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This Week's Student Spotlight: Chrystal Thomas

Learning and absorbing as much as she can.

School: Junior at Albertus Magnus High School
Age: 16

Chrystal Thomas is the kind of student who loves to learn and loves a challenge. She has applied to the Mentor/Talented Students Honors Program offered at Rockland Community College (RCC). This is a highly competitive two year program.

If accepted she will attend RCC her senior year of high school, taking college courses along with required high school classes needed for graduation. This allows her to still receive her high school diploma. By the end of the two years she will have completed an associates degree.

According to Hannah Lowney the co-coordinator of the MTS Honors Program at RCC there is an average of approximately 350 students in the current program.

"This is a very competitive program, allowing students to transfer into Ivy League schools as a junior. With the small class size and almost all of the professors having doctorate degrees the program is geared to meet this goal. We have close to a 100% graduation rate from four year schools," said Lowney.

Chrystal Thomas has gone through the rigorous application process.

"After researching about the program I thought it was a wonderful idea. Basically, I would be taking two years of college at a highly recognized program while saving my mom a bunch of money.  College costs quite a lot these days, however the cost of participation in the two year program is not that different from the cost of two years at my high school. Many students who do well in the program often transfer to schools such as Harvard, Yale, and Columbia," said Thomas.

This take charge attitude really sums up who Chrystal Thomas is.

Thomas is very active in all aspects of student life at Albertus. She is involved in numerous school clubs, activities and sports. Over the past three years she has been involved with drama, business, newspaper, interact, future health care professionals, art, yearbook, international, and mock trial clubs.

Then there's the sports that she plays.

"Of course being in so many clubs does not hinder my performance in my sports. Since freshmen year I have played tennis, golf, volleyball, and track. I had never played any of these sports in my life before. My goal was to learn how to play as many sports as I could during high school," said Thomas.

Her self-confidence combined with a passion to learn new things has allowed her to grow into a well-rounded and experienced student. Her leadership qualities have helped her renew a new club for the school.

"I have re-established and am now president of my school's Anime Club. I felt very accomplished after finding out that I had tripled the number of members than the previous Anime Club from five years ago. So far, I have successfully organized and raised money for two trips this year: we went to the New York Anime Convention at the Jacob Javits Center and we went to see Hayao Miazaki's animation The Secret World of Arrietty. I'm just glad everyone is having fun," said Thomas.

The Anime Club meets once a week and the 14 members meet under Chrystal's direction.

"I let each club member decide which guild they wanted to join. The purpose of the guilds is to give everyone something fun to do because not everyone likes, knows, or wants to know how to draw, they might be writers, critics, chefs, musicians, etc.," said Thomas.

Thomas is also in the Business Club which came in second place in the SUNY Rockland's 2011 Business Competition.

"Our business, we were supposed to create a fake business, was a hangout for teenagers in Rockland county, which would be called The Hangout. Teens would be able to hang out there after school, students could volunteer there and tutor, and there would be a dance party almost every Friday night. We went into a lot of detail when it came to our 'business' and that's why I think we were able to win second place.  Also, we had a great coach the mother of the business club's president," said Thomas.

When she's not on the field playing sports, participating in school club competitions, creating new clubs or concentrating on her school work, she volunteers.

Thomas spent a large portion of last summer in Rochester, NY, volunteering for the Salvation Army and the Wellness Coalition Center.

"At the Wellness Coalition Center the area I was in was Art Therapy for adults. We all came together as a group and painted a bench that was to be donated," said Thomas. "At the Salvation Army I was a camp counselor. I was in charge of a group of about nine kids ages five to seven. I would make sure they behaved, sing with them, help them read, and guide them while we were on trips. I honestly had a lot of fun there, and wouldn't mind volunteering again."

Thomas is an inspiring young student who fears no obstacles when it comes to attaining her goals.  Her leadership skills along with her determination will drive her to great things.

Best of luck Chrystal Thomas!

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