This week's NY1/Time Warner Cable Business Class Scholar Athlete of the Week is comfortable in the water as well as the classroom, where she hopes to head down a career path in engineering. NY1's Priya Desai filed the following report.
Camelia Abu-Ghazaleh is a member of multiple team sports at Grover Cleveland High School, but it's in the pool where she really flourishes.
"I learn how to push myself," she says. "It's completely different from a bunch of other sports. I mean, when you run, you push yourself, but you're not in a closed space under water, where it's just you and the actual water."
The high school senior has been swimming longer than she can remember.
"I grew up in the water," she says. "Every summer, I was put into the pool for the entire summer from beginning to end. It stuck to me, and I grew to love it."
Camelia's childhood love of the water has lead to a spot on the varsity swim team. More importantly, swimming has helped her to learn her greatest strength, both as student and an athlete.
"I work much better under pressure than with a bunch of leeway," she said.
Grace under pressure is how Camelia balances sports with being the student council president, swim captain and member of the debate club, all while keeping up with her AP courses and her favorite subject, math.
"I was always someone who was into math," she says. "But in high school, when I started, especially when I took calculus, I just grew to love it more and more with each day in class."
"She's very motivated," says Robert Catalino, Camelia's AP Statistics teacher. "Very quick to answer questions. She also asks brilliant questions."
The senior's transcript boasts of AP classes in Honors Geometry, Calculus and Statistics, a heavy load for the honor student who hopes to major in engineering, a career path that doesn't see nearly enough women.
"That's partly why I want to become an engineer," she says.
"Right away, from the get go, she was a student who was involved in making this a better place to be, making this a better school, thinking of others," says Denise Vittor, principal of Grover Cleveland High School. "But then, I met her mom, her mom's very involved as well, and her mom said she was always that way."
For Camelia, it's her mom's words to her as a child that really help to set her aspirations of becoming an engineer.
"My mom taught me from a really young age [that] you're not different from anyone else," Camelia says. "You can push yourself just as much as anyone can. So that really set the goal for me."
So, for showing that you can grow up to be whatever you want no matter who you are, Camelia Abu-Ghazaleh is our NY1/Time Warner Cable Business Class Scholar Athlete of the Week.