'Excellence' Award to Julio Taku

Congratulating Julio left to right at the Unity Day Celebration: South Huntington BOE President Nicholas Ciappetta, BOE Trustee Sidney Joyner, Julio Taku, NYS Assemblyman Steve Stern, Whitman Principal John Murphy, and Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci.
Congratulating Julio left to right at the Unity Day Celebration: South Huntington BOE President Nicholas Ciappetta, BOE Trustee Sidney Joyner, Julio Taku, NYS Assemblyman Steve Stern, Whitman Principal John Murphy, and Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci.

Congratulations to Julio Taku, Walt Whitman Graduate from the Class of 2018 who was honored at the recent Unity Day Parade and Fair. Julio won the ‘Excellence in Community Leadership’ Award.

Walt Whitman Principal John Murphy had plenty to say about Julio to the large audience on a picture perfect day. “Julio Taku is a charismatic young leader who views education as the key to both equality and success.  After immigrating to the United States from Cameroon as the oldest of four children with his mother and father, Julio Taku quickly immersed himself in his school community and became a tireless advocate for people in need. Julio’s roots in the diverse South Huntington School District contributed richly to a “can do” philosophy, which embraces social justice and enhances the opportunity for friends and classmates alike.

While attending Walt Whitman High School, Julio enveloped himself in the entire “High School Experience,” embracing all facets of scholastic life. Julio became an effective advocate for the Walt Whitman student body and served as a trusted spokesperson for student affairs.  During his time at Walt Whitman High, Julio represented our region and school at the Boys State Leadership Conference, served as a student mentor with the district’s Project Excel Program, participated in musical theater and volunteered for community outreach at Huntington Hospital and Saint Elizabeth’s Church. Julio was also a founding member of our district’s first of its kind Recording Studio club - The Collective, which provides students of all musical talents and backgrounds the opportunity to collaborate on original creations.  Remarkably, Julio achieved all of these accomplishments while filling his academic schedule with a myriad of Advanced Placement, Honors, and College classes, and maintaining an impressive Grade Point Average.

Interestingly, through his work with our school leadership program, Julio earned the respect of both government representatives and the local media. As a result, he became a trusted spokesperson for contemporary causes and participated in a public televised forum titled, “Guns on Long Island” sponsored by News 12.  Through this program, Julio passionately gave voice to the concerns of many Long Island students, while respectfully debating the diverse and often conflicting opinions of citizens throughout the region.

Julio Taku’s maturity and passion for social justice make it hard to imagine that he is an 18-year-old student in his first year at Stony Brook University. His inquisitive nature and genuine curiosity for the human condition connect him to all facets of American youth. As a result, Julio has become a leader of his generation and trusted face and voice in the Long Island community. When asked why he was so active both inside and outside of the classroom, Julio replies with a warm smile; “Because you never know what you might learn or experience.”

It has been our pleasure being a part of Julio’s scholastic life and the South Huntington community looks forward to following his inevitable success in the years to come.