Memories of Carmen
Carmen Rivera-Gotay passed in a car accident only days after finishing her junior year at Huntington High School. While her life was cut short, she lived the life she had fully and left a lasting impression on all she knew. Her mother, Carolyn Gotay, said, “She was everybody’s rock. She loved to help people. She shared good times and bad times, and never gave up on people.”
Born on December 11, 1995 in Southside Hospital, Carmen spent her entire life in Suffolk County. She grew up in Amityville before moving with her family to Huntington. She attended Finley Junior High School before moving on to Huntington High School. Dean Paul Caleca said, “Carmen was part of the backbone of the school. She was one of those students who made everyone’s day a little better, a little brighter.”
A busy teenager, Carmen was a solid student, who played the violin and took a job working at the local King Kullen supermarket. One customer recalled, “She was always so nice and attentive. I liked going to her checkout line because she made you feel special.” Despite her busy schedule, Carmen always had time to hang out with friends and her family. She could be found with her sisters, Amber and Jennifer, or out jogging with friends. Her mother remembers late night trips to the diner and Saturday morning shopping trips. “I could always count on her to be up for some fun.”
Carmen was a good friend and a good sister. She kept one of her favorite quotes always near-by, “always accept and feel comfortable with your flaws, that way no one can ever use them against you.” Carolyn Gotay said, “She put her heart out there. She never judged anyone. She never gave up on people.”
Carmen touched so many people and those moments continue to blossom as so many remember the cheer and joy that she brought. The Carmen Rivera-Gotay Memorial Scholarship is another way to cherish her memory and keep Carmen’s spirit alive.