As the school year ended, Louis Viglietta was named one of Commack High School’s academic leaders along with Kimberly Liao. Viglietta capped off the year with a 105.34 weighted grade point average.
Viglietta is preparing to attend Princeton University at the end of the summer and will major in chemical and biological engineering. Once he attends college, he said he will miss the Commack community.
“I’m excited, but there will actually be things I will miss about Commack,” he said, adding that he and his friends have already discussed how they will visit each other.
The academic leader said that at a young age his father, Peter, a software engineer, taught him chemistry, and he continued to focus on the subject in high school. He said his interest in biology developed over the years watching his mother, Anna Marie, battling a mild case of cerebral palsy.
He was 4 years old when he moved to Commack from Wantagh and attended Rolling Hills Primary School and Sawmill Intermediate before starting high school. Viglietta said he has appreciated his education in the district and was lucky to have supportive teachers, including his math teachers and chemistry teacher Stephanie O’Brien.
In addition to his studies, during his time in Commack, Viglietta was involved in the Simons Summer Research Program at Stony Brook University, performed as principal flute player with the ICA Wind Ensemble, was treasurer for the class executive board and Science Honor Society and president of the Quizbowl club. During his high school career, he won second place in the Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision contest and is a Rensselaer Medal scholarship winner.
Viglietta said he enjoyed being on the class board as treasurer, dealing with financial decisions, organizing big events and the senior gift, as well as working with the advisers and his classmates. He added that he also gained a lot of positive experience as president of the Quizbowl, a competition team he joined in ninth grade.
Viglietta said the Simons Research Program provided great experience in the biochemical and bioresearch fields, allowing him to work in a Stony Brook Medicine lab and research pathways that cause some of the side effects of chemotherapy, and hear from some of the faculty members about their research.
Regarding this year’s school shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic, Viglietta said he found the online learning experience interesting but manageable. With prom canceled and graduation tentatively scheduled for August, Viglietta said he was able to adjust, but all of his friends are dealing with it differently.
“When I started to think about it, it was the little things that won’t get rescheduled — the goodbyes to teachers and friends, the yearbook signings — all those smaller events that don’t have a setting to take place anymore,” he said.
For his fellow students, he said his best advice is to keep at it and persevere even when times are tough.
“Even though this class had the year chopped off a bit, there still have been great milestones and things to look forward to,” he said. “Just keep looking ahead, and you’ll get through it.”