Newsday: Extraordinary Senior: Manny Abreu embodies community service

Jun 03 2019

By Newsday’s Cara S. Trager

This story is part of Newsday’s 2019 Extraordinary Seniors series showcasing 16 high school students from across Long Island with the vision and determination to transform their corners of the universe — and perhaps beyond. Click here to read more.

Manny Abreu epitomizes Benjamin Franklin’s legendary adage, “If you want something done, ask a busy person.”

Throughout his four years at Kellenberg Memorial High School, a Catholic school in Uniondale, Abreu made community service an integral part of his life — regardless of the task, how messy or time-consuming it was and his own part-time jobs, which helped pay his tuition and expenses. 

“I don’t know where he finds the time to do everything,” said Erin Ronan, Abreu’s college placement officer and junior-year math teacher. “He truly is a class act.”

An honors student from Roosevelt, Abreu, 18, juggled volunteering with after-school, summer and weekend jobs that included assisting with homework, computers and printers at the Roosevelt Public Library; doing maintenance and landscape work at Kellenberg; and serving customers at Ralph’s Italian Ices in Uniondale.

But faced with a finite number of hours in a day, Abreu left his library job last summer to start working as an emergency medical technician; it’s a role that dovetails with his enduring passion for making a difference in other people’s lives.

“My appreciation for service has guided me into giving back,” said Abreu, who is setting his professional sights on becoming a doctor or physician assistant. “It’s such a rewarding feeling to help someone.”

Early in his high school career, he learned what makes him tick: “The more I did, the more I felt complete,” said Abreu, a eucharistic minister who gives Communion to residents at a nursing home.

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