Meet Centereach High School’s valedictorian and salutatorian

Meet Centereach High School’s valedictorian and salutatorian

Scene from the 2019 Centereach graduation ceremony. Photo by Bill Landon
Centereach High School valedictorian Faiza Syed. Photo from Middle Country Central School District

Faiza Syed

Centereach High School valedictorian Syed graduated with a weighted grade point average of 102.791 and completed 13 Advanced Placement classes and three college-level courses. Due to these accomplishments she earned the title of an AP Scholar with Distinction.

Syed, who has spent her entire school career in the MCCSD, was also elected by her peers to serve this year as the president of the school’s National Honor Society, was a member of the National Arts Honor Society and Italian Honor Society and was a competitor on the math team and Science Olympiad.

“I believe Centereach High School has prepared me for my future because throughout high school I have learned information along with skills that will be applicable during college and when pursuing my career,” she said. “High school has also taught me the importance of collaborating with others and the necessity of combining knowledge with creativity in order to develop solutions to problems and apply what I have learned.”

In the fall, Syed will attend New York Institute of Technology, where she will be enrolled in its seven-year medical program to become a pediatric neurosurgeon, which she said has always interested her.

“It would be an honor to be capable of helping cure children who unfortunately suffer from neurological abnormalities,” she said.

Centereach High School salutatorian Samantha Cotes. Photo from Middle Country Central School District

Samantha Cotes

As this year’s Centereach High School salutatorian, Cotes has completed 11 AP courses and four college-level courses at local universities, amounting to three semesters worth of credit. She served as the General Organization president of her class, and she was integral in coordinating and running events, including homecoming, the food drive, the toy drive, Trick or Treat Street and the Senior Citizen’s Afternoon Tea. Cotes also was a Tri-M Honor Society officer, a member of the National Honor Society, math team and Science Olympiad, and was a varsity athlete on the track and field and cross-country teams.

“My time at Centereach has given me a lot of opportunity for personal growth through the people I’ve met and the activities I’ve been involved in, which is something that will help me succeed personally and professionally,” Cotes said.

The salutatorian, who took part in Stony Brook Medicine’s Science and Research Awareness Series, will attend SUNY Binghamton where she will study medicine.

“I have always been interested in anatomy and medicine but attending the SARAS program at Stony Brook Hospital and volunteering there enforced my interests,” she said. “I don’t have a dream job, but ophthalmology excites me.”

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