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Hicksville's Best & Brightest

Salutatorian: Alessandra Riccio 

We’ve all heard the saying about birds of a feather. And for Hicksville High School Class of 2014 salutatorian Alessandra Riccio the flock she was with pushed her to work harder and achieve more. 

 

“People around me strived to do better in school and activities, and that pushed me to do better to keep up with them. I saw everyone else around me was doing it, so I was motivated,” says Riccio. “And

even working together in class or on a project and seeing different ideas, it makes you a better thinker and opens your mind to how you can approach situations—both in and out of school.” 

 

She counts the top students in her class as some of her closest friends, and says being named the number two spot with a GPA of 102.82 is a great honor. 

 

 “It’s great to realize all your hard work for the past four years has paid off. It’s really rewarding,” Riccio says. “A lot of my friends were in the top, and everyone influenced me in that way. I’m glad I was able to be a part of that.” 

 

In addition to her friends, Riccio says she was inspired to work hard by her cousin, who passed away two years ago. 

 

“She worked hard, no matter how sick she was. She showed me that I can work hard too, because she kept going no matter what,” says Riccio. “She pushed me to go further and evoked my interest in the medical field.” 

 

She also credits her calculus teacher Jason Cetron for being a constant source of support the past two years. 

 

“He was more than a teacher, you could talk to him about anything. He was so understanding and encouraging,” Riccio says. “He would go out of his way to help you, he was there every day after school for as long as you needed him and to make you feel comfortable with the materials. He made you feel like you could accomplish anything, not just in school but in life.” 

 

Riccio has an extensive list of extracurricular activities, including being a part of the swim team, numerous Honor Societies, Ecology club, Science Olympiad and Robotics team. She’s also worked as a swim instructor and volunteered as a Vacation Bible School teacher and at Winthrop University Hospital. 

 

She says the activity she has the fondest memories of is the Olympics of the Visual Arts team. The team worked on an art project for several months, then traveled to Saratoga Springs, NY to compete against other schools. The past two years, the team has won third and second place, consecutively. 

 

As she heads off to Stony Brook University in the fall to pursue a biochemical major with a pre-Physician’s Assistant track, she says she’ll miss the classmates she’s grown up with the past few years.

 

“I’ll miss seeing the same people every day. You go into college and it’s not the same people you’ve been with. It’s a new environment and before it was almost automatic; you knew everyone’s personality and sometimes you take that for granted until you realize you don’t have that anymore,” Riccio says. 


News

The community is rallying together to raise funds for a Hicksville native who has been battling to get a service dog.

Nancy Burpee is a 49-year-old competitive swimmer and single mother with a rare genetic terminal illness called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), which causes the deterioration of the connective tissues, tendons, ligaments and vital organs.

Local veterans groups and residents gathered at Hicksville Middle School Veterans Memorial Park recently to honor brave servicemen and woman, past and present. William M. Gouse Jr. Post 3211 hosted Hicksville’s annual Veterans Day ceremony on Nov. 11.

The ceremonies began with the pledge and national anthem sung by Hicksville High School student Cassie Pursoo, accompanied by trumpeter Conner Hoelzer. Monsignor Thomas Costa from Our Lady of Church in Hicksville gave the invocation.


Sports

The fall athletic season seemed to move quickly, but all teams had outstanding seasons with all teams reaching the playoffs except for two who had their best season in many years.

In addition to athletic acheivements, all of the varsity programs at Hicksville High School also participated in raising more than $4,000 for several charities this past fall: pediatric cancer, breast cancer awareness and cystic fibrosis.

Football was Mike Torrellas’ heart and soul. He also liked a good Turkey Bowl.  

Unfortunately, the Hicksville Crusaders co-founder wasn’t able to witness the program’s inaugural event, which took place Saturday, Nov. 8.

Torrellas passed away suddenly last December due to a blood clot, but the spirit and drive of the man who wore the number 53 and tragically passed at that age still surrounds the Crusaders football program.


Calendar

Model Railroad Open House

November 28-30

Popcorn Balls

November 30

Craft Fair

November 30



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com