Assemblyman Brian Curran recognized five students from Rockville Centre — Nicolas Albarano, Kathleen Conlon, Morgan Harloff, Michael Muscerella and Ali Pullaro — for making a positive difference in their community on May 6 at the Lynbrook Public Library.
“Young people are powerful,” Curran said. “All throughout history, youth movements have had a tremendous impact on the way society thinks, acts and runs. Even today, it is young people who continue to lead the charge in the fight for equality and justice for all.”
All five of the young leaders from Rockville Centre set an example, Curran said, by using their skills and ingenuity to help make the community better.
Albarano is a junior at South Side High School, where he has taken on various leadership roles. He is the junior class president, president of the Current Events Club, a peer mediator, a member of the school skiing and Italian clubs and the Tri-M Music Honor Society, and a pianist for the Jazz Ensemble.
Albarano has also learned the importance of a close relationship between the school and the community. He is a volunteer at the Sandel Senior Center, and has partnered with community organizations including the PTA and the Mayor’s Youth Task Force during election forums for the Board of Education and village government.
Through collaborating with RVC Blue Speaks — a nonprofit volunteer organization whose goal is to help families affected by autism — Albarano furthered his understanding of empathy and acceptance.
This summer will be his third working at the Hewitt Elementary Ace Program with teachers and children. Being a camp counselor, he said, has challenged him to be more creative and patient.
Albarano said he enjoys being active in both his school and community, and credits his family and teachers for raising him to be the young man he is today.
Conlon is a junior at Kellenberg Memorial High School. She is a member of the National Honor Society, the St. Martin’s After School Recreation and Tutoring Club and the Service Allegiance Leadership and Teamwork Club, which helps the school community with various events throughout the year. “I am involved in numerous service clubs at Kellenberg which have provided me many opportunities to develop leadership skills, such as strong communication and the ability to work collaboratively with others,” Conlon wrote in an email. “I believe these are essential to being an effective leader.”
She is taking part in Kellenberg’s Blue and Gold competition as a member of the Blue team’s tap squad, and is also involved in the General Student Organization, in which students work alongside faculty members and parents to promote the school’s goals.
“My parents have always encouraged me to look for ways to help give back to the community,” Conlon said.
She worked as a volunteer at Camp ANCHOR for several years, during both the summer and winter programs. “I have volunteered there for the past three years and have been hired as a staff member for this upcoming summer,” she said.
Conlon also plays travel club volleyball for the Atlantic Volleyball Academy and is a former competitive Irish dancer with the Hagen School of Irish Dance.
Harloff lives on Cambridge Street in Rockville Centre, and is a junior at South Side High. She plays varsity soccer, and is a co-captain of the girls’ lacrosse team. She was ranked among Newsday’s top 100 Long Island girls’ lacrosse players this year, and will play for Stony Brook University starting next year. The Herald was unable to reach Harloff as of press time on Tuesday.
Muscerella grew up in Rockville Centre, and is a junior, and an International Baccalaureate student, at South Side who is always willing to help his fellow classmates in and out of the classroom.
He is a student athlete who helps lead by example on and off the field. He plays varsity football, and is the goaltender for the boys’ varsity lacrosse team. He helps train young athletes, and referees youth lacrosse matches.
Muscerella is a member of the DECA Business Club at the high school, which helps students develop leadership skills and prepares them for a future in business. He was one of 14 students who qualified to compete at the international competition in Orlando, Florida. In his spare time he volunteers for Island Harvest, picking up excess food and delivering it to local pantries, and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, helping to raise money for childhood cancer research. He has also volunteered for the Ryan O’Shea Foundation.
Pullaro is another active leader in her school and community. The South Side senior will attend the University of Michigan this fall. She has been class president for the past four years, and has helped raise $7,000 and organize activities for Homecoming and the Junior Carnival.
As president of the school’s Backpacks Foundation Club, she leads roughly 30 of her peers collecting and donating school supplies and backpacks.
Pullaro has also worked closely with the Long Island-based nonprofit organization Choice For All to collect donations for younger students in Roosevelt. The high school club has distributed school supplies to over 400 students, and Pullaro has been encouraged to continue work in community service as she heads to college.
In addition to her academics, music and track play a large part in Pullaro’s life. She plays the flute and both alto and soprano saxophone. She also has taken part in winter track all four years of high school, and ran varsity cross-country her junior year.
“I definitely learned a lot over the past four years when it comes to leadership,” Pullaro said. “I certainly improved with public speaking and figured out how to delegate, however I also learned how to be a good listener. I found a balance between voicing my opinion and taking a minute to really consider what others had to say.”