Amelia Carito, a 2004 Longwood High School graduate, is now...

Amelia Carito, a 2004 Longwood High School graduate, is now a special education teacher at PS 151 in Queens. (Jan. 1, 2011) Credit: Handout


Age: 18
Year graduated: 2004 Longwood High School
Interests: Writing, volunteer work
What's Ahead: Journalism major at Randolph-Macon College in Lynchburg, Va.

Age: 25
Current residence: Bellmore
Education: Bachelor’s degree in women's studies and psychology, Stony Brook University, 2008; master’s degree in special education, CUNY Hunter, January 2011.
Occupation: Special education teacher, PS 151, Queens.

“Kindness inspires kindness,” that’s the motto Carito tries to live by every day.

From going out of her way to help another teacher, to picking up something for someone in the subway, sometimes it’s the simple things that make a difference, she said.

It’s also what she encourages her fourth-grade special education students at PS 151 in Queens to consider.

Carito, who started at the school in March at the recommendation of a professor to the school’s principal, hands out “kindness awards” to the students.

“One of my students said, ‘Oh, if you need help with anything let me know.’ I let him know I was proud of him.”

Carito’s original plan for a journalism career changed after taking classes in psychology and women’s studies at Stony Brook University, where she transferred after a semester at Randolph-Macon. Then an internship with an elementary school psychologist came along.

“That’s when I realized teachers made the real difference,” she said.

Carito, who lives in Bellmore, graduated in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in women's studies and psychology from Stony Brook and then a master’s degree in special education at CUNY Hunter in January.

A three-time donor to Wigs for Kids, which uses hair to make wigs for children undergoing chemotherapy, Carito said she’s probably going to do it again.

“I feel like it’s just something that affects the kids. It’s hard not to have chemotherapy and lose your hair. It’s such a social thing,” Carito said.