In just a few short years, Maria Fuertes LaRotta has impressed an awful lot of people around Huntington High School where the teenager is a junior.
Ms. Fuertes LaRotta came to Huntington UFSD as a high school freshman from Bayside, Queens. She dived right into her classes and life around the building and started making friends and earning the admiration of her teachers.
The teenager’s current academic schedule includes classes in Psychology, Spanish IV Honors, US History, Physics, English, Algebra 2 and Fashion Design & Illustration.
Ms. Fuertes LaRotta participates in Huntington High School’s Habitat for Humanity club, where she has worked closed with faculty advisor and dean of students Robert Gilmor III. “He is someone I look up to,” she said. “I’ve contributed as much as I could for this club, including helping with bake sales and at soup kitchens. Throughout the year our goal is to fundraise as much as possible and hopefully we can help those in need.”
The teenager’s closest friend is classmate Isabella Thompson. “She a great student and an outstanding friend and individual.” Ms. Fuertes LaRotta said.
“When I first met Maria I knew she was such a kind-hearted young lady,” Ms. Thompson said. “She always has a positive attitude and a smile on her face. I wouldn’t be who I am today without her. Maria is going to go far with anything she does. I’m so happy to call her my best friend.”
Some of the schools the teenager is currently interested in include New York University, Stony Brook University, Binghamton University, CUNY-Baruch College and Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire. Ms. Fuertes LaRotta plans to study psychology.
Outside of school, Ms. Fuertes LaRotta also likes to stay busy. She works at Samurai Hibatchi Japanese Steak House on Gerard Street in Huntington. “I’ve never been a very athletic person, but I do love going to the gym,” she said. “I’m looking into doing boxing because I find it really fun and interesting and I get to be fit.”
Ms. Fuertes LaRotta’s favorite faculty and staff members include Amanda Scott, Michael Graziano, Deborah Balducci, Amelia Saggese, Beth Vogelsang and Regina Connors. “They all set a really safe and enjoyable atmosphere that makes you want to learn and give it your all,” she said.
“Maria is an inspirational student that takes great interest in the needs of those around her,” Mr. Gilmor said. “She is kind, thoughtful and demonstrates the most endearing manner to her family and friends. I expect that Maria will do great things on the road ahead when she begins to explore her many passions. Her warm, caring personality, combined with her heartfelt compassion make her a tremendous asset to all of us in her life.”
The junior is always striving to do better in her classes. She sets goals for herself and is looking forward to the future with enthusiasm.
“My family and I love to travel,” Ms. Fuertes LaRotta said. “We’ve been to a lot of states and they recently went to Japan and China. I’ve been to Colombia and last summer I went to Germany, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. My family and I are planning to go to Israel, Italy and Greece.”
Outside of school, Ms. Fuertes LaRotta isn’t hard to find. “I’m either at work, at the gym, with my friends or with my family,” she said.
Since transferring into Huntington High School, the teenager has never looked back. “I think it was a great decision to move here,” Ms. Fuertes LaRotta said. “It took a bit to adjust since I had been living in the ‘city’ for my whole life and then moved to a whole new place, but I absolutely love it here. I’ve gotten to meet great people and I’ve learned a lot about myself. This is definitely a place I’d like to raise a family in.”