Gaia D’Anna’s four year run through Huntington High School has been nothing short of splendid. The senior has been a remarkable student, participating in numerous clubs and activities and assuming a leadership role in the campaign to promote an increased level of civic engagement among not only young people, but those of all ages.
Ms. D’Anna is headed to City University of New York’s Hunter College, where she plans to study for a career as a social studies teacher. The teenager was presented with the Heart of Huntington Award by the district’s PTA Council at the organization’s annual luncheon at Mac’s Steakhouse on Wednesday afternoon.
“I am so honored to have received this recognition,” Ms. D’Anna said. “I feel that we truly live in such an amazing town with a tightknit and diverse community. Being awarded a scholarship titled ‘Heart of Huntington’ has humbled me beyond words.”
The Heart of Huntington Award is presented to a graduating senior who has demonstrated the core values of the PTA, including school spirit, volunteerism, community involvement, commitment to academics and a willingness to act as a role model for their peers. Huntington High School Principal Brenden Cusack was asked to present the award on behalf of the PTA.
Gaia D'Anna with her mom, Linda at the Huntington PTA Council's annual awards luncheon
“Gaia is an amazing young woman who is involved in nearly every aspect of school life,” Mr. Cusack said. “She is a hard worker who goes out of her way to help others while maintaining a stellar academic record. The name of the Heart of Huntington Award speaks volumes and it is absolutely fitting that Gaia is this year’s recipient.”
The Heart of Huntington Award carries with it a $500 stipend to help defer college expenses and a handsome certificate. Ms. D’Anna cited “responsibility, independence and great educators” as being the keys to her success.
Vice president of Huntington’s History Day Club and treasurer of the Key Club, Ms. D’Anna is a four year high school orchestra member and a Blue Devil varsity swimming and diving team veteran. She has been active with Students Promoting Inclusion and Civic Engagement, an organization more widely known by the acronym, SPICE.
“Gaia is a passionate young lady whose accomplishments are too numerous to list,” Huntington Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “She is a dedicated student and has taken complete advantage of the range of opportunities that the district has presented through the years. She is beyond a positive role model and one who has clearly demonstrated on many occasions that students have a voice and that it can be used to promote change in the most dignified of manners. The world is at her fingertips and she is poised to make a genuine difference.”