From Busy Student to Soldier

This senior in St. Agnes Academic High School in College Point is going places.

She has enlisted in the army, is involved in a variety of afterschool programs — and shows no desire to slow down.

“I don’t like staying home,” said Maiquel Ramirez Suarez. “I like being active.”

The 17-year-old is involved in a club in her private school called Pax Christi, which throws fundraisers to help raise money for different causes. An upcoming faculty and student volleyball game will give proceeds from tickets sold to help Japan reconstruct after the earthquake and tsunami it recently suffered.

“I’m always busy,” she said. “If not with school, then with sports. If not with sports, then with hanging out with my friends.”

Suarez is active in the athletic sense as well. She ran cross country track, played on basketball and baseball teams and now plays softball at her school.

“When one [athletic] season ends I don’t like waiting for the next season to start so I go and try something else,” said Suarez.

Suarez might have gotten the “active” gene from her father as well as from her siblings. Her father was a baseball player when he was younger and is now a softball player and, ironically, Suarez has a brother that was a softball player but is now a baseball player.

“We are a very athletic family,” said Suarez.

She has six siblings – four boys and two girls, most of whom live nearby her home in Corona, with the exception of one brother who lives in Australia and one brother that lives in the Bronx.

Suarez said she definitely suffers from the “middle child syndrome.”

“Everyone thinks the middle child is the troublemaker and I definitely am,” she said. “I’m the one always getting in trouble.”

About a month ago, Suarez enlisted in the army. Her cousin signed up a few years ago and got Suarez interested in it as well.

“She motivated me to sign up,” said Suarez. “I was kind of nervous at first but once I got more information about it I became more confident.”

She said her father is always supportive of what she does but that her mother took a bit longer to accept her decision.

“The first time I told [my mother] we were in a public place and she started crying,” she said. “But after time she became fine with it and now she’s accepted it.”

Suarez also considers her mother her motivator to push forward and succeed.

“My mom is my biggest fan,” she said. “She is always there for me and my siblings and she’s practically my role model.”

Suarez graduates high school in June and plans on spending a lot of time with friends and family before shipping out for the army on July 5.

Her contract with the army is for five years. When she comes back, Suarez first wants to “relax for a bit,” after which she plans on going to college. One reason she enlisted in the army was so that she could pay for college, her personal choice being one out of state.

“I cannot see myself living in New York my whole life,” she said.

Suarez is interested in studying early childhood education.

“I’m good with kids and I would want to teach young children, maybe kindergarten,” she said. “Older kids are too frustrating.”

Her favorite class now in high school is called “Living with Loss,” where students learn about the grieving process and how to cope with situations.

Although she admits her music class is not that exciting, Suarez does enjoy listening to pop music, techno songs and hip- hop music, with Drake being one of her favorites.

A typical night out with her friends starts with going to a movie – her favorite kind are action movies – eating out and then maybe going to a friend’s house to play video games.

To get to school every day, she takes a train and bus. Suarez said the commute is annoying but because of her busy schedule, she does not have time to go get her license.

For now, Suarez appreciates her active lifestyle and salutes her future – one decorated with possibilities.


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