

“It was a surprise to win the Peter Steen scholarship,” Ms. Leslie said. “I’m thankful that I did. It will help me greatly in college and it makes me feel like I can set an example for others who follow me in Huntington.”

Ms. Leslie is headed to SUNY Brockport where she has been recruited to play on the Golden Eagles basketball team. She was named All-League last winter after leading the Huntington girls’ basketball team in rebounds and following a string of outstanding performances.

The teenager is undecided about an academic major and possible career direction, but Ms. Leslie is interested in the sciences. She was impressed by SUNY Brockport’s science and math programs.

Ms. Leslie plans to spend part of the summer working and four weeks of it in a program on the Brockport campus to help her transition to college life. She also plans to continue training for basketball.

Nominated for the scholarship by her coaches, Ms. Leslie’s commitment and dedication to overcoming personal obstacles and working hard to improve herself and be all that she is capable of being is exquisitely consistent with Mr. Steen’s life story and the mission of the scholarship that bears his name today.

Peter Steen Scholarship Award Recipients

  • 2017 Elizabeth Berejka
  • 2018 Nicole Leslie

 

Huntington senior Nicole Leslie on Senior Day with her mom, April. (Darin Reed photo.).
Huntington senior Nicole Leslie on Senior Day with her mom, April. (Darin Reed photo.)
Nicole Leslie with the ball for Huntington. (Darin Reed photo.)
Nicole Leslie with the ball for Huntington. (Darin Reed photo.)
Peter Steen in his wheelchair surrounded by fellow graduates in June 1979.
Peter Steen in his wheelchair surrounded by fellow graduates in June 1979.
Peter Steen graduated with Huntington's Class of 1979.
Peter Steen graduated with Huntington's Class of 1979.
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