By Jill Webb
Ryan Bloom and Leo Chen have been announced as Newfield High School Class of 2017 respective valedictorian and salutatorian.
Bloom has managed to handle a full plate of academics, extracurricular clubs and a top student government position while amassing a 101.9 GPA to be named valedictorian.
The senior graduates with 42 college credits and was fully engaged outside of the classroom with his extracurricular activities. Not only was he the president of his senior class, but also held positions as secretary of the Thespian Honor Society, co-president and editor of the newspaper club, and PSTA council delegate. He was also a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society and World Language Honor Society.
Community service efforts Bloom has been a part of include serving as a religion education catechist at St. Gerard’s Majella Church in Port Jefferson Station for five years, and volunteering for a special needs bowling program during the summer.
He believes his personal goals along with his family’s support has driven him to attaining top-of-the-class status.
“The combination of those two has really pushed me towards success and has made me want to always go one step further than I already have,” he said.
Theresa Bloom, the valedictorian’s mother, recalls the perseverance he demonstrated from as early as 3 years old.
“He was always a child that was very organized and very detail-oriented in the way he actually did anything,” she said.
Bloom credits his time as class president as having a huge influence on learning useful skills for his future.
“You’re working with over 350 students and trying to have those communication skills and also leadership skills,” he said. “It’s taught me a lot [about] the virtue of patience”
He notes his leadership positions and involvement with clubs during high school have led him to explore career options in law or government. He will be majoring in political science at Northeastern University.
Like Bloom, Leo Chen has cultivated an impressive resume, which includes a GPA of 100.2 with 45 college credits.
The senior has been recognized as an AP Scholar with Distinction due to his performance on multiple AP exams. Outside of academics, Chen was a very active member at Newfield, as a member of the book club, Tri-M Music Honor Society, National Honor Society, select jazz band and chamber orchestra.
Chen also is a promising athlete, and captained the varsity track and field and cross-country teams.
One of his proudest accomplishments was achieving a personal best in the mile, with a time of 4 minutes, 32 seconds. Chen grew up with asthma, saying it was a “good achievement to feel like I overcame that.”
He said for students looking to be at the top of their class in the future, they shouldn’t think about it too hard.
“I don’t think your goal should be to achieve the ranking,” he said. “You should just find yourself — do what you like to do.”
In the fall, Chen will be a computer science major at Yale University.