BY Molly Congdon
CLIFTON PARK — At this time last year, Shenendehowa senior Amy DePoy was in Italy with the Latin Club gazing at the Colosseum, delving into Roman culture and, of course, consuming as much strawberry gelato as she could.
She has always had a love for Latin, which she has taken for the past six years of her education. “It’s so interesting to see how much it still influences our culture today,” DePoy said. “It’s been 2,000 years and still our Capitol building emulates that of the Romans; it’s really interesting to see the continuity.” In place of a president, the Roman Republic had two consuls. DePoy and her friend, Grace, serve as the two consuls for the club.
“We do a lot of Latin-themed activities,” she said. “Gladiator fights using paper towel rolls that have been dipped in paint, Latin ‘Jeopardy!’ — we have a machine with buzzers and everything and it gets pretty intense — and chariot racing outside in sleds.”
DePoy also founded the Model UN Club at Shenendehowa. “I heard about it and really wanted to do it, but we didn’t have one so I went to my guidance councilor at school,” she said. “Then I went to the social studies department head and had to write a proposal about why I wanted to do it, we want to have this many members, this is how it would help the academic community and teach kids global perspective.”
Then she also had to speak in front of a bunch of teachers in an attempt to secure a faculty adviser, which was the most difficult part. “I started the process in the spring of my sophomore year and our first meeting was the end of September my junior year,” DePoy said.
Conference in Boston
In March, the club will head to Boston College to attend a conference. “There’s a bunch of different committees: One is UN session 2025, which will discuss future problems, there’s a historical one that’s like the Trojan War, and the modern day one is about diseases,” she explained. “I’m so excited!”
She also was able to gain some experience in the realm of government through Shenendehowa’s Career Exploration Internship Program, interning at Assemblyman James Tedisco’s office.
“We don’t learn about local governments in school; it’s more nation and international level, but it was really interesting and I learned a lot,” she said. “I mostly answered phones and organized, but he was up for re-election, so it was also a lot of campaign stuff.”
DePoy has always resided in Clifton Park. Her mom, Linda, is a special education aide for the Shenendehowa middle schools, and her father, David, is an engineer at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory and works with nuclear submarines. Emily, her older sister, is currently studying abroad in Rome and is a junior at Saint Lawrence, and her younger brother Johnny is an eighth-grader at Shenendehowa.
Her greatest influence is her mom. “She always calms me down; I do a lot of stuff and it gets pretty busy but she keeps me grounded,” she said. “She reminds me that it’s OK to take a break sometimes.”
Passion for dance
DePoy also has several passions outside of the realm of academics, such as reading, taking low-key classes at The Hot Yoga Spot and dancing. Unlike many children, who begin dance lessons at the age of 3, she didn’t start until she was in fourth grade. “Some of the girls in my class were doing it, and I had tried all of the sports, so I was like, ‘Yeah let’s do dance,’ ” she said. “I made my best friend come with me to a hip-hop class. Looking back, it was totally ridiculous, but I had fun.”
The following year she did every other form including ballet, tap and jazz, which is still her favorite. “It’s more high-energy, I like the faster pace dances,” DePoy said. “Ballet is so technical and — I hesitate to say — slow, but everything is so particular. You have to stretch for counts and that’s part of the dance. I just want to keep moving.”
This year she is an assistant teacher for a jazz dance class of 15 seventh- and eighth-graders. At that age they have the basics down so the focus is on new leaps and tricks such as double and triple pirouettes and Martha Graham turns. The classes span from September to May with a recital at the end, which will take place over Memorial Day weekend. “This year’s theme is ‘Once Upon a Time,’ ” DePoy said. “Our ballet is doing ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ the jazz class is doing ‘Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend’ and then the modern class is doing something different — it’s a song without words from a movie sound track about chain reactions.”
Contemplating the future
She doesn’t know exactly what she should select as her major when she begins her college career in the fall. But in the more distant future, she sees herself working in the United Nations while also teaching as a professor in a college. So, for now, like many other soon-to-be college freshmen, she will see which of her passions will earn the title of being the ‘chosen major.’ Her considerations include classics, economics, and international relations.
Aristotle once said: “All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth.”
DePoy just may be one youth who will have a significant impact on shaping the decisions of this country.