The joy of keeping busy
BAY SHORE—When the Class of 2019 takes their place on the Bay Shore High School football field at commencement exercises next week, Leah Healy will take a place of honor reserved for the school’s top grads as the salutatorian.
“I was a little surprised,” Healy said about first learning about her standing. “But I did figure it was coming. It feels good.”
Hard work no doubt helped her rise to the top. And Healy was able to balance schoolwork with a myriad of extracurricular activities while also volunteering many hours weekly.
An athlete, she is a member of the varsity lacrosse and field hockey teams, where she is captain of the latter, her favorite sport. “I enjoy the coach and my teammates. It’s a real family,” she said.
Healy is an International Baccalaureate diploma candidate and is a member of the National, Tri-M and Interact Service honor societies. She also served as her sophomore and junior class president.
She plays the flute and piccolo and is a member of the school’s wind ensemble, symphonic orchestra, jazz band and pit orchestra. She is a peer support mentor and facilitator and a member of Athletes Helping Athletes, and also served as secretary of Best Buddies, a club that works with students with special needs. Healy is the founder of the school’s Digital Citizenship Program that helps to educate seventh and eighth graders on the importance of safe social media and internet usage.
Outside of school, the top grad is a volunteer and coach for an athletic program for children with special needs. In her senior year, she organized a 5K run in honor of her special needs brother called the 5K Run for Prader-Willi syndrome that raised more than $18,000 for the Latham Center School, where her brother now resides.
“That’s one of the things I’m most proud of,” Healy said.
And as if that isn’t enough, Healy still finds the time to volunteer for her parish, St. Patrick’s R.C. Church in Bay Shore, where she teaches religious education, serves as a Eucharistic minister and plays the flute at Mass every week.
“I like a busy schedule,” she said. “I like to be involved and being on the go always.”
Come fall, Healy will attend the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., to study computer science with the hope of one day working in the technical field.
She said Notre Dame is the right choice for her in all aspects. “It seemed like a place I could call home for the next four years,” she noted. “I wanted to go to a Catholic university. My faith is really important to me.”
While Healy said she’d be sad to leave Bay Shore, she’s looking forward to having new experiences. “I’ll miss my family, friends, teachers and the community. But I’ll always have Bay Shore,” she said. “It’s my home.”
In her commencement speech, Healy intends to address all that she’s learned from the school and her classmates. “I learned how to be a better person,” she said, and noted that she’d offer her class some well-earned advice. “Learn as much as you can; then use that knowledge to give back to [others].”
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