By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Meet the future president of the United States. He’ll be ready to run in … 2040!
Preston Ferraiuolo of Bay Ridge may be only eight years old, but he’s already preparing for the highest office in the land. “People have told me that I should run someday,” he proudly told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
He’s already got the podium from which he can make major announcements when he gets to the White House.
“Last Christmas, I asked Santa for a podium,” Preston said. While most kids request toys or computer games for Christmas, Preston wanted a podium. His wish was granted when Christmas morning of that year, he found a podium in his playroom. His parents, Peter Ferraiuolo and Liz Amato, even placed a small towel with a replica of the presidential seal in front of the podium.
For practice, Preston often stands at the podium and recites famous speeches into the microphone. He uses a stepstool to reach the microphone. On the Martin Luther King. Jr. National holiday, Preston recited King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. He has also recited Barack Obama’s 2004 Democratic National Convention speech, a speech that catapulted Obama to national prominence.
Preston, a poised and confident young man, is a student in the gifted and talented program at P.S. 229 in Dyker Heights. He’s typical of many of the students accepted into elite programs in public schools in Brooklyn. Intellectually gifted youngsters often possess a maturity far beyond their tender years.
Preston is well versed in current affairs and loves to talk about what’s going on in the world. He has met Mayor Michael Bloomberg, U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm, Borough President Marty Markowitz and other elected officials. He enjoyed watching President Obama’s second inauguration on television on Jan. 21. He has a globe in his playroom that can play the national anthems of various countries around the world with the press of a button.
“He’s obviously different,” said Amato, a member of Community Board 10 in Bay Ridge. “I mean, what kid asks for a podium for Christmas? But my husband and I like to encourage him,” she said.
Amato said she and her husband first became aware that their son was gifted when he was in nursery school. The children in his class were asked to create a family tree. While most kids made arts and crafts creations with paper plates and drawings of tree branches, “Preston made a realistic looking tree, with descriptions explaining who each person was and their importance to the family,” Amato said. “He really went into detail,” she said. The nursery school teacher told Amato and Ferraiuolo that they should have 3-year-old Preston tested for a gifted program.
“I passed the test. I scored in the 99 percentile,” Preston said without a trace of boasting.
In addition to current events, he loves computer technology. “I like to help the teachers. If there’s something wrong with their computer, I can fix it for them. If another kid is having trouble, the teacher usually says to me, “‘Preston, help him.’”
He enjoys learning words in several languages, including Greek, Arabic, Mandarin, and French.
Preston takes acting classes at Dimensions in Dance on Third Ave. and 76th Street in Bay Ridge.
He and a group of friends are planning to put on their own play. Preston is the producer and director. “Originally, I was supposed to perform in it. But it’s too hard to do both,” he admitted. The play is based on characters on Disney Channel shows.
Preston’s favorite television shows are “Gilligan’s Island” and “Wheel of Fortune.” He knew what year Gilligan’s Island debuted on the air (1963) and also knew that it was the same year Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the “I Have A Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial.
He recently formed a group with friends from school called Club 5. “We had a meeting at Arirang,” he said, referring to Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse, a restaurant on Fourth Avenue in Bay Ridge. “We were talking about things we want to do,” he said.