Diana Guzman has a strategy for the new-kid jitters: She literally joins the club.
Guzman, one of Newsday's 12 Extraordinary Seniors, arrived from the Dominican Republic three years ago. To combat the unease she felt from being in a new environment, one of the first things she did when she got to Central Islip High School was join the Multicultural Club. It worked so well for her that she encourages other immigrant schoolmates to do the same.
"They were trying to raise awareness of the different cultures since we live in such a diverse place," Guzman, 19, said of the club's members.See alsoWrite a message to your LI graduatePhotosAnd here are the 2015 valedictoriansSee alsoSearch: Where LI's smartest are going to college
She enjoyed the multicultural interaction in the club so much that she started bringing some of her own ideas to the table.
Guzman, who lives in Central Islip, became club president in her senior year and became the first student to write in Spanish for the school newspaper. "There were many students who didn't speak English, so they couldn't read the paper," she said.
Guzman's other bright idea quadrupled the club's membership from a handful of students to about 20 under her leadership. The boost was a result of making sure the group met at times when there weren't conflicts with other school activities.
Guzman wants to eventually work in human resources to continue her exposure to diverse cultures.
"It's important that we know about different people so we don't have stereotypes," she said.
Guzman will study business administration at Suffolk County Community College.
"I hope to experience the different activities and professors who've been around and have lots of experience."
WHAT MAKES YOU EXTRAORDINARY:
"I just like to bring who I am to the table and get more Spanish students involved in activities in school."