Personal Essay

By Cameron Stanton
Greenport High School

I am fortunate to attend Greenport High School, the eastern most high school on Long Island’s North Fork. The school characteristic that I enjoy most is student body diversity. Nearly one third of the students are first generation immigrants studying English as a new language. This quality within my high school affords opportunities to facilitate integration of students, and positively impact the school community. The greatest example that I have been involved in is through the performing arts. As a rule, I pursue nearly every opportunity to perform in the arts at my high school. Performances range from singing the national anthem at events, to taking a lead role in our yearly musical, or singing at a community venue for the holiday season. Most performances benefit from greater student participation.

This is where I have found my niche, recruitment. Greenport High School is small school with under fifty students per graduating class. These numbers afford the ability to observe my fellow students closely and ultimately identify ‘superpowers.’ I believe all students have something special to offer our institution but barriers, whether cultural or communicative, create difficulty. After identifying these individuals’ unique skill sets, I often approach them tactfully to avoid making them feel uncomfortable. I may have a friend help translate to avoid difficulty communicating. The goal is to make the student aware that an opportunity exists to share their valuable skill. These individuals may have excellent singing voices, or the ability to dance well. I recruit these students to perform and offer tutoring in learning the arrangement or lyrics.

Others are talented artists, a great value to bring aboard in production set design. I find satisfaction in being part of this integrative process. I believe connecting with a person’s value and including them in a creative part of the school community engenders a cohesive bond within the student body. The personal contribution to Cornell’s learning community that I offer is strengthening the sense of community through university activities outside of the classroom. In doing so, perhaps ‘any student,’ in this case my future classmates, will discover their ‘superpower.’