By Darrell Jones II
Longwood High School
Wading through poison ivy and thick bramble, Ciara Kernan is on the hunt.
Ciara is pursuing her volunteer work of finding and saving Long Island’s endangered diamondback terrapin turtles. It’s part of her larger pursuit of an interesting and meaningful life.
A quiet girl, Ciara has many talents. “I like music, art, writing and sailing and I’m good at them all,” Ciara said. “Actually, someone once called me ‘silent but deadly’.” The 17-year-old lives in Setauket and describes herself as, “an avid reader and art lover.”
Last year, she joined the Ward Melville High School newspaper, the Kaleidoscope, as the associate editor. She is also the editor in chief of her school’s literary magazine, Cinnabar. Ciara is going into her senior year as the editor of the Op-Ed section of the Kaleidoscope. “It’s really fun – mostly,” Ciara said. “Even staying up until two in the morning finishing off an article or three.”
The last year of high school is a time to kick back and relax for some, but not for Ciara. Along with the work from the school paper, she will soon have her hands full. “Next year is going to be six or seven APs, which may be a bit much, but I’m looking forward to most of them,” she said.
Besides writing, Ciara has played the cello for ten years and is in her school’s pit orchestra. “It’s always great to see the shows and perform because they are so interesting and exciting.”
Volunteering as a sailing instructor has helped her stay passionate with the sea. When she is not educating the public about boats, she likes to taker her own boat out. She has a 14-foot boat and uses it in her free time.
Also, this summer she is taking time out of her day to help save wildlife at the West Meadow Beach. “I’ve been helping to track diamondback terrapins to protect their nest sites,” said Ciara. She waits on the beach for a turtle to come her way, then she follows it. She goes through plants such as poison ivy and has to jump through bramble to track the turtles back to their nesting sites.
Ciara said she joined her school’s newspaper for two reasons: A love of reading and hunger to learn about writing. “Really, I thought it just might be a fun thing to do,” she explained. “I’m a good writer. I had been impressed by the previous year’s print issues, and I thought I might as well join.”