Our Scholar Athlete of the Week is off to Harvard in the fall, and it's clear to see why. Not only is she a leader to her teammates, but also to her classmates — empowering them through writing. NY1's Leisha Majtan has the story.
Three sports is the charm for Hunter College High School senior Gabriela Mernin — from track, to basketball, to soccer.
As captain of the soccer team, she led the varsity squad to its first undefeated season in more than a decade.
"It's so satisfying," she said. "Scoring goals against teams that in freshman year or sophomore year we hadn't scored goals against in five years."
"She brings a lot of passion and fire to the game itself and really does a good job of getting everyone else to a higher level of intensity," said soccer coach Annie Turner.
But putting pen to paper is Mernin's greatest passion.
"I think that writing gives me a lot of room for reflection," she said. "My day is so busy and I don't always have time to sit and think about what I've just experienced, what I've seen, what I've learned."
Mernin writes an award-winning column about race relations in the school newspaper.
And she founded "The Idealist" — an online social justice magazine she says gives voice to minority students at Hunter.
"I know that a lot of people struggle with getting across how it has affected their lives at the school so I wanted to make it a little easier if I could," Mernin said.
English class was always her favorite — she never scored less than an A.
That's true for all of her classes — Mernin has a near-perfect GPA.
"She could write very well fairly effortlessly," said English teacher Victoria Meng. "But I think for her it's not about the grade, it's about really learning to think and figure things out."
Even during vacation, she doesn't stop learning.
Mernin spent a summer in China studying Mandarin and another in South Africa, studying human rights.
Juggling a busy schedule isn't easy, but she says sports helped her build a strong foundation.
"When you're young it makes life so much easier with the connections you form and the skills you learn," Mernin said.
So for writing her own success story, Gabriela Mernin is our Scholar Athlete of the Week.