Students at Kings Park, Hauppauge, and Smithtown school districts put in strong efforts this year to come out at the top of their classes. The valedictorian and salutatorian at Kings Park and Hauppauge, and the honored speakers at Smithtown High School East and West shared a little about themselves so the community can get to know them better.
Salutatorian: Joseph Ribaudo
Ribaudo will be graduating with a cumulative weighted average of 105.89. He participated in Model UN, varsity golf, Science Olympiad, math team, National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, trivia team and the business club DECA. He only recently joined the DECA program this year and qualified to go to the international competition in Anaheim, California. He also excelled at regional and national science competitions. Ribaudo received the National Hispanic Scholar award, which is given to the top 2000 Hispanics in the nation. He also teaches religion twice a week at St. Joseph’s parish. Ribaudo will be attending Yale next year, double majoring in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology and economics.
Valedictorian: Anjali Verma
Verma will be graduating with a cumulative weighted average of 105.98. She serves as president of Science Olympiad, student leader of the Kings Park Chamber Orchestra, vice-president of Model U.N. and vice-president of the Independent Science Research Club. She is a three-season athlete participating in the cross-country, winter track, and spring track teams. For the past year, Anjali conducted research under the mentorship of Dr. James Dilger, volunteering in his lab to investigate a safer alternative to opioid pain medications. She has been recognized as a Coca-Cola Scholar, a National Merit Scholar, a Presidential Scholars Program nominee, and was a 3rd place finalist at the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair in the computational biology category. Anjali will be attending Columbia University next year, majoring in mechanical engineering.
Salutatorian: Rachel Black, 18
Black will be attending the University of Notre Dame to study mathematics with a concentration in life sciences. Selecting her favorite high school memory is difficult, because there have been so many. She was fortunate to go on the German Exchange trip her sophomore year, and said that it was a blast and she learned so much. Also her freshmen year she ran her last race of the season in cross-country and became an all county runner. But there are so many, even small moments like bonding as a class, or joking around at extra help, she doesn’t think she could say what her single favorite high school memory was. There are so many things she is excited about for college. She is super excited to be able to focus more intently on one area of study, as well as participating in the service events, club teams and ministry Notre Dame has to offer. She is going to miss the people in her high school the most. Black will miss her friends and teachers, coaches, and advisors. She will also miss all her sports teams and being a part of the clubs she was involved in. She said Hauppauge High School was her second home and she will really miss it. Black was involved in student council and served as president, treasurer of the school’s National Honor Society and German Honor Society, co-president of Science Olympiad , member of Natural Helpers, and participated in cross-country, winter track and spring track as captain.
Valedictorian: Angela Musco, 18
Musco will be attending Stony Brook University in the fall. She will be in the Honors College as well as the Scholars for Medicine Program (8 year medical program). She plans to major in biology with a focus in neurobiology, as well as minor in Spanish. As president of Interact Club (a community service club), she helped organize Safe Halloween, an annual event to allow children to trick-or-treat and play games safely. This is one of her favorite memories because she said she likes working with the children. She is most excited to meet more people and make new friends at college. Musco said she is also excited to live on her own and be more independent; she is looking forward to being exposed to new ideas and starting her journey towards her career in medicine. She will miss seeing her best friends every single day. While in high school she was a member of National Honor Society, vice president of Spanish Honor Society, president of Interact Club, vice president of the student body, treasurer of debate club and more.
Honored speaker: Cory Zhou, 17
Zhou will be attending Yale University to study biomedical engineering or economics. His favorite high school memory is staying overnight every year at Relay for Life. He said it’s an incredible event that raises a ton of money for the American Cancer Society, and to be a part of it with his friends was so rewarding and fun. Zhou is most excited to be able to meet so many new people and form more lifelong friendships, as well as gain more independence to explore many new academic and extracurricular interests. He said he is going to miss the people at Smithtown West the most. All the teachers he had were so incredibly passionate, and he said he developed real relationships with each one. His amazing friends have been through so much with him; the best times he has had were the ones spent with them, and he said it’s going to be so hard not having them with him every day. In high school, he was involved in Academic Quiz Bowl, Science Olympiad, math team, DECA, Freshman Kickstart Mentoring, varsity badminton, symphonic band, and several honor societies.
Honored speaker: Kyle DiPietrantonio, 18
DiPietrantonio will attend George Washington University double majoring in international affairs and Spanish. His favorite high school memory would be attending DECA’s International Career Development Conference in Anaheim this past April. He said it was an amazing time spent with his teachers and friends. As this year’s co-president for Smithtown East, it was an excellent and full-circle way to end his DECA experiences. Aside from competing, some highlights included bonding with his peers, watching the sunrise, and visiting Universal Studios with 19,000 other DECA members from around the world. He is most excited about being in the vibrant city of Washington D.C. and in a new environment. He is also excited to meet new people from all walks of life and expand his perspective. DiPietrantonio will miss a tremendous amount about his school, especially the unforgettable people he was fortunate enough to cross paths with and all of the memories they shared. He said Smithtown has always been so supportive of him and has given him a solid base to succeed in his future. He is leaving high school knowing he genuinely took advantage of every opportunity, from intriguing clubs and classes, and even several trips abroad. DiPietrantonio was very involved in his high school’s extracurriculars. This year, he was the co-president of DECA as well as the vice president of Suffolk County DECA. Additionally, he was the co-president of the Spanish Honor Society and the co-president and captain of the Academic Quiz Bowl team. He was also part of the Smithtown Industry Advisory Board as a member of the international business committee. He was an active member in the leadership class the past two years where he led the Friends Dance committee that supported students with autism at the Nassau Suffolk Services for Autism. Finally he was involved as a member in the National, Social Studies, Business, Math, and DECA honor societies.