Surprises come in all forms, Brianna McDonough, a junior at Calhoun High School learned when she received an invitation to join the National Society of High School Scholars.
Co-founded by Alfred Nobel’s great-nephew Claes in 2002, the honor society provides students with numerous opportunities, including scholarships, admission to college fairs, internships and networking connections.
Teachers must submit a recommendation for a student to join, but McDonough said that she did not hear about the society until receiving the invitation. “I had no idea that my name was even put in,” she added. “It kinda shows that people are watching all the hard work that I do.”
McDonough is a singer who uses her music to shed light on charitable causes. She advocated for youth empowerment this April when she set up a Gofundme page dedicated to Brendan Carr, a 13-year old Long Beach resident and musician who was bullied and took his life in September 2016.
McDonough raised roughly $1,500, which she donated to the Long Island Coalition Against Bullying, a nonprofit that seeks to create bully-free communities by offering educational programs and support services such as peer mentoring.
McDonough and Carr both attended Studio Noir Summer Youth All Stars in Long Beach. Through the program, instructor Ben Metzger put bands together with the attendees and performed with them at local venues.
This June, McDonough sung at Pride Fest in Long Beach as part of its Teen Pride line-up, to which she was invited after its coordinator Howie Appel, of Merrick, saw an article written about her activism in the Herald.