A person just can’t help smiling when they are around Bella Thompson. The Huntington High School junior draws people in like a magnet and she just as easily sends them off in a good mood.
Ms. Thompson is a happy-go-lucky young woman who works hard and is passionate about her interests. She’s multi-talented and is increasingly displaying leadership qualities, including serving as one of four student ambassadors with the Town of Huntington’s Opioid Task Force.
The junior’s closest friends are Maria Fuertes LaRotta and Hallie Armengau. “Scared and a little anxious, Bella was the first person that introduced herself to me when I transferred to Huntington,” Ms. Armengau recalled. “She is the most determined, loyal and overall outstanding person. She’s never afraid to face whatever life throws at her. She is a diligent worker and is going to be successful in anything she does.”
Ms. Thompson’s junior year academic schedule includes classes in Algebra 2, Physics, Advanced Photography, English 11, US History, Health and Psychology. She is doing very well in school and keeps busy with several extracurricular and athletics activities. She even finds the time to work at Ben and Jerry’s in the village.
“Bella is such a wonderful girl,” Ms. Fuertes LaRotta said. “She balances taking care of herself, her family, her friends, school work, social life, everything and somehow this girl always has this beautiful smile on her face.”
The teenager is a wonderful track and field athlete, too. Ms. Thompson’s four events include pole vault, 100m dash and two different relays. Selected to serve as a Natural Helper, she assists classmates with working through their personal issues and is also involved with the town’s Youth Court program.
Ms. Thompson was a competitive gymnast until she entered high school, training more than 20 hours a week to master all of the different events. Now she’s an essential member of the Huntington Highsteppers, the high school’s competitive dance team. She has traveled to the national championships in Florida and will head back there with her teammates later this winter.
The teenager has also been very active with Huntington’s Habitat for Humanity club chapter. She has traveled with the group to Texas and will be going to New Orleans during February to continue helping folks there rebuild their homes and lives after both were turned upside down by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Ms. Thompson has done quite a bit of traveling with her family, including many trips to the Caribbean. She is always up for something new or an adventure.
“I would love to go into the field of social work,” Ms. Thompson said. “I have looked at Sacred Heart University, SUNY Oneonta and SUNY Oswego and I'm still exploring.”
Ms. Thompson’s favorite teachers have included Amanda Scott, Danielle Lusardi Raguzin, Pamela Piffard and Robert Gilmor III.
“I am so very proud of everything Bella has accomplished over her three years at Huntington,” said Mr. Gilmor, a high school dean who is also the Habitat for Humanity club’s founding faculty advisor. “Bella has shown discipline, compassion and an outstanding work ethic during her time here. She is supportive, encouraging and empathetic to everyone she meets. There is a passion inside of her to go to great lengths to help those who are most in need. She is an amazing Natural Helper and an outstanding Habitat for Humanity member. Her warm caring personality coupled with her great sense of humor and compassion to help those around her make her a tremendous asset to both her peers and her surrounding community. I expect Bella will do great things on her road ahead.”
Ms. Thompson is going to intern with Mrs. Piffard next year as part of a credit bearing program. “Bella’s dedication and strive to excel has really taken off this year,” Mrs. Piffard said. “She has grown as an artist, has a vision of what she wants to accomplish and is always working hard. Bella takes her art very seriously, always asking questions to improve her quality and develop her ideas. Her dedication is paying off and the work she is producing is stunning. She has shown such great leadership and self-assurance while helping others and has really impressed me.”
The teenager fits in perfectly with her classmates and she’s respected by faculty members around the building, where she is well on her way to making a lasting mark.
“I have loved Huntington ever since primary school,” Ms. Thompson said. “I have met so many wonderful teachers and students who have helped shape me into who I am today. I wouldn’t change anything.”