Suffolk County Legislator Susan A. Berland recognized two students who are now graduates from the Half Hollow Hills Central School District for overcoming obstacles during their high school careers.
Each year, Berland presents her eponymous “Overcoming Obstacles Award,” to a student from each high school in the 16th Legislative District who has demonstrated an ability to rise above the challenges they have faced. The award was born of Berland’s own adversity, having been diagnosed with dyslexia in her senior year of high school after years of confronting challenges in the classroom. This year, the majority of the awards were announced during virtual student award ceremonies due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During her time at Half Hollow Hills High School West, recent graduate and “Overcoming Obstacles” awardee Samantha Deiches earned other awards including the Harry P Jacobsky Memorial Award, for which she was chosen by the superintendent for her determination to succeed in the face of obstacles, and the Coaches Award for both lacrosse and ice hockey. She also obtained her Silver Award from the Girl Scouts of America for her puppet theater project for special needs pre-school. Samantha also volunteers for various sports programs such as Hills Challenger Lacrosse as a peer coach, the Dix Hills Ice Rink, the New York Islanders Learn to Skate Girls Hockey Program and the Girl Scout Gold Award Skating Project.
“I am very proud of everything Samantha has worked so hard for, and I know that she has a very bright future ahead of her,” said Caryl Deiches, Samantha Deiches’ mother.
Half Hollow Hills High School East’s recent graduate and “Overcoming Obstacles” awardee Serena Nambiar succeeded throughout high school with the help of a dedicated team, including her teachers, school administration, and the endless support of her family. As a senior, Serena attended Wilson Tech as a student in the Graphic Art Skills program and obtained a Regents level diploma. Throughout her educational career, Serena has brought her humor, dedication, and drive to everything she’s done, making her a celebrated student by faculty and peers alike.
“Serena had the motivation, strength, and tenacity to work hard, overcome academic and social obstacles, and persevere,” said Anand Nambiar, Serena Nambiar’s father. “She graduated with a Regents diploma and will be attending Farmingdale State College in hopes of obtaining a psychology degree or a degree in social work. Her goal is to give back to the community and help other children to overcome their challenges and obstacles so they can also unlock their highest potential.”
“In life, we all face adversity,” said Legislator Berland. “The obstacles I faced in my educational and professional careers have been challenging, but not defeating. My parents always told me that if I worked a little harder than the person on my left and a lot harder than the person on my right, I could accomplish anything that I wanted to. Samantha and Serena have demonstrated, through their own hard work, determination and the courage of their convictions, that they too can accomplish anything. Their success is also a testament to the wonderful Half Hollow Hills community and their incredible parents and families. I wish them nothing but the best in their future endeavors.”
Legislator Berland and Serena Nambiar