Kaylise McClure, from Sachem North, is Newsday's 2024 Marcus Henry Award winner. NewsdayTV's Carissa Kellman reports. Credit: Newsday/James Carbone; Photo Credit: Peter Frutkoff, Dawn McCormick

Kaylise McClure soon will embark on an arduous student-athlete journey.

The Sachem North graduate will continue her field hockey goalkeeping career at Mercy University while trying to balance the coursework of a biomedical sciences major on a premed track, which she hopes will lead her to medical school and someday becoming a doctor.

Perhaps no one is more prepared than McClure, who joined the Brentwood Explorers at 14 before becoming a certified EMT at 17. She also was accepted into the Congress of Future Medical Leaders, which led her to study medicine in Vietnam last summer as part of the Future Doctors Abroad Program.

McClure was presented Newsday’s Marcus A. Henry Award, annually given to a Long Island high school student who excels in the classroom and athletics and displays leadership in the community, on Thursday morning at Sachem North High School.

The honor is named in memory of Henry, a former Newsday sports reporter and dedicated community leader who died on April 1, 2014, at age 41.

“It’s definitely something that feels good because you try to do as much as you can, even if you go unnoticed,” McClure said. “To be recognized, it definitely feels good that all the hard work paid off. I’m just grateful that I had people that recognized me.”

Christine McClure, Kaylise’s mother, said: “Being a single mom, I always wondered if I was doing enough. Today makes me know that I am. She has been amazing.”

Kaylise McClure, with her mother Christine, outside Sachem North High...

Kaylise McClure, with her mother Christine, outside Sachem North High School in Lake Ronkonkoma. Credit: James Carbone

McClure is the 11th recipient of the award and the first from Sachem North.

The six other finalists this year were Sacred Heart’s Kaitlyn Cole, Long Beach’s Troy DeFrancesco, Seaford’s Ashley Diaz, Massapequa’s Briana Neary, Riverhead’s Deanna North and Roslyn’s Lucas Weisser.

McClure started playing lacrosse, which she also played at the varsity level, in kindergarten. But field hockey soon became her “heart and soul,” as her mother described it.

A two-year captain for Sachem North’s field hockey team, McClure made 228 saves and earned All-Long Island first-team honors last fall.

“The second she stepped on the field for us her junior year, she became a leader, a captain right away,” Sachem North field hockey coach Carly Sharp said. “I say it all the time, just so humble and just so — it’s just so hard to put in words because she’s genuinely just, she was everything.”

Kaylise McClure at her home in Lake Grove.

Kaylise McClure at her home in Lake Grove. Credit: Dawn McCormick

Christine is a nurse, and she would bring Kaylise to work since she was an infant. She recalls bringing her daughter into the emergency room at Southside Hospital (now South Shore University Hospital) and in the ambulance.

As Kaylise follows in the footsteps of Christine, the impact of their relationship is undeniable. The younger McClure already has experienced career-shaping moments in the field.

“Definitely my first time with this elderly patient,” she said. “Unfortunately, she suffered from a stroke. We were transferring her to the hospital — this was one of my first calls — and she just held my hand the whole ride there, just thanking me for being there for her, being with her. And that’s kind of just stayed with me through the years, and I’ll probably never forget it.”

McClure added that her Vietnam experience “opened my eyes a lot to health care across the globe and how different it is from there and America. Definitely inspired me to pursue further in medicine and be that change.”

McClure’s already impressive medical resume is just the start. She took 12 AP courses at Sachem North, the rest being honors, and was a member of the National Honor Society and four other national honor societies (math, science, foreign language and history). She also was the secretary-general of Sachem North’s Model United Nations club, helping to run meetings and competing at different conferences with thousands of people from across the globe.

“As crazy as it sounds, I think going to college might slow her down a little bit,” Sharp said. “Throughout high school, it was constant different activities, different things. She’s still going to pursue everything that she wants to do.

“This is it now. Now she’s on the road to where her future needs to be. With field hockey and education, she’s just going to be doing everything.”

McClure officially moved on from her high school career Thursday evening, graduating from Sachem North hours after receiving the award.

What does she want her legacy to be?

“To just put your all in everything you do and never leave anything behind, whether it’s on the field, in the classroom or just helping out the community,” McClure said. “Just do your best.”

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2014: Joe Percival, St. Anthony's

2015: Thomas Cutinella, Shoreham-Wading River

2016: Livingstone Harriott Jr., Central Islip

2017: Kelsi King, Baldwin

2018: Alexandrea Harriott, Central Islip

2019: Kenneth Wei, Mount Sinai

2020: Emma Ward, Babylon

2021: Favour Okodogbe, St. John The Baptist

2022: Abigail Rolfe, Port Jefferson

2023: Kwasi Bonsu, Baldwin

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