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'Student standout' honored at West Hempstead High School


A high school student from West Hempstead was among the 14 honorees for State Assemblywoman Judy Griffin’s annual Student Standout Awards.

West Hempstead High School senior Leah Rubin was honored with the recognition through a videoconference with Griffin. One student was chosen from each school for their exceptional leadership, kindness, inclusiveness, helpfulness, work ethic, creativity, motivation or civic engagement.

“Today recognizes those incredible students who standout in their schools and communities,” Griffin said in a news release. “These students serve as role models and are an inspiration for their peers. I am so proud to give these students the NYS Assembly Student Standout Award and I look forward to seeing where it takes them.”

Rubin only transferred to West Hempstead High School last year as a junior, but in a short time, her guidance counselor had recommended her for a special program sponsored by the League of Women Voters to go to Washington, D.C. to experience the political process. In no time, Rubin immersed herself in the school community. Her charisma, intelligence and amiability made her a favorite of both the staff and her peers. She began taking leadership roles in her classes and extracurricular activities.

Rubin was recognized for leading with an open-minded, non-judgmental acceptance of others. She has learned impressive video editing skills and has applied them to her religious commitments over the past three years. Rubin was hired by a summer program to create videos promoting the program during the summer and school year. Through the connections she made there, she was hired by a local recording artist and a family to create music videos for original songs. In addition, she used her skills to film and videos on a summer program that brings water sports to troubled teens as an outlet rather than drugs or gangs.

A voracious learner, Rubin craves knowledge and enlightenment. She is especially passionate about Broadway musicals and environmental sustainability. Her interest in the environment motivated her to make small changes inside her home with a ‘reuse, recycle reduce’ philosophy changing many of her family’s prior habits. She then became active in the environmental club at school. Proactive and passionate about eliciting change, Rubin set up a meeting with district Superintendent Daniel Rehman to discuss this philosophy for the school and help bring greener initiatives to the schools. Rubin was selected to be a student of the CUNY Macaulay Honors Program at Hunter College.

Courtesy Assemblywoman Judy Griffin; compiled by Nakeem Grant