Fresh Faces, Cool People in Huntington in 2015

Jordan Belous

Jordan Belous

At 16 years old, Jordan Belous started an online fundraiser to benefit pediatric cancer research in August, challenging people to dance the “whip” and “nae nae.”

The #WhipPediatricCancer campaign surpassed her original goal of $10,000 having. She has a new goal of $20,000 and raised $19,136 as of Monday.

As the campaign continued, Belous, of Melville, said that her dream was to have her campaign reach out to celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Taylor Swift and Silentò.

After faced with the trails of watching her mother defeat cancer, Belous used that experience as motivation to help exterminate pediatric cancer since she was 7 years old.

Belous has worked with Northport’s Spencer Reid Foundation and Warrior’s Odyssey, and was a counselor for Sunrise Day Camp in Wheatley Heights this past summer.

At the camp, Belous watched 3-and-a-half-year-old campers dance the “whip” and “nae nae” all summer, which prompted her to start the #WhipPediatricCancer campaign.

The funds raised from the campaign will be donated to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan.

Michael “Mikey” Brannigan

Michael “Mikey” Brannigan

In the world of track and field, Northport native Michael “Mikey” Brannigan has got the talent with an ever-growing list of county, state and national running accomplishments. Brannigan was a February 2015 feature athlete for Sports Illustrated and the centerpiece of a 2014 NBC “Nightly News” segment.

In May, the Huntington Cinema Arts Centre featured a documentary of Brannigan’s life story called, “The Silent Portrait of Michael Brannigan,” filmed by fellow Northport senior Devon Narine-Singh. The film depicted an emotional story of Brannigan as one of America’s best young long-distance runners who happens to have autism.

Brannigan started running when he was 7 years old, and throughout the years on the Northport varsity cross-country team, he received All-American honors from USA Track and Field and the U.S. Olympic Committee during his junior year in 2014. He also became a national champion in the 3,200-meter run and set the state’s 2-mile record at 8:42.92 on May 8 at the Loucks Games in White Plains.

In May, Brannigan was the main focus at the annual invitational meet at St. Anthony’s High School, where a documentary film crew followed his every move while shooting ESPN’s hour-long newsmagazine show, “E:60.”

Tobias Harris

Tobias Harris

With a skyrocketing basketball career, having played for the Half Hollow Hills West High School varsity team to now a professional player for the Orlando Magic, Tobias Harris became the first basketball player in Colts history to have his No. 12 jersey retired by Hills West.

The ceremony took place in January, which initially unveiled a banner that celebrated Hills West team winning the championship. The second banner that was unveiled was a surprise to Harris, indicating that his number will be retired.

Harris, 22, was drafted out of the University of Tennessee by the Charlotte Bobcats in 2011 and then traded to the Milwaukee Bucks. He remained on the Bucks until 2013 where he was traded to the Magic and became the team’s second leading scorer at 17.6 points per game.

Thomas Maier

Thomas Maier

Taking photos with celebrities and attending red-carpet events, along with being interviewed by several media outlets, East Northport resident Thomas Maier is the author of the book “Masters of Sex,” which sparked a hit Showtime series series of the same name.

With the series on its third season, Maier said all the media attention is a new experience for him, since he has spent more than 30 years of his life as a newspaper investigative reporter.

Maier has written other books as well, which prompted Sony to purchase the TV rights of “Newhouse: All the Glitter, Power and Glory of America’s Richest Media Empire and the Secretive Man Behind It.” It’s now being developed for a mini-series by Bravo. The TV rights for his latest book, “When Lions Roar: the Churchills and the Kennedys,” has also been bought by Sony.

Taylor Moreno

Taylor Moreno

A multi-sport athlete, 17-year-old Taylor Moreno became the first female kicker in history to play for the Huntington High School boys football team. She hopes to be a role model for young girls who want to pursue what others deem impossible.  

From the sidelines, she is spotted by the brown French braid that hangs out from her helmet onto the back of her No. 2 jersey.

For the fall season, she was the only female to play on a varsity football team on Long Island, completing 13 extra points, with her longest kick a 35-yard field goal in practice.

Within the same season, Taylor was the goalie for the varsity girls soccer team and is currently playing on the basketball team. She was also on the indoor winter track team her junior year and will complete her senior year playing as goalie for the varsity lacrosse team.

With a 4.0 GPA and a 1560 score on her SAT, Taylor has been a New York State Scholar Athlete all four years in soccer and lacrosse. She plans to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a partial scholarship to play lacrosse next fall.

Brandon Niederauer

Brandon Niederauer

Brandon Niederauer, 12, of Dix Hills, can be seen performing on Broadway starring as Zack in the musical “School of Rock” at the Winter Garden Theatre.

The guitar rose to stardom after appearing on “The Ellen Degeneres Show” two years ago. Since then, he has played with the Allman Brothers, George Clinton, Dr. John and the Neville Brothers. He was also a backup player on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on Nov. 19.

A seventh-grader at the West Hollow Middle School, Neiderauer was home-tutored during rehearsal time and maintained a 98 average.

Neiderauer said landing the part for this role was meaningful because it was the movie version and the character he is playing that inspired him to start playing guitar.

Chris Strub

Chris Strub

As part of Chris Strub’s self-funded volunteering mission, traveling to several states throughout the country, he made his 90th stop at his native Town of Huntington Station speaking with campers of Project PLAY and St. John’s Camp on Aug. 14.

The camp, for low-income kids, hosted Strub, 30, at his former elementary school, Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School.

His mission was to volunteer with a youth organization in every state across the county in just 100 days.

Strub is a Greenville, South Carolina, resident and earned a bachelor’s degree from Binghamton University in 2007. He planned the trip to fuel his passion for traveling and volunteering to benefit the lives of children.