This week we Take Five with Natalie Certosimo, a senior at West Milford High School who works with the military working dogs group that sends much-needed supplies and money to help support the four-legged soldiers. A terrific cause, indeed. Be sure to go on our Web site, westmilfordmessenger.com to read our bonus five with Natalie.
1) How did you get involved with raising funds and awareness for the military working dogs?
Three years ago, my brother graduated from basic training in the Air Force, so my family and I went to visit him in Texas. That is where I first saw the dogs training and went to a military working dog museum. Before then I didnt know much about these dogs and what an important role they play in our military. When Frank Yevchak, the founder of the Support Our 4-Legged Soldiers Organization, contacted Mrs. Blom, my Marketing teacher, in need of two students to help raise funds and awareness for the military working dogs, my partner Kayla Ward and I immediately jumped on the opportunity. This community service then turned into our marketing project in which we placed third at the DECA State Conference in 2010.
2) Who is your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration would have to be my mom. She is the strongest woman I know and always has a smile on her face. She is constantly reminding me that I have the ability to do anything and to never give up on my dreams. She inspires me to try my hardest everyday to make her proud.
3) What would most people be surprised to know about the military working dogs?
Most people would be surprised to know that military working dogs are not funded by the government. This means that all of the equipment they need to perform their daily tasks must be donated. That is why it is so important that we spread the word about the military dogs and try to raise as much money as possible to help fund their lifestyle so they can effectively help our soldiers.
4) What do you do with your time when you are not fundraising for the military working dogs?
I work at a day care four days a week and I am a part of National Honor Society, Italian Honor Society, and PALs. I also enjoy shopping and going out with my friends.
5) What is your favorite movie/book/character and why?
I have a lot of favorites, but my most recent favorite book is The Hunger Games, which I am currently reading.
What a wonderful cause, the military working dogs. Great job, Natalie. And good taste in books too. The next two books in the Hunger Games series are just as good.
Do you know someone who should be featured here at Take Five? Drop us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to feature all of the wonderful young people here in town.
Bonus Five 6) Who is your favorite teacher of all time and why?
My favorite teacher of all time is Mrs. Duffy, my 5th and 6th grade science teacher at Marshall Hill. She always thought of creative ways to teach us science so that we could relate and understand the lesson. I admired her love for teaching and the inspiration she placed upon me. I always felt individually recognized by her and her teacher of the year award is well deserved.
7) Name three things you would bring with you if you were on a deserted island.
If I was on a deserted island I would bring a cell phone, a boat, and fresh water.
8) Share a favorite moment with your group.
I dont have just one favorite moment participating in this service. Every fundraiser was new and different. Being thanked for all of our hard work by people of the community and receiving rewards from Sergeants in the military really made the whole project worthwhile.
9) What does being a Highlander mean to you?
Being a Highlander makes me feel like I am a part of something. As a school, we all come together and help one another to show that we care, which is hard to come by.
10) Share something no one knows about you.
No one knows that my dream is to travel and see the seven wonders of the world eventually. I would also like to reside in Italy one day.