Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Senior Features: Emily Figueroa & Rose O'Malley

Senior classmates Rose O’Malley and Emily Figueroa have both been on the volleyball and softball teams during their four years at Groton-Dunstable. They lead by example both on and off the field and are outstanding role models for underclassmen.

Besties -Emily Figueroa and Rose O’Malley
By Bob Mingolelli
Brought to you by the GDRHS Athletic Department

“You have to interview these girls together,” advocated Groton-Dunstable principal Michael Mastrullo. “They’re best friends!”

Rose O’Malley moved to Groton from central Illinois in 2012 with her parents, Therese and Kevin, her younger brother Patrick, currently in 8th grade, Joseph, a freshman at St. Anselm College, and her sisters Annie, a senior at Boston College and Mary Kate who has graduated from college.

“We’re a huge sports family and my parents have always been there to support all of our activities,” shared Rose. “We try to go to each other’s games which are such a big part of our lives. My Dad encouraged me with both softball and volleyball, and my mother is always there. My Dad was a walk-on and made the basketball team at BC.”

“I am so proud of being part of the volleyball team that was league champion last year,” smiled Rose. “It was a really big accomplishment for us and also to be the number one seed. We weren’t expected to go that far. That was why it was so special. Being league champs along with my teammates was my favorite memory at G-D.”

“I really enjoyed my classes and teachers,” commented Rose. “If I could add a suggestion that I think would further the experience at G-D it would be to provide students work study opportunities, where they would encounter internships, real work experiences. It could possibly allow us an additional extension of our education.”

“I had Rose in AP Environmental Science and Anatomy and Physiology. Simply stated, Rose is a very much grounded, dedicated student-athlete who is enjoyable to have in class,” offered science teacher Charles Fittz.

“In Spanish class, Rose participates and always does her work extremely well,” commented foreign language teacher and chair, Jacqueline Liebold. “She pushes herself in class and is never satisfied with ‘okay’ but continually strives for excellence. More importantly, she recently went to the Dominican Republic where she helped build a softball field, but what she really built were lifetime friendships and a connection to the children in the Dominican Republic. Her character of good will and willingness to help others comes through at school and abroad. I am so proud of her determination and "can do" attitude.”

Emily Figueroa has lived in Groton her whole life with parents Vincent and Kerri, her brother Jake, a seventh grader, and Sarah, a sophomore at GDRHS.

Both parents were very active in sports. “Mom played field hockey in high school and coached my middle school field hockey team, and Dad was on both the football and baseball teams in high school and coached many of the teams I played on growing up.”

“My freshman year was significant. My mom hoped I would play field hockey in high school. However, I walked into volleyball tryouts that first day knowing nothing about the game but the girls were so supportive and I fell in love with the sport and…I met my best friend, Rose O’Malley. I really remember that when I decided to switch to volleyball, as you can imagine, it was a big deal in the Figueroa house.”

“It's easy to talk about Emily!” exclaimed science teacher Dan Reid. “I consider myself lucky to have had her for a full year in Molecular Biology and AP Biology. As bright, responsible, and hard working as she is, she's equally humble. She would be perfectly happy to succeed in her education without recognition and fanfare, but I think that's exactly why she should earn the spotlight. Emily leads by example, and no matter how busy her life is or how much work she's got to do, she maintains the same positive mentality. With her ability and her attitude, there's no limit to what she can accomplish.”

“For me personally, I wish I had the opportunity for more electives (art classes) beyond the core classes required. I think it would make for a more enriching experience,” offered Emily.

“Emily is simply a kind person and a pleasure to be around,” said chemistry teacher Tamara Allen. “She is always smiling and seems to be able to see the bright side in any situation.  She is highly self-motivated, an extremely conscientious student, academically talented and, despite her busy schedule, I know that I can always count on her to remain focused and produce high quality work,”

“Both girls are leaders,” added softball coach John Palumbo. “Emily anchors the outfield from her center field position and Rose is the take charge shortstop for the team. They lead by example both on and off the field and are very supportive of their teammates, regardless of their grade or ability. I named them captains a few weeks ago (in addition to Sarah Woods and Laura Bieren), because I have been so impressed with their work ethic and respect for the game. Rose, although a senior and captain, always offers to help carry equipment and always says "please" and "thank you”. Despite their outstanding talent in softball, they do not take anything for granted. They are very down to earth, high character individuals.”

“Emily and Rose are outstanding role models for underclassmen from both Groton and Dunstable,” offered principal Mastrullo.  “They are intelligent, hard-working, compassionate, kind and are fortunate to attend such a great school. But without students like Emily and Rose, this school would not be the school it is and what we strive for.  Typical business vernacular talks about return on investment.  Applying that concept to Rose and Emily, the towns of Groton and Dunstable received a tremendous return on their investment,” concluded Mastrullo.

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