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This Week's Student Spotlight: Lauren Gruffi

There is nothing this tremendous student, athlete, and volunteer can't conquer.

School: Albertus Magnus High School
Age: 17
Grade: Senior
Town: New City

With her senior year just beginning, Lauren Gruffi's high school achievements are already above and beyond impressive. She is such a well-rounded student athlete, it is amazing there are enough hours in the day for her to complete everything she is involved with.

With a 4.0 GPA she is a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist, currently enrolling in the finalist process. When she graduates next June she will have taken a total of ten AP courses.

  • AP Language and Composition and AP World History - sophomore year
  • AP US History, AP Calculus AB, AP Chemistry, and AP Literature and Composition - junior year
  • AP Calculus BC, AP Psychology, AP European History, AP Biology - senior year

She is already an AP scholar with distinction, having received a score of five on the six AP courses she has studied over the past two years. In addition to taking four AP courses senior year she is also taking Physics and College English.

Gruffi is also is in the National Honor Society as well as in Math, Science, Social Studies, English, and Italian Honor Societies.

She has been recognized and honored as a Lacrosse Academic All-American for exhibiting excellence in the classroom, on the field, and in the community.

Not only is she brilliant but she is a standout athlete. Having played Varsity soccer and lacrosse all four years at Albertus.

"I play defense in soccer, usually outside fullback.  My favorite soccer memory is last year's sectional game against Westlake. We won in a penalty kick shootout after playing quadruple overtime.  I am looking forward to our games against Pearl River and Tappan Zee this year, as they should be close, well-contested match-ups, and I played travel soccer with many girls on those teams," said Lauren Gruffi.

As a freshman she was named All League Honorable Mention, her sophomore year she was All League and All County Honorable Mention, junior year she was named captain and All League. As her senior soccer season commences she is still the captain and looking forward to a fun and exciting year.

"Lauren was an easy choice as captain of our team.  Although she is not overly outspoken, her leadership qualities are shown through the  example she sets. She is the first ones at practice, she listens, works incredibly hard, and sincerely cares for her teammates. At the same time, she is not afraid to bring the group in and get them refocused. Her quiet disposition has a calming effect on her teammates and as a leader you need to show poise in times of pressure," said Tim Gavan, Head Coach of Girl's Soccer.

Her leadership skills combined with dedication, focus and integrity have proven to make her an exemplary student.

She was nominated by Duke University Talent Identification Program(TIP), which uses standardized testing to identify academically gifted students. Gruffi applied and was selected as one of only 24 students from all over the country to  attend the Field Study program just this past June in Las Cruces, Costa Rica. Her group focused on tropical medicine and ethnobiology.

"I stayed at Las Cruces Biological Station in Coto Brus, which is operated by the Organization for Tropical Studies and is located in the tropical rainforest. I delved into the topics of tropical medicine and ethnobiology through engaging lectures by knowledgeable and experienced professors and interactive, intensive fieldwork.  The tropical medicine component of the program focused on common tropical diseases and infections, including Chagas' Disease, Tuberculosis, malaria, HIV/AIDS, Leshmania, and roundworm and flatworm infections.  We learned the impact of disease, infection, and most importantly, poverty, on underdeveloped, third-world countries and the necessity for global health outreach; dedication and innovation must continue to administer health care to remote locations and fight towards the eradication of fatal, highly threatening diseases.  In order to enhance our global health experience in Costa Rica, we visited an EBAIS, which is Costa Rica's primary care clinic under the CAJA system (universal health care)," said Gruffi.

Not only was she studying but she experienced a culture like none she has ever seen. The students were given an opportunity to meet the native people of Cost Rica. 

"We were visited by the indigenous Ngobe tribe and heard from a traditional healer and midwife, which I found very interesting and intriguing.  Also, we visited the indigenous Boruca community, where we learned of their attempts to preserve their culture for future generations.  I was exposed to the extreme poverty and severe living conditions of indigenous communities and was saddened to learn of their struggle for survival," said Gruffi.

Such a real life experience that would leave a lasting impression for most people, never mind a teenager. A rare experience that most of us will never have, considering beautiful tropical beaches and spectacular scuba diving are associated when you hear Costa Rica.

Gruffi has been selected to attend other leadership programs over the past couple of years, such as the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine which she attended last summer, in July 2011 in Washington, DC. She also graduated from the Teen Leadership Rockland- Cornell University Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development Program in May 2011, as well as the Public Speaking Academy in the fall of 2011. She attended the Brown University Pre-College Program in July 2009 and the Cornell Cooperative Career Exploration in June 2011.

This past summer after she returned from Costa Rica she interned at the Alliance for a Living Ocean (ALO) in Ships Bottom, NJ.

"I participated in summer programs, including a weekly seining and bay critter roundup for younger children.  I also assisted with a beach profiling research project throughout the summer. Another intern and I measured beach profiles to track the erosion and deposition of sand following a beach replenishment project.  Finally, my internship involved office hours to prepare for Clean Ocean Zone’s Tour for the Shore in LBI and writing various pieces for the local newspaper," said Gruffi.

A testament must be made to Gruffi's time management skills because somehow she still finds time in her hectic schedule to volunteer and tutor. On certain Sunday afternoons she can be found volunteering on the maternity floor at Nyack Hospital in the Mother-Baby Unit. Currently she is planning the second annual which is a fund-raising and awareness event she conceptualized, planned and organized last year. The Albertus Girl's soccer team played a game against Nanuet High School last year.  This year's event is on October 13, 2012, at Albertus Magnus against Tappan Zee High School.

Lauren Gruffi is not your average student. She is an outstanding asset to her school, team and community.

"She is an exceptional student and person. Her dedication in the classroom and in the community just highlights the type of person and leader she is. I can guarantee that no matter what college she attends or what career path she chooses, she will be successful," said Coach Tim Gavan.

She plans on studying medicine in college and is currently applying to eight-year medical programs as well as four-year pre-medicine undergraduate schools.

"I would also love to pursue global health studies in college and travel abroad to administer health care to impoverished, underprivileged nations," said Gruffi.

It's not every day that a teenagers plan for the future includes a prospective outreach to extend beyond our borders. So far, in her 17 years she has successfully achieved what every parent would want for their child. 

Wherever life takes you Lauren Gruffi, you are sure to achieve the highest success.

Best of luck and enjoy your senior year!

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