Whether she’s playing her guitar or ukulele at Interact coffee houses, leading the Italian Club, coordinating props between acts as a member of the Gold Masque stage crew, or being a student in class, Maria Torraca does it all with a smile and a positive attitude. It is these attributes, among others, that stood out to the Ramapo faculty and resulted in her being named as the most recent Senior Spotlight recipient.
The Senior Spotlight award is conferred monthly on a student who displays behavior and character that positively influences the culture of the Ramapo community. Every member of the faculty is invited to nominate a student and then, once a list of nominees is compiled, the faculty members vote on a winner. The criteria for the award includes, but is not limited to, respectfulness, integrity, kindness, modesty, leadership and charity. This month’s recipient has demonstrated all of these qualities, and more.
Maria was nominated by faculty member, Ms. Mitchell, who explained that the senior was an ideal candidate for the award because, “She stands out as one of the most gregarious, positive, insightful, and involved students I’ve had the pleasure of meeting during my time at Ramapo. She comes into class with an infectious smile every day and her upbeat attitude transmits to all those around her.” Maria’s enthusiasm and kindness were evident to other faculty members as well, such as Mrs. Loccke, who wholeheartedly concurred with this choice by echoing Ms. Mitchell’s praises, “Maria is a determined, compassionate, and positive young woman. She serves as an outstanding role model for students and teachers alike. Well deserved!”
The senior has enhanced our school environment in many areas. In addition to being President of the Italian Club, a member of the Gold Masque Stage Crew, and a member of the Interact Club, as previously mentioned, Maria also serves as a Student Ambassador, assisting our freshman in their transition to high school. In addition, she is a member of the National Honor Society and the World Language Honor Society.
Maria has spent her high school years not only making a difference inside the walls of our school but she has also been an outstanding representative of Ramapo outside of them. As a sophomore she participated in the “Heroes and Cool Kids” Program where she visited Eisenhower Middle School to help sixth grade students grapple with such issues as bullying, nutrition, drugs, alcohol, and peer pressure. Furthermore, during spring break last year she, with a student delegation, traveled to Houston, Texas to aid in the Hurricane Harvey recovery effort.
When asked what being named this month’s Senior Spotlight recipient meant to her, Maria replied, “I am extremely honored and humbled.” After reflecting on what she would like her Ramapo legacy to be, the senior thoughtfully added, “Throughout my four years of high school, I have been very involved in community service. I believe that giving back to the community has helped open my eyes to different aspects of life. I would like to be remembered for my friendliness and for setting an example to be kind to everyone.”
This Senior Spotlight winner will be majoring in nursing in college with the goal of becoming a nurse practitioner in pediatrics. Maria’s young patients will certainly be lucky to have such a caring, compassionate and enthusiastic medical professional providing them with excellent care, undoubtedly while doing so with a smile and a positive attitude.
By: Sarah Charages, Staff Writer
Featured Image: Maria (right) performing a song at the Interact coffee house this year. (Photo Courtesy of Maria Torraca)