Warwick Valley Middle School student Penelope Bieling has achieved High Honor Roll status in both of the first two marking periods this year and said she’s “pretty confident” about the third one, too. But, what the eight grade Wildcat Ambassador and National Junior Honor Society member is particularly excited about at the moment, she is getting to choose her high school schedule from her.
“I really love this year! My teachers are amazing and it’s been so nice being here in school the whole year with them,” said Penelope. “But I’m looking forward to high school, too, and I got to pick my classes a couple weeks ago. I want to go down the engineering path, just like my brother.”
When she isn’t studying, Penelope is active in dance, school athletics, extracurricular clubs, and community service. Warwick Valley Middle School Principal Georgianna Diopoulos calls Penny a lovely young lady who is a leader among her peers.
“Watching Penelope grow since fifth grade, she has always been kind to her peers, respectful of the adults in the building, and really leads by example,” said Ms. Diopoulos. “She models what younger students should be striving to achieve, and that’s why I nominated her.”
Penelope said her favorite areas of study this year are science and technology, and that she’s felt inspired toward engineering by the activities she’s been doing in tech classes as part of Project Lead the Way (PLTW). PLTW is a program where eighth grade students have technology for the entire year, taking a different course each marking period: Design & Modeling; computer science; Automation & Robotics; Green Architecture.
“Technology is a really fun class right now,” she said. “We’ve designed a brace for orthosis, now we’re working on coding a security system,” said Penelope. “I really enjoy taking those classes.”
She’s not sure which engineering field she may pursue, but said she has given a lot of thought to aerosciences.
“I really do think architecture would be a really cool job, too,” she adds. After a thoughtful pause, she added, “I actually also really enjoy ELA and doing writing pieces.”
Her ELA class has been working on poetry and Penelope said she’s enjoyed writing poems as they’ve studied some of the renowned masters of the craft.
“I have so many favorite poets, but we were reading Langston Hughes recently, and his poems were all very interesting,” said Penelope.
An engineer acquaintance of hers shared with Penelope that, despite what some people may expect, there is a ton of writing and communication that goes into engineering. Lately, she has been writing for the WVMS Literary Magazine. Having a natural affinity for the written word bodes well for Penelope’s future ambitions of her, especially after she shared one more career ambition.
“When I was around four or five, I used to play school around the house, and thought ever since that I’d like to be a teacher,” she said. “I’m not exactly sure what I’d like to teach, but if I could teach something along the lines of engineering, that would be perfect!”
Penelope is playing modified softball this spring. She played modified basketball this year and last year, and also played modified volleyball last year. Her first love of her, however, is dance. She was first inspired to get into dance by her sister de ella. She competes regularly with a dance team out of the Warwick Center for the Performing Arts. She said that even though she dances five days a week, she still plans to be a triple threat in sports at the high school.
“I’m thinking I’d like to try and do volleyball, softball, and basketball,” she said. “We’ll see!”.
As an active member of the National Junior Honor Society, Penelope enjoys getting involved in fundraising for causes around the community and abroad. The group recently held a sale to raise money for UNICEF’s effort to help people affected by the war in Ukraine. They also recently held a popcorn fundraiser to benefit the humane society. A food drive preceded that, along with a few other fall events. Right now, the group is continuing to work on more fundraising ideas for the rest of the year.
Class projects. Softballseason. Community events. Being a Wildcat Ambassador. Penelope is here for all of it.
“I’m having a great year! All of our clubs have started up again; the classroom environment – that’s where I work best – has been amazing. If I had to pick something I’m looking forward to for the rest of the year? All of it!”