From the violin to the track, the latest Health Plus Amerigroup/NY1 Scholar Athlete is always pushing to make herself better at everything she undertakes. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.
The Juilliard School. It's a name synonymous with musical success. Listen to Jennifer Gersten play the violin and it's easy to understand why she attends that school's elite program for high school students. She's learning to play some of the most complicated classical music ever written.
"I'm definitely very interested in Romanticism and especially Neoromanticism. I like Prokofiev and just completed work on the Tchaikovsky violin concerto and I'm doing some Prokofiev sonatas right now, so that's good," says Jennifer.
Jennifer's days are spent at Townsend Harris High School where she distinguished herself the day she stepped on campus as a freshman. She's an "A" student but also a national award winner in research competitions. But her teachers say it's her writing that sets her apart.
"Her abilities to write surpass most well-educated adults," says English teacher Rafal Olechowsky. "She's able to encompass very difficult topics in a very lucid and very concise way."
"The use of the vocabulary, the syntax -- it reads like poetry," says social science research teacher Franco Scardino. "So even an analysis section of a research project reads poetically, like you want to read it, and that's not an easy thing to do."
As editor of her school's literary magazine, Jennifer uses that writing talent in a creative way as well.
While some things come easily to Jennifer, running and track did not. But she's worked hard to get better every year and now she's the captain of the team.
"It's definitely been harder than I expected, much harder, but I think that's why I'm so insistent on doing it," says Jennifer.
"A lot of kids, when they have that kind of challenge, stop because that's the hard thing. She persevered and pushed," says track coach Tim Connor.
With all of her accomplishments it surprises no one at Townsend Harris that Jennifer's been accepted to Columbia, Princeton, Yale and Juilliard.
"I have no idea what I'd like to pursue in the future, but I think the idea of discovery is very enticing to me," says Jennifer.
So, for excelling in sports, school and music, Jennifer Gersten is the latest Health Plus Amerigroup/NY1 Scholar Athlete of the Week.