The latest Health Plus/NY1 Scholar Athlete dedicated to community service while taking on a unique athletic challenge. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.
Marina Murdakhayeva is always trying to help others, whether it's by picking up her little brother from school or tutoring her fellow students at Robert F. Kennedy Community High School.
“I help kids with ESL, kids who don't know English really well, learn to study, learn to understand what they're reading. I also did Alley Pond Environmental Center. I help with animal care, education with kids learning about the environment, why animals are so important,” says Marina.
Marina's done more than 200 hours of community service over the course of her high school career, much of it through the National Honor Society, where she's taken on a leadership role.
“I think she's just intrinsically motivated. She's just one of those people who has a desire to give back to the community,” says Stacy Heller Budnick, NHS adviser.
She's also made her mark in the classroom, where she's ranked fifth in her class. She's taken a number of AP classes and knows that the hard work she puts in now will prepare her for the future.
“I know that if I do well now, it's going to be easier in the future,” says Marina.
“She will put 150 percent into anything that she does. It's beyond. She's one of the top students in her class,” says Amaris Rodriguez, biology teacher.
As a member of the school's co-ed fencing team, Marina is often matched up against boys on the opposing team. That's a challenge she embraces.
“That's actually a lot of fun, especially when you beat them,” says Marina.
She also loves the intellectual nature of the sport. Her coach, Lisa Byheny, says she's the ideal team member.
“I've just seen her grow and develop as a person. She's an amazing young lady and I'm very upset to see her go,” says Byheny.
Marina is still figuring out where she wants to go to college, but she knows she wants to study something related to science and medicine.
“Every college that I applied to is for a different program. I did nursing, physician assistant and pharmacy, so I have a wide range of things I can actually choose from,” says Marina.
For using her talents to help others on many different levels, Marina Murdakhayeva is the latest Health Plus/NY1 Scholar Athlete of the Week.