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Senior Spotlight: Gabby Martinez

Senior Spotlight: Gabby Martinez

Senior Gabby Martinez is one of the most dedicated students here at ERHS. She competes in softball, competition cheerleading, and tennis, alongside being a studious leader in the classroom. I had the pleasure of being on the competition cheer team with her, and let me just say, she is the sweetest and funniest person you will ever meet. Gabby is truly the greatest role model in my life. She is committed to college at St. John’s University where she plans to major in Homeland Security. Gabby hopes to follow those four years with another four years going to law school, where she hopes to become an air marshal, law enforcement officer, or lawyer.

  1. What has been your favorite class you have taken? “My favorite course that I have taken at ERHS would have to be UHS Legal Studies, which I completed in the second semester of my junior year. Taught by our very own principal, Mr. Schaffer, I found the class to be super informative and great for students who are looking to pursue a career in any area involving the law. Since I had a high interest in this field, I found the class to be engaging and in tune with what I was hoping to learn prior to my arrival at college. Along with this, the course is provided through SUNY Farmingdale, which allows you to apply for college credits!”
  2. What sports/extracurricular activities have you done in high school? And which do you recommend people to join? “I have participated in numerous sports throughout my high school career! To list them out, I have participated in: softball from grades 9-12, competitive cheerleading from grades 11-12, and Malverne-East Rockaway girls tennis in my senior year! If I were to recommend any sport to join, I would recommend them all. The school’s passion for sports has yet to diminish. The school spirit and participation from students in sports is what makes our school’s athleticism so encouraging! Getting involved in sports is also a great way to find people with the same passion as you. Do not ever be afraid to join a team at ERHS, everyone is beyond welcoming and always there to help you no matter if you are a veteran at the sport or a newcomer!”
  3. What are you planning on doing after high school? “My plans after high school are still a little blurred. Of course, I have planned to commute to St. Johns, as well as tackling a job. I plan to be more focused on my academics and really ¨lock in¨ on the important aspects of adult life. Since I will be out of high school, I plan to still stick around East Rockaway, not only for my siblings and family (and because I will be commuting from home anyways), but also to maintain friendships I have gained with underclassmen. I plan to support all ERHS events, including sports games and Rock Rivalry of course! Overall, I plan to stay connected with my fellow peers and plan to be more organized and get involved in college.”
  4. Since Rock Rivalry is coming up, what are your opinions on the tradition? “Personally, I find Rock Rivalry to be an amazing experience and tradition. I have been involved in Rock Rivalry since freshman year (COVID year), and have been drawn to it ever since. Though sometimes it gets tough, it’s fun to collaborate with classmates that you may not be familiar with on a big project that could result in a victory. Nothing is more fun than coming together with fellow classmates to produce an entire show (and more) for everyone to see! The tradition is something I will hold near and dear to my heart as it is something that every ERHS student/alumni can bond over.”
  5. What has been your biggest regret? “My biggest regret from my high school career has definitely been not taking advantage of extra help sessions and not staying on top of assignments. Earlier in high school, I never took advantage of teachers’ extra help sessions because I felt that if I went, I would not get the help I needed. Well, I was completely mistaken. My senior year, I have taken advantage of any and all opportunities to get extra help, especially in a class where I may not be doing the best. Teachers are always willing to help you no matter the circumstance. Along with that, I sometimes end up falling behind on assignments (which I do not recommend!) Nothing is worse than coming home from a long day and having to complete multiple assignments that you left for the last minute. I am a major procrastinator so I struggle with this issue a lot! One thing I can say is: have an agenda. Having an agenda book with me has helped me stay on task as well as stay organized with all my classwork and homework. Both of these things are some of my biggest regrets not doing earlier in high school so I can only hope that you won’t follow in my footsteps!”
  6. What are you going to miss most about ERHS? “One thing I am going to miss most at ERHS is the familiar faces. Unlike high school, college is drastically different. It is very possible that you won’t see the same face twice. One thing I love about ERHS is that it is a tight-knit community! Just walking in the hallways, you can give a little smile to a familiar face and just know that it is a mutual thing, even though you may have never talked to that person before. Along with the students, staff has also proven to be so welcoming to any and everyone. Knowing that I am in a classroom with other students and staff members who acknowledge who you are is really a special feeling. I would not want to have it any other way and I am sad to say that I will really miss that feeling when I graduate.”
  7. What is your greatest accomplishment? “My greatest accomplishment would definitely be getting accepted into all my colleges I applied for. Being a first generation high school graduate, getting accepted into college was the biggest accomplishment in my life. My father attended ERHS, but did not complete his senior year, so getting accepted into the 4 out of 4 schools I applied to was the greatest feeling in the world, along with getting accepted to my target school!”
  8. What people (family, friends, coaches, teachers, etc) at ERHS have had the most positive influence on your life? “ A person who has had the most impact on my life during my time here at ERHS would have to be Mr. Gerken, or as I call him “Gerk” or “Gerky Turkey.” What I would really like to call him though, is a friend, an excellent mentor, an inspiration–all the above. Mr. Gerken has put in all his effort for this school for numerous years. Coming into ERHS, all I heard was ¨Oh my gosh, Gerken this and Gerken that, Gerken, Gerken, Gerken!¨ Since my father attended ERHS, he was also taught by Mr. Gerken, and still keeping in touch with him to this day. Mr. Gerken is not only a positive influence in my life, but he is also a big part of who I am now. Starting my softball career I was a little uneasy at the fact that I was starting the sport later than my peers. However, Gerken did not care. He saw my potential and helped me improve year by year, even after I had made the move to varsity. That is the type of person I want to keep in my life for the rest of it. Mr. Gerken is one of a kind and truly knows how to make you feel your best self and show YOU how you can make any situation you may be in three times better. Mr. Gerken will forever have a special place in my heart and he will always be the one teacher I will come back to visit, no matter how long it may be since my graduation. He is one of a kind and I am proud to call him not only my coach and teacher, but a fantastic person and friend to me.”
  9. What is one piece of advice you would give to an underclassmen? “One piece of advice I would give to an underclassmen would be to never let anything get in the way of what YOU want to do. Many times people have told me, ¨Oh well, that’s a lot of work for you, are you sure you want to do it?¨ Do not let that get in the way of what you want to do. People who dictate what you want to do in YOUR life are the people that you should probably distance yourself from, as they can hold you back from your goals.”
  10. Any words of encouragement you want to share about high school? “If you have a dream, reach for it! No matter how unrealistic you may think it is, if you put your mind to it, it is bound to happen! Everything happens for a reason, so if it does not go your way, just know that fate has something better coming your way!”


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About the Contributor
Zoe Cerna
Zoe Cerna, Student Writer
Zoe Cerna is a sophomore this year and an active member of The Gull. This is her second year writing for The Gull newspaper. She loves cheerleading, reading, the show Riverdale, and spending time with family and friends. She is a very determined person about all aspects of life.

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    Alicia MartinezFeb 13, 2024 at 8:16 am

    You have shown that no matter your circumstance you can do and become whatever you want, your resilience, strength and determination has always been something I’ve admired about you. Watching you grow from this little baby to this beautiful smart, sweet, caring young woman has been nothing more than amazing. I know you will do great things and I am super proud of you and all of your accomplishments. I can’t wait to see you graduate and go out there and take on the world. I love you always and forever.
    Titi Alicia ❤️