Heidi Munoz has capped an electrifying school year with her homerun service.
“I can see her as the first female President of the United States,” predicted Lizzette Rivera, Heidi’s principal at P.S. 196 The Literacy & Arts Academy, a grammar school in Soundview.
Creating a 50-page how-to math guide, helping to raise a whopping $10,000 in the school’s first annual American Cancer Society Walk-a-Thon, and simply being a well-rounded student earned the 11-year-old fifth-grader induction to the Con Edison/New York Yankees “Hall of Fame” Baseball program.
Heidi may be modest about her honor, but she’s certainly vocal on the importance of civic engagement.
“There are many kids in the world,” said Heidi, who aspires to be a teacher. “I want to be one of them to go out and show them they don’t have to be shy, they can make a difference.”
She said she picked up the need for service from her parents, mainly mom Ana Ruiz.
“I always instilled in her that education is the key to opportunities,” said Ruiz, speaking through an interpreter.
Created in 1968, the program highlights overachieving young kids driven who are also active in school.
As the Bronx’s only Yankee Kid winner, Heidi and her family were special guests at a reception in Yankee Stadium last month, where Heidi personally met with Yankee pitcher CC Sabathia and living legend Ron Guidry.
Students took part in an essay contest to apply for the award, with Heidi’s essay hitting a major homerun.
“In her essay she spoke on how she leads by example, she leads by encouragement, respect,” said Dimitri Kryoneris, school assistant principal. “She doesn’t look for the spotlight, but the spotlight finds her.”
Kryoneris nominated her shortly thereafter, with help from Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, who stopped by the Ward Avenue school June 14 to personally congratulate Heidi on her recognition.
Regaling Heidi with his coming-of-age tale into politics, Crespo emphasized the need to push oneself or be pushed.
“If it wasn’t for people who nudged me along I wouldn’t be here,” said Crespo, urging her to find a passion and do it well.
“Once you have that combination, special things can happen,” said Crespo, also reminding her to never forget about the borough once her seed of success blossoms.
Heidi now heads to sixth grade, with an eye to bring the Walk-a-Thon to her new middle school.
David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383