Daniel Polonia: hoping to make a change through social justice movements


By Emely Ou Feng
John Dewey High School

“Disciplined, smart and an overachiever” is how Daniel Polonia’s mother, Milena Carrizo-Polonia, describes him. But those words barely describe Daniel’s aspirations.

Danie, of Manhasset, is a rising senior at Baldwin High School. His parents encouraged his education. “Aside from the fact that my father (also Daniel) is not educated, he taught me to cherish every opportunity, which was mostly from school,” Daniel recalled.

 As a result, he has participated in various academic and artistic programs to expand his learning. “I have a lot of interests,” he said, but “journalism is my new hobby.”

Daniel also pursues musical theater with a passion to express himself. Recently he worked behind the scenes directing and managing the equipment for his high school’s production of “Once on This Island.”  “I’m passionate about musicals,” he said. “I like the theater culture and like to be part of this amazing community.” 

Daniel has friends from different ethnic backgrounds and LGBTQ+ groups. “My friends educated me on LGBTQ+ topics, and more. I really appreciate it, that I’m not ignorant of what was around me.”

  Working with the local community, he has been involved with the Key Club, designing posters and projects. “Daniel strives to be a better person, he is always out there.” his mother said.

   In addition, Daniel works at his friend’s Rockville Centre restaurant, Color of Spices, waiting on customers, and sometimes delivering. 

“I see myself working as a lawyer, journalist, theater worker, and even other positions in the future,” Daniel said. He is eager to put his interests into operation, perhaps doing family, intellectual property, environmental or entertainment law.

Daniel has joined a college program to study law at Columbia University. In the classroom, he said, he enjoys seeing an opponent’s views that challenge him to rethink or even reshape his perspective. “I want to see where they are coming from, instead of criticizing that they are wrong,” Daniel said.

Journalism comes in handy when he wants to use his voice for awareness in his writing. Daniel said he is interested in social causes, including the Black Lives Matter movement and Stop Asian Hate, as well as immigrant advocation. “I’m Hispanic, and I see what’s going on around me,” Daniel said.

 He said he hopes that attending the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists will improve his news writing. “It’s for everyone, anything can be related to journalism, and I know the Greene Institute could help me gain experience in editing, shooting photos, and working with my laptop.”