A West Islip High School senior who has autism is building on her record of achievement across three platforms — athletics, academics and community service.
Helen Filosa, 18, currently is ranked fourth in Suffolk County in the shot put, a sport she picked up at the age of 10. She has made state qualifications for shot put in each of the past three years and was named her school’s most valuable player for winter track and field in her sophomore year.
“I just have fun — that’s my strategy,” Filosa said when asked about her secret to success in the sport. “I also work out with my dad every day.”
In addition, Filosa is one of the top students in her cosmetology class at Eastern Suffolk BOCES’ Islip Academic Center and is one of two pupils able to apply acrylic nails. She likes the class because it allows her “to be artistic,” she said.
Filosa was one of 12 local students to be highlighted as a “success story” as part of a BOCES calendar released in 2014 — an achievement she said she personally considers to be her “most meaningful.”
In her free time, Filosa volunteers with the American Power Museum in Farmingdale, the West Islip Beautification Society and Almost Home Animal Rescue & Adoption in Bohemia.