New Bern High School- Miguel Cotto

WITN Class of 2022
WITN Class of 2022 New Bern High School- Miguel Cotto
WITN Class of 2022 New Bern High School- Miguel Cotto(Miguel Cotto)
Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 3:05 PM EDT
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Miguel Cotto


My name is Miguel Scott Cotto. I am a student at New Bern High School soon graduating in the Class of 2022. I am a tuba player in the concert band, always down to drill with my fellow ROTC cadets and an AVID elective student. I am Filipino, Puerto Rican and German. My favorite clubs are the NBHS Green team and CAPAY (Coalition for Asian Pacific American Youth) where I am able to provide tutoring to elementary school students, learn how to garden with the local community, and make a positive difference.

WITN Class of 2022 New Bern High School- Miguel Cotto

School: New Bern High School

Name: Miguel Scott Cotto

Age: 17

Plans for next year: Next year I plan to be enrolled as a freshman cadet at the United States Coast Guard Academy. I will leave to begin training and preparation at the Academy in New London, Connecticut this coming June. After high school graduation, I will work as a Summer day camp kids counselor for the YMCA Camp Seagull.

What is the most challenging task as a senior: The most challenging task as a senior is staying motivated to finish any challenge or task with your very best. As we approach the finish line, our graduation, life around us slows down or gets faster. Either way, we have to keep pushing ourselves to strive for success, the same as when we realized how important every moment is back when we took our pre-ACT sophomore year. Just like how we felt after taking that intense test, we have to continue to value every event or lesson as a possible answer to be used in the future. When we leave for college, the military, or the workforce we have to approach those challenges from a perspective of learning and eagerness to overcome them.

What advice do you have for underclassmen: I advise underclassmen to focus on the lessons learned in life rather than dwell in suffering. Your lowest points can be your greatest motivators to succeed.

What has been the highlight of your senior year: The highlight of my senior year has been the painting of the senior parking spots at New Bern High School. Through NJROTC community service events, I got to meet the Superintendent of Craven County along with other highly respected board members. To achieve this opportunity, I had to create a presentation and communicate with student leaders from every high school to show this was an event everyone sought to take advantage of at their schools. Using powerful moments that took place during COVID-19 and Hurricane Florence, I convinced the Board of Education that this event would bring genuine joy to a significant part of our community.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years: In 10 years I envision myself as an officer in the United States Coast Guard. I plan to graduate from the United States Coast Guard Academy with a bachelor’s in Marine and Environmental Sciences or Business and Management. No matter what I study or wherever I end up, I am eager and excited to serve our beautiful nation.

Who is the most influential person in your life and why: The most influential person in my life is my mom. She is the one person who knows me better than I know myself. Any moment I ever felt alone or at rock bottom, she was always there cheering me on and reminding me that she would always be in my corner.

I am most unique because: Of my passion to bring out the best in others. It is the best feeling knowing you helped someone else feel success. By taking the time to listen and genuinely care about how others feel, I have developed into a leader and friend.

What is the one quote you live by: One quote I live by is “Thoughts are Things”. My mom has always been extremely passionate about this saying and at the end of the day is right. In my opinion, if you think in an optimistic way, then you act outwards and attract that same energy.

What are 5 things you value most important at this point in your life: At this point in my life, 5 things I value as most important are family, friends, perspective, time, and integrity.

If you could move anywhere in the world, where would it be and why: The Philippines. Since the age of four, I have always wanted to travel to the Philippines with my grandma. We have a significant amount of family I have yet to meet there and want the opportunity to experience firsthand the place my grandma called home. I have an extreme amount of respect for my grandma and the risks she took in life so that our family and I could enjoy the freedom we have today.

What is the one thing your classmates still don’t know about you after all this time: One thing my classmates don’t know about me is that making them all smile or happy is the way I combat any negative thoughts, feelings, or insecurities I have about myself. A majority of the time I think of myself as the weird or out-of-place kid whenever I walk into a room. I have always gone out of my comfort zone to try and make others feel included. For personal reasons, I am extremely big on recognizing and seeing/hearing all people who at times may feel like their opinions or ideas don’t matter. I believe this can be my greatest quality while also being a downfall. The one classmate and my best friend who knows how much this means to me is Aislinn Murray.

Which year of high school was your favorite: It’s tough, but Freshman year has got to be my most stressful yet favorite time in high school. I was on the Varsity lacrosse team, swim team, and JV football team. I was a first year ROTC cadet, auditioned/selected 2nd chair tuba in all district bands, and the lead role in the community theater production Aladdin jr. I was surprisingly nominated by the freshman class to be on the homecoming court and completed the year academically on honor roll. There were hard days when I got up to three or four lectures. My dad would question my integrity in life or with God before walking out the door to catch a ride or bus to school. My band instructor, swim coach, or lacrosse coach would question my time management or if the decisions I made regarding my time spent towards other school activities were worth it. Then to go to swim practice then to theater rehearsal then to go home to wrap up my homework and leave about 6 hours to sleep to get tutoring for math the next morning before school. Each of these individuals mentioned and many others have seen me at breaking points in life where I felt like Luisa from Encanto, under a lot of pressure. But with the help of my mom and others who valued my happiness over success were when I truly achieved my goals.

If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only take one item with you, what would it be: If I were stranded on a deserted island and could only take one item with me, I would bring a water filter. In all honesty, I struggled to answer this question and asked my friend Aislinn what she would bring. I’m super supportive of the environment and would passionately advocate any day for a cleaner and more sustainable earth. But at the end of the day, I grew up sheltered and have yet to learn the meaning of survival as my grandma or dad have come to know in experience.

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