Cailen Riley [ Sag Harbor Express] writes a wonderful story about Iaiela. Here is a brief excerpt:
When Pierson High School guidance counselor Margaret Motto pulled Iaiela Saldivar-Tellez into her office near the end of the school year, Iaiela was initially worried she’d done something wrong. It was the look on Ms. Motto’s face, she said, that had her thinking bad news was about to be delivered.
“She looked so serious,” Iaiela recalled, saying Ms. Motto asked her if she’d checked her voicemail recently. She said no, adding, “I told her if I did anything wrong, it’s not my fault.”
So Iaiela checked her messages. There was one from someone associated with the Sag Harbor Lions Club. Ms. Motto urged Iaiela to return the call. That’s when she got the news, and it certainly wasn’t bad. The Pierson High School senior learned that she’d earned a $2,000 scholarship from the club, which had created a Special Award category just for her, after reviewing the application she’d sent in for one of the three scholarships handed out by the organization to Pierson students each year. Ms. Motto congratulated Iaiela, and that was a strange feeling, she said. “She started praising me, and I got really emotional, because I’ve never really been praised before,” Iaiela said in an interview earlier this week. “I was just speechless. I couldn’t even say thank you, so Ms. Motto took the phone and said thank you for me. It might not seem like a lot of money for some people, but for me it’s an incredible amount of money.”