Class of 2020 Spotlight: Maria Rivera

girl self portrait

Maria Rivera

What are your after school plans?
My after school plans are to go to college and major in biology, then I will go to medical school and study to become a dermatologist.

Is there a particular moment or memory that stands out for you during your time at Niskayuna High School?
Something that I love about Niskayuna High School is that it has a lot of clubs that any student can join, not only clubs to have fun but also many clubs to help people and one of those clubs hold a particular moment that stands out to me, and that is ADL(Anti-Defamation-League). A series of students were selected to join this league and I was one of those students, I am so happy I was because it is a memory that touched my heart. The group that was selected at Niskayuna High School was combined with a group selected at Schenectady High School. We went to Schenectady High and we all got training to help for anti-bullying and to help others. Not only was that great to learn about but we did an activity that is the one that stood out the most to me, in winter we collected scarfs, hats, and gloves to give to people who might need them. So we went to some parts of Schenectady and put around these items in different places for anyone to grab. What I will never forget is that it was such a cold day and when the people took these items we could just see the happiness in their faces. The kids were happy to have a hat or gloves to cover their hands or face, the way people thanked us because we cared. Not only did that make me really happy but to know that something that could be so normal for someone else like a pair of gloves could make someone so happy.  Because it is the little things that sometimes count the most as well as the lesson of Sharing, Caring, and helping others.

How would friends and acquaintances describe you?
I think my friends and acquaintances would describe me as being quiet and shy but when you talk to me or get to know me you will find out I love to talk. Also as respectful, caring, humble, helpful, and positive. As well as always seeing the good side of things.

Mr. Dickerson said you were a volunteer within the community such as recycling after school or assisting new students as they familiarize themselves with their new surroundings, is there a project/event you volunteered at that stands out to you?
Yes, that would be helping new international students. I volunteered to help new students coming into the school. This was such an amazing experience for me because when I came to the United States I did not speak any English, and in the school, I went to when I first came there were not any language teachers so I had to communicate with my teachers and peers with google translate, which was pretty challenging, but what helped me were my classmates and teachers that welcomed me and helped me, and which I will forever be thankful with. So I was so happy to help these students because I know how it feels to be new and not know the language, I was more than happy to guide them, help them and be their friend. 

Is there an achievement or contribution that you are most proud of?
I would say to be part of the National Honor Society, because not only did this make me really proud that all of my hard work had paid off but also it pushed me even more to achieve my dreams of finishing high school successfully. Also as being part of the society we had to complete volunteering hours which I loved now that I learned from them and I helped others by doing them.

What was your favorite thing about high school? 

My favorite thing about high school was that I always felt welcomed, the school environment for me was always so positive and happy. All of the staff were truly amazing, there is so much help for everyone who needs it and there are so many opportunities to do what you like. For me, it was like a home and more like a family.  My favorite subject was CEIP (Career Exploration Internship Program) because in this course you get to do an internship for the career that you are interested in. The reason that it was my favorite class was that I got to intern with an amazing dermatologist, she and her team taught me so much. It made me realize how much I would love to be a dermatologist and how much I want to help people. I think this course is amazing because it helps students to consider if what they thought they liked is really what they would like to study or do. Plus it offers an opportunity to learn about a career area that you could possibly pursue.

Were you a part of any sports, extracurricular activities, clubs, etc.?
Yes, I was part of many clubs like the National Honor Society, recycling club, dance club, Spanish club, Asian club, and many more. And from each one of them I learned as much as I could, and I had so much fun.

If you could give your freshman self advice, what would it be?
To not be scared and shy, because when I was about to start high school I was scared of that new experience. But I learned that in high school there are so many opportunities to enjoy and live that I would tell my self to not be scared.

Where do you hope to see yourself in five years?
In five years I hope to see my self very close to finishing medical school, even closer to my dream of becoming a dermatologist.

What will you miss about high school?
I will miss a lot of things about high school because it was such an amazing experience for me. I will miss all of my teachers, the amazing staff, classmates, and friends.

Anything else you would like to share?
I would like to say that right now we are living through a very hard time in history that touched all of us, it has not been easy. For example, for me my biggest dream was my graduation next to my classmates, to see my cap fly through the air as the principal announced that we had graduated, and in the end, all hug to congratulate our biggest achievement. Unfortunately, that will not be possible, but I couldn’t feel more thankful for all of the amazing workers that risk their lives every day in order to help. As well as my principals, teachers, and staff for doing everything they can to help us through this situation. As to allow us to have a piece of our graduation with our classmates and families. All I can say is that I have hope that this will pass. Lastly, WE DID IT CLASS OF 2020!

What piece of content (TV show, YouTube channel, book, etc.) do you think everyone should know about and that you recommend and why?
I would recommend the movie Rudy because this movie taught me a lot. Like to fight for your dream and to not give up. As well as to not let others make you think that you can’t succeed or archive your dreams, because whatever you propose to your self you can do it. I thought of this movie also now that the class of 2020 is graduating, because a lot of people will tell us college is hard and not easy, but we can do it, and we shouldn’t let someone else put our dreams down, if we want something then we should follow it.