By the time Holy Child senior Miffy Riley reached high school the shelves of her bedroom were filled with gymnastics and soccer trophies.
By Melanie Cane
By the time Holy Child senior Miffy Riley reached high school the shelves of her bedroom were filled with gymnastics and soccer trophies. Now, track medals, academic awards, and community service commendations adorn the walls as well.
Miffy competed in gymnastics for ten years until she was forced to give it up in ninth grade due to a back injury. Throughout her gymnastic career, she won State, Regional, and National Championships for gymnastics Levels 4 to 8 as well as many prestigious private invitationals. Her parents, Mercedes and Patrick, recall that starting when she was 4, Miffy would use the back of the sofa as a balance beam and practice gymnastic moves for hours on a mat at home on her own.
Having to give up the sport she loved was devastating at first, Miffy acknowledged, but she traded the balance beam for the track. She is now ranked first in the 55-meter dash in the New York State Independent Schools League and will be going to the State Championships at the end of the month for the second year in a row. She also runs the 4x200m relay and 300m indoor, and 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay outdoor. Her 4x200m relay team broke the school record last year and will be going to States.
Even though she did not join a formal track team until ninth grade, Miffy has always loved sprinting. “When I was little I used to race my twin brother Will up hills and my dad timed us.” Sprinting is in her genes — her father ran track in college on a track scholarship. She recalls, “When he took me to his high school to show me his name ranked first for the all-time record in the 40-yard dash, I decided I wanted to be just like him.”
Miffy’s speed set her apart in soccer, and she played on the Rye Youth and Westchester Select Soccer Travel teams. She has been on Holy Child’s Varsity Soccer team since ninth grade and her coach Beau Morki speaks of her glowingly. “When everyone else on the field slows down or loses energy, Miffy just keeps on going, hustling to the ball, running as fast as she can, and scoring. She is a natural athlete who works hard at her craft.”
Her desire to excel in class is on a par with her passion and ambition in sports. From pulling apart a retaining wall to collect insects to dissect and study in pre-school, to training her fish to play basketball and soccer and diagnosing and treating their illnesses in elementary school, to winning multiple academic awards, Miffy always throws herself head first into an interest or an assignment.
In high school, she has made Holy Child’s Honor Roll every year and has won a superior achievement award every year for different subjects. She is a National Commended Merit scholar, a National Honor Society member, and an AP scholar.
In 2015 she won the Rensselaer Medal for Math and Science. This year she is taking a third-semester college math course, multi-variable calculus, online. “I love to make the most of what I’ve been lucky enough to receive and look to create opportunities for myself and others if they don’t exist,” she said. Last summer, she interned at BMS Group London analyzing financial trends and rates where she got to apply her love of math and Excel.
Meanwhile, Miffy helped start an Amnesty International Club at Holy Child to raise awareness for Su Changlan, an imprisoned Chinese women’s rights leader, about whom she has written articles for the school newspaper, The Corinthian. For her senior project, she is working with Habitat for Humanity Westchester to implement solar energy projects around the county.
Outside of school, Miffy devotes time to helping children. She was a volunteer counselor at the Port Chester Carver Center summer camp. Currently, she teaches math and tutors underprivileged girls in the South Bronx, gives confirmation retreat speeches to 8th-grade girls at Resurrection, her alma mater, and over the past two winter breaks has taught at a Haitian refugee school in Santo Domingo.
Her parents believe that being a twin has made Miffy and her brother high achievers. Will attends Regis High School in New York City where he is a 2016 US Presidential Scholar candidate. Together, they created Apogee, a tutoring company “For Students, by Students,” which launched this month.
Miffy has already been accepted to Notre Dame, Georgetown, UVA, and UNC, but she is waiting to hear from several other “exciting schools” and is “looking for the best fit.” She hopes to run in college, but says, “Whether it’s by recruitment or not I will definitely be continuing the sport through club teams, JV, or possibly as a varsity walk on.”