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Studying the law to help others

Taryn Zubizarreta, who just finished up her senior year at Long Island City High School, has already started her legacy of helping others and plans on continuing to do so as she goes on to major in legal studies at St. John’s University.
Zubizarreta, a resident of East Elmhurst who has cerebral palsy, has been a member of the Networking Project for Young People with Disabilities since 2003. The group talks about problems that those with disabilities face and how to live independently. A desire to be more independent herself is what made Zubizarreta decide to become involved with the organization.
When Zubizarreta was eight-years-old, she attended The Southampton Fresh Air Home, which is for the physically challenged, as a camper and began working as a mentor there when she was 13. She said that she works with some of its first-time campers, helping them adjust to being away from home.
“I try to take them under my wing and tell them it’s going to be okay,” Zubizarreta said.
Zubizarreta is a member of the National Hispanic Honor Society, the National Society of High School Scholars and was named to “Who’s Who Among American High School Students,” in 2006.
“The motivating factor is that I’m just a really, really ambitious person,” said Zubizarreta, adding that she thinks have cerebral palsy added to her ambitious nature. “My family and friends have been really supportive of me over the years. Support goes a long way.”
Zubizarreta said that her mom, Taina Silverman, in particular has been a huge support, describing her as her rock. She said that her mom has also been her biggest inspiration.
“She’s just been the one to push me as far as I can go,” said Zubizarreta. “I really thank her for that. We really have a good relationship and I love her a lot.”
In accomplishing all that she has, Zubizarreta said that she hopes to show people that a little ambition combined with support can take a person a long way. She also said that it is necessary to love what you’re doing.
“If you find a passion that you really enjoy that you open your heart to, you can do anything with it,” said Zubizarreta, who recently received an award for academic excellence in the field of social studies.
Recently, Zubizarreta was selected as one of 15 recipients of a 2007 Seinfeld Scholarship, which will cover the full cost of her college studies for all four years. She said getting the scholarship has been her proudest accomplishment so far and that it will enable her to go to St. John’s University.
“St. John’s is my dream school because I feel like it supplies me with the foundation of what my career is going to be for my future,” she said, adding that she has felt very at home on campus during her visits. “(The scholarship) means I can go to the school of my choice and school of my dreams without inhibitions or limits.”
At St. John’s, Zubizarreta will major in legal studies with plans on eventually going on to law school. She said she would like to either work for the Americans with Disabilities Act or in a law setting where she could represent people and inform them of their rights.

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