Brianna Sander has a lot on her plate.
Maintaining a weighted GPA of more than 100 is hard enough, as she excels in her advanced placement classes, but the Rocky Point senior still finds time to be a part of the school’s art, math and national honor societies; is on the school’s volleyball, basketball and track and field teams; and is also a member of Athletes Helping Athletes.
“It’s busy work, but it’s not that bad,” she said, laughing.
While Sander was on her school’s website, she came across a list that her school put together, of the available scholarships in the area. She came across the $1,000 award from the Sound Beach Civic Association, in which the only requirement was that you live in Sound Beach.
Each student who applied had to submit a resume and construct an essay detailing their contributions to the school and the community, while listing the various activities and organizations they’ve been a part of, and detail how they’ve helped both the student and the surrounding area.
Sound Beach Civic President Bea Ruberto said 12 students applied for the scholarship.
“We had some really great kids,” she said of this year’s submissions. “First, we look at their grades, and then we look at their community service and the kind of work experience they have.”
Ruberto said that from the original submissions, the civic members narrowed the candidates down to four, who were all in terrific academic standing.
Sander was then chosen to be the most deserving of the four.
“She was very impressive right away,” Ruberto said of Sander. “From everything I’ve read, she’s just really involved. The couple of the things I mentioned are just a few of the activities she participates in. And she’s ranked right up there in her class.”
The civic also received letters of recommendation from the student’s teachers. Ruberto said one teacher described Sander as “the embodiment of determination and professionalism that is rarely seen in someone so young. Whether she is preparing for a political science exam or helping to sell pink ribbons for a breast cancer fundraiser, Brianna can be counted on to go above and beyond.”
Through the Math and National Honor Society, Sander also provides tutoring. She was one of the driving forces of the Dig Pink volleyball breast cancer fundraiser, which Sander said is one of the No. 1 fundraisers in Suffolk County for breast cancer awareness, in which her team performs a big game while collecting donations.
“All of the organizations and sports I’m involved in do major fundraisers,” she said. “I’m always busy; always around the school fundraising.”
Sander said she was surprised when Ruberto called her to inform her she won the scholarship.
“I didn’t recognize the number, so I was so excited and surprised when I found out what the call was for,” said Sander, who will be attending Binghamton University in the fall and majoring in biological sciences. “It’s a lot of money, $1,000 will help a lot. It’s big. I was really glad and thankful.”
Ruberto is more thankful to have a student like Sander leaving such a positive impact on such a small hamlet like Sound Beach.
“This year we got some really impressive applications — Brianna stood out as a well-rounded student-athlete,” Ruberto said. “We are proud to have her in our community.”