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Salutatorian

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Rocky Point High School announced that Ashlynne Xavier and Fiona McEvoy have been named the class of 2021 valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively.

Valedictorian Ashlynne Xavier has made the most out of her high school career. She has taken part in Stony Brook University’s Women in Science and Engineering program and the high school’s science research program. She plays viola in the pit orchestra, is a member of the Human Rights Club and has played soccer and lacrosse at both the junior varsity and varsity levels.

Photo from RPSD

Ashlynne is a National Merit Scholarship recipient. She is also a member of the National Honor Society, the National English Honor Society and the New York State Mathematics Honor Society and is on the Principals Honor Roll. She has received a Long Island Science Congress Merit Award and an East End Arts Teeny Award. She has been honored with a Research and Innovation Grant and a Rush Rhees Scholarship through the University of Rochester.

Ashlynne’s interests in the community include playing lacrosse with the Long Island Yellow Jackets, being a mission team member and volunteer for Habitat for Humanity through her church and holding a job as a veterinary assistant and a store associate.

Salutatorian Fiona McEvoy also has an impressive high school résumé as a National Honor Society, National English Honor Society and New York State Mathematics Honor Society member. She is the Class of 2021 Student Government treasurer. She was also a participant in the Women in Science and Engineering program at Stony Brook University in addition to the university’s iSTEM program. 

Photo from RPSD

Fiona participated in the high school’s Debate Club, Human Rights Club, Mock Trial and Student Government. She was a member of the varsity track team and junior varsity soccer team. She has held positions in the local community and has received various honors and certificates for her volunteer service, including a Long Island Science Congress Achievement Award. Fiona attended the SPARK Research Program at Brookhaven National Laboratory, was a student facilitator at the Human Rights Institute at Iona College and was a presenter at the high school’s annual Science Research Symposium. She also attended the Adelphi University Pre-College Program for Science Medicine and Health and the Lebanon Valley College Health and Biomedical Sciences Summer Camp.

Following graduation, Ashlynne is bound for the University of Rochester where she plans to major in biomedical engineering with possible minors in American Sign Language, music or political science. Fiona is headed to Commonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she plans to major in chemistry on the pre-med track.

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Mount Sinai High School. File photo by Kevin Redding

Elaina Varriale has been named Mount Sinai High School’s class of 2021 valedictorian. 

Photo from MSSD

She said began getting involved with the school during her freshman year with the student government, staying in the club throughout her four years and serving as acting president during her senior year. Involved with both music and sports, she played volleyball and was a member of chamber orchestra. A member of the National Honor Society, she became held the title of secretary.

With an overall GPA well-above 104, she will be attending Cornell University in the fall, studying in the college of engineering. She plans on focusing mainly on chemical engineering. 

Elaina said she was surprised when she found out she was the class valedictorian. 

“I know how hard I’ve worked throughout the years, but I know that there are a lot of really great, hardworking people in my grade, my friends included, so I was a little surprised.”

She said the honor was rewarding. 

Before she leaves for university, Elaina will be working and spending as much time with her family and friends as possible. 

Paige Brauer was named as Mount Sinai High School’s salutatorian. While maintaining a 101.6 GPA, she participated in extracurriculars like Best Buddies, Athletes Helping Athletes, Peer Leaders, FACs, and played on varsity volleyball and varsity track. 

While not in school, Paige volunteered at a therapeutic horseback riding facility, as well as at Mather Hospital where she shadowed several different doctors. 

In the fall, she will be attending Georgetown University, studying human science and pre-med in hopes of going into surgery.

Photo from MSSD

“My family has played a huge role for pushing me to do my best,” she said. “I also love staying busy, so between work, volunteer, school, sports, and clubs, I always had something to be doing when I wasn’t hanging out with my friends. Staying focused on my end goals really helped me continuously push myself over the last four years.”

Paige said she was caught by surprise to find out she was going to be salutatorian.

“I was so excited,” she said. “It was such an honor and I couldn’t be happier.”

She said she’s planning on spending as much time with her friends before they all go away to school.

Photo from MPSD

Graduating with the class of 2021 of Miller Place High School, Kyla Bruno will be leaving as valedictorian, finishing at the top of her class with a weighted GPA of 102.34. Kyla plans to attend college at Northwestern University and will be majoring in mathematics, with a minor or double major in music. 

Photo from MPSD

Throughout her high school career, Kyla has accomplished a tremendous amount academically. She was awarded AP Scholar with Honors, Performing Arts Teeny Award for Outstanding Instrumentalist, and was recognized by the College Board National Hispanic Recognition Program.

Consistently achieving honor roll while enrolled in all AP and honors courses, Kyla has also received Special Recognition of Excellence in language arts, geometry, Spanish, and orchestra. She was additionally named an All-State Musician. 

Not only is Kyla academically gifted, but is a very active athlete as well, earning the Scholar-Athlete Award for tennis and track. She is a member of both the spring and winter track teams and was recognized as All-League and All-County on her tennis team.

Leaving with a 101.30, the second-highest GPA in the Class of 2021, Jason Cirrito was named salutatorian at Miller Place high school.

Jason was notably awarded for his academic excellence, but also had a big involvement in his community. He achieved High Honor Roll for every marking period since 9th grade and received awards for Advanced Placement Scholar with Honors and the Geometry Honors Award.

He was also given the Outstanding Acts of Kindness Award for helping his classmates and community members without expecting anything in return. 

Spending his time at the Port Jefferson Library, Jason helped coordinate events and also served as the assistant coach for the Miller Place Parent Teacher Organization basketball team. 

To add to his stellar academic and community service achievements, Jason was known as an involved student-athlete. He was a member of the cross-country team, soccer team, and the winter and spring track teams. 

This fall, Jason will be attending Vassar College and plans to major in math education and become a secondary math teacher.

Northport High School. File photo

By Leah Chiappino

In light of graduation season, Northport High School has named Peter DeTolla and Alea Brummel valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively.

Peter DeTolla

Like all members of the Class of 2020, both students have attempted to rise to the challenge of celebrating senior year in the face of a pandemic, while mourning the loss of classic senior moments, such as prom and traditional graduation.

“I definitely would have preferred to have finished my senior year in school with all of my classmates, but I am trying to make the best of the situation,” Brummel said. “While I am sad that I didn’t get many of the opportunities I would have had if we had been in school, I am extremely grateful for the efforts our principal Mr. Danbusky and all of the other staff and teachers at Northport High School who have made efforts to ensure we get a special ending to our senior year such as lawn signs or the drive-by parade we had.”

“The pandemic was really a slap in the face, as everyone in the Class of 2020 missed out on the best part of high school,” DeTolla added. “However, my school made a great effort to make us feel appreciated and I thank them for that.”

DeTolla finished high school with a 102.78 grade point average and plans to attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall, with hopes of becoming a mechanical engineer.

The valedictorian was involved in Students for 60,000, a Northport High School-based service organization dedicated to helping the needy. Through the club, DeTolla went on a service trip to Nicaragua, which he says was a highlight of his high school experience. “My experience in Nicaragua as a part of Students for 60,000 is something I’ll never forget,” he said. “I’ve become so appreciative of the life I have, and those trips are a big reason for that. The memories and friends I made there are truly remarkable.”

DeTolla added that another highlight from high school was beating Ward Melville High School “on their home turf,” at a record-breaking lacrosse game.

“It was a euphoric feeling that I share with every member of the team,” he said.

One of four children, DeTolla said he grew up in a close, well-rounded family, something he attributes to his success.

“My mother and father, Aimee and Peter, raised me to be a balanced individual with a strong work ethic and kind spirit,” he said. “Our family is very close, and I can’t imagine not being a part of it … I would like to thank every teacher, coach, older cousin and any other role model in my life for giving me the tools to succeed.”

Alea Brummel

Brummel, who earned a 101.62 GPA, is headed to Baylor University in the fall to study chemistry and mathematics on a pre-med track, with the hopes of working in sports medicine. For the salutatorian, it was her combined love of sports and science that led her on this path. At Northport, she was the head student athletic trainer and was able to assist the district’s athletic trainer in treating and rehabilitating injured student-athletes. The times when she was working directly on the football field, she said, were some of her favorite memories from high school.

“I am a huge football fan, and it was awesome to not only go to games but to also get to work as a student trainer for the games,” she said. “It was an amazing experience to be on the field with the players, and I am hoping to potentially pursue a career in sports medicine so it was incredible to get to see what the atmosphere is like.”

Despite her school and training commitments, Brummel also was involved in community service through her church. For the past two years, she has gone on a service trip to the Dominican Republic over February break.

Brummel said she has loved growing up in Northport and “had an amazing experience at Northport High School.” She praised all of her “amazing teachers,” but gave special thanks to her AP Chemistry teacher, Don Strasser, as his class was a major factor in Brummel choosing chemistry as a major. She said her math teachers likewise fueled her passion for mathematics, and that she is deeply grateful to her mentors in the sports medicine program, Tracey Braun and Shawn Scattergood. Brummel thanked her family for “always being incredibly supportive of me and always being there for me.”

She advised next year’s senior class to take the time to cherish senior year.

“Make sure you take advantage of all of your opportunities and make sure to have fun and enjoy your senior year,” she said. “This year especially has shown us, not everything is guaranteed to happen as expected, so make the most of what you experience — go to the game, go to the dance, go out with your friends.”

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Kings Park High School. Photo by Rita J. Egan

By Leah Chiappino

Kings Park High School graduating seniors Celina Ma and Taryn O’Connor have earned the title of valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively.

Celina Ma

With the coronavirus, Ma and O’Connor have had to make the best of celebrating the conclusion of their senior year of high school in the face of a pandemic. Ma says that she has found positivity through the darkness.

“Losing my senior year to the COVID-19 pandemic was heartbreaking and disappointing, to say the least,” she said. “But through adversity, comes growth. While we have all experienced a great loss, I think the Class of 2020 has also gained a new resilience and strength that will serve us well for the rest of our lives.”

O’Connor added that while the restrictions have been disappointing, she has hope for
the future.

“I was definitely disappointed over losing the end of my senior year due to COVID-19, she said. “I found it difficult to transition to online classes, as I find that I work best in a classroom environment. I was also looking forward to all the events for the seniors that happen in the final months, whether it be prom or the Senior Countdown on the field. However, I’m happy that the school is trying to arrange an in-person graduation ceremony, and I’m hopeful that restrictions will eventually loosen so that the class can get to graduate together.”

Ma earned a final grade point average of 108.42 and will attend Duke University in the fall to study in their pre-med program. Well on her way to a career in medicine, Ma has conducted biochemical research at Peter Tonge’s laboratory at Stony Brook University on the “development of novel, boron-based bivalent inhibitors against Staphylococcus aureus” over the past few summers.

“It really opened my eyes to what the science research field was like, and I learned so much during those 10 weeks,” she said. “It was also super fun being able to get hands-on doing different chemical reactions and laboratory procedures.”

She has won multiple awards for her research. Ma is also a National AP Scholar and a National Merit Scholar. She is the captain of the varsity tennis team and is a co-president of Independent Science Research, Model UN and Science Olympiad, as well as the vice president of Mock Trial. She volunteered as the entertainment chair of the Kings Park Relay for Life and at her local food pantry. A dedicated piano player, she was an all-state qualifier, playing as both a soloist and an accompanist.

Despite all of these accomplishments, Ma said her favorite high school memory has simply been relaxing with her friends during junior prom. “[It] was a rollercoaster of a day,” she said. “I had two AP exams back to back, going from 7:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. I was super stressed after I finished because I was already late to prom pictures and still had to get ready, but I think the anxiety of the day ended up making the fun of the night all the more memorable. I made a fashionably late entrance to prom pictures and had a blast dancing with my friends all night.”

In line with her favorite memory, she advises next year’s seniors to “make the most of every moment. After the stress of applying to college is over, enjoy your final days of being a high schooler, and don’t forget to thank all the teachers/faculty you’re leaving behind.”

Ma credits those around her for helping her achieve her success.

“There are so many people who have helped me get to where I am today,” she said. “I’d like to thank my family first and foremost, my friends, my teachers and administration for their endless support. I couldn’t have done it without them.”

Taryn O’Connor

O’Connor finished high school with a final GPA of 106.59 and will attend Harvard University in the fall where she is set to study applied mathematics.

A daughter of Irish immigrants, her family settled in Kings Park a few years before she was born. O’Connor said she loved growing up in Kings Park’s tight-knit community. “Throughout my time in Kings Park, I have spent a lot of time with friends, and have made many memories along the way, whether it be from walking on the beach or getting a slice of pizza,” she said. “In school, I made invaluable connections with my teachers that I will never forget.”

The salutatorian cited the school’s annual Relay for Life event as her favorite high school memory.

“Each year, it was a fun-filled day with friends, whether it be at my team’s tent, on the field, or walking around the track,” she said. “Plus, the event sheds light on the importance of supporting the fight against cancer, and I believe that it is a great way to get the community together.”

O’Connor was also the captain of the Math Team and Trivia Team, the co-president of Model UN and Independent Science Research, the vice president of Science Olympiad, the treasurer of the Mock Trial team and a member of the Relay for Life committee. She was a member of the National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society and ran in the cross country, winter track and spring track teams.

When asked to give advice for next year’s seniors, O’Connor stressed the importance of setting goals and sticking to them. She added her teachers and parents have helped her to do so in her own life.

“Their guidance ultimately helped me to achieve the goals that I set for myself,”
she said.

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The Eagle banner at Hauppauge High School. Photo by Rita J. Egan

By Leah Chiappino

Hauppauge High School has named Caroline Fortmeyer and Devin Capece as its valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively.

Caroline Fortmeyer

The graduates have had to finish their senior year and celebrate their achievements in the midst of a pandemic. Yet, Fortmeyer said that the situation has taught her resilience and perspective.

“Although it was very unfortunate to have my prom canceled and graduation delayed, this entire experience has transformed my life in ways that are far more important than these events,” she said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has yielded lessons of resiliency, innovation and gratitude for our entire society.”

Capece added that he chose to look at the positive aspect of having online classes, such as the fact his family grew closer together.

“We can’t change the fact that COVID-19 has forced us to distance ourselves from others and that all of the senior moments that we had been looking forward to were suddenly stripped away, but we can control whether we allow it to destroy our spirit,” he said. “I am hopeful that this crisis will display the resilience of our generation and teach us to find value and hope in a dire situation. … I am grateful that this period has provided all of us with the time to reflect upon what is truly important.”

Fortmeyer earned a final grade point average of 102.61. She is headed to Northeastern University in the fall where she will major in business. The valedictorian said that she is uncertain about what her specific career path will look like, but that she hopes to work with people in a math-oriented field. At Hauppauge, she was National Honor Society class president and was a member of the Mock Trial club and the chamber choir. The choir took her to competitions in New Jersey, Virginia and Florida and allowed her to perform at various community events. She said the choir’s trip to Disney last year as her favorite high school memory.

“It was truly an unforgettable experience,” she said.

Having lived in Hauppauge her entire life, she said the community is one of the things she will miss the most when she goes away to college.

“I am grateful to have grown up in such a supportive community,” she said. “In fact, some of my earliest memories involve attending school events with my brothers. It always amazes me how our community is so united especially during the most difficult of times, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.”

Fortmeyer credited both the support of her family and the education she received as factors leading to her success.

“I cannot express sufficient gratitude to my parents for their tireless support and advice, which has been invaluable to me,” she said. “I thank them for their patience, love and for teaching me the most important life lessons. I would also like to thank all of my teachers, for their commitment and dedication has been so impactful. Since the day I began kindergarten, I have felt welcomed and supported by every teacher that has entered my life. I am beyond grateful to have learned from such knowledgeable teachers and people of admirable character.”

Devin Capece

Capece finished his senior year with a 102.18 GPA. He is set to attend Purdue University to study chemical engineering. He is unsure what he would like to do as a career but is certain that he wants to use his education to help solve societal problems he is passionate about.

The salutatorian was involved in a number of honor societies, was a varsity tennis player and played the saxophone with the advanced jazz band. He was president of the ethics and debate club, secretary of the robotics team, and competed in the Model United Nations competition. He also volunteered with Vincentian Leadership Institute to go on various community service trips throughout New York City and was a Eucharistic minister and outreach volunteer at Christ the King Parish. Capece also worked with Long Island Cares to organize food drives.

Capece said his favorite high school memory was hanging out with friends and ordering pizzas late at night at the hotel during the trip to the Festivals of Music in Virginia Beach he took his sophomore year.

One of four boys, Capece credits his close-knit family for his success.

”Both my parents are the most giving people in the world, and represent love at its core,” he said. “Of course, no family is perfect, but it’s the imperfections that make it perfect. My parents have always taught us positive values, most notably selflessness and doing good for others, but have also made us aware that nothing good ever happens without hard work.”

Specifically, he thanked his mother for helping him navigate the college search. She “helped me to figure out which schools were best to apply to, and she became a database of college information,” he said. “I am truly thankful that she has put so much effort into my life, and that she enjoys doing so.”

Capece also thanked the high school band director, Andrew Monsen, and credits him for making his experience in the music department so enjoyable.

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Matthew Fiorella

Ward Melville’s salutatorian capped off the school year with a 104.85 weighted grade point average.

With the school year behind him, Matthew Fiorella is ready to head to the University of California, Los Angeles and major in engineering. He said when it came to choosing colleges it was down to the California school and the University of Michigan. He decided he would have better intern and job opportunities through UCLA. Plus, he said he liked California after visiting there a couple of times.

Originally living in Arizona and Ohio when he was younger, Fiorella moved to the Three Village Central School District for second grade. He started at Setauket Elementary School and then entered the Intellectually Gifted Program at Mount Elementary School in fourth grade. He continued his studies at P.J. Gelinas Junior High School.

During his high school career, Fiorella has kept busy both in and outside of school. He was the president of the Junior Model UN, a member of the National and Spanish honor societies and was named a National Merit Finalist. The salutatorian was also a member of the school’s band. He played first alto saxophone and was president of the wind ensemble. He also completed an internship at the biotechnology startup Vascular Simulations Inc.

As far as sports, he worked as a coach for the Three Village Youth Basketball organization and took part in the Sports Arena Basketball team.

He said balancing extracurriculars with schoolwork can be challenging.

“It’s trying not to waste time and not to procrastinate, which is difficult because it’s something that I think is natural to a lot of people,” he said. “I think being involved in a lot of things and moving around a lot helps me stay disciplined.”

Fiorella has been inspired by his father, Dr. David Fiorella, who works at Stony Brook University Hospital, and his mother, Andrea Fiorella, a former physical therapist. Besides his parents, Fiorella said his cousin David Lawrence has been an influence in his life.

Lawrence is an electrical engineer, which Fiorella found interesting because there are creative elements to that field, and he had the opportunity to tour his cousin’s workplace when he was younger.

“It was always very interesting to me, and it was really cool to see the more imaginative side of engineering, and it’s kind of what got me interested in it,” he said.

However, with a recent curiosity in history and politics during high school, he said he may even consider studying law in graduate school one day.

“I like engineering, but I don’t feel like I have had the chance to really validate that interest because most of the courses you take in school don’t reflect engineering until you get into college,” he said.

With senior year behind him, and a possible in-person graduation in July, the salutatorian said he and others never imagined the possibility that they might not have a prom or graduation.

“It’s hard because you really don’t know what you’re missing because you haven’t experienced it or something else like it,” he said. “I feel like it’s a very singular experience.”

For those students he leaves behind at Ward Melville High School, he said his advice would be not to stress so much about the day-to-day things and focus more on enjoying everything.

“This year has really shown there’s so much you really can’t plan for,” he said. “Even just in the way college decisions come out, you really realize that things aren’t the way you expected them to be. You just kind of have to accept it.”

Miller Place valedictorian Lori Beth Sussman and salutatorian Jenna Hoyland. Photos from Miller Place School District

Miller Place High School announced the top students of the 2019 graduating class are seniors Lori Beth Sussman and Jenna Hoyland, who have been named valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively.

Sussman has been an all-county musician involved in the jazz band and pit orchestra. In addition, she was the foreign language national honor society Spanish president, Tri-M co-vice president, varsity tennis member and part of the mock trial club. She also was Mathletes captain, Future Business Leaders of America member and The Cancer Answer project fundraiser founder.

She shared some advice to students who are heading into high school, saying not to be afraid to ask questions and put your foot forward. 

Sussman finished her high school career with a 99.918 weighted GPA and plans to attend Vassar College in the fall. 

“I’m really excited to go to Vassar. They have an open and flexible curriculum.” she said. ”I’m looking forward to learning more.”   

Hoyland has participated in winter and spring track, served as senior council president and service club treasurer and was yearbook editor. This year she was also named a National Merit Commended Scholar.   

The senior shared some advice to her fellow peers and students who are heading into
high school.

“Set high standards and don’t back down from them,” she said.  

Hoyland finished her high school career with a 99.77 weighted GPA and will attend Binghamton University where she plans to study chemistry. 

“I’m excited to meet new people and take on new challenges,” she said. 

Mount Sinai valedictorian Isaac Kisten and salutatorian Kenneth Wei. Photos from Mount Sinai School District

By Leah Chiappino

In light of graduation season, Mount Sinai valedictorian Isaac Kisten and salutatorian Kenneth Wei have taken the time to reflect on their hopes for the future as well as their journeys to the success they have attained thus far in school.  

Kisten has a final GPA of 104.28 and plans to attend the Stern School of Business at New York University as a finance major. He stated that he also hopes to study social entrepreneurship in order to “leverage the use of business to benefit the community in some way.”

At Mount Sinai, he took ten AP courses and earned the AP Scholar with Distinction award. Kisten stayed immersed in extracurriculars at Mount Sinai as the Future Business Leaders of America president and the National Honor Society treasurer. He volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, March of Dimes and the Ronald McDonald House, and worked as the Center Youth Group student leader. 

To boot, he played varsity basketball and won several awards for his performance, such as Basketball All-County Academic and first place at the AICPA National Bank On It tournament. He was named Infant Jesus Basketball All-Star.

Kisten commended his family for his accomplishments. 

“They always had confidence in me and my abilities,” he said. “They motivated and guided me when I needed direction.”

The Kisten family first moved to Mount Sinai from Queens in 2007, a decision Kisten has nothing but positive things to say about. 

“These past 12 years have been amazing,” the valedictorian said. “This school is unparalleled in preparation and opportunities offered to all students. The community of Mount Sinai has been extremely welcoming.”

He added equally high esteem and appreciation for his teachers.  

“Being valedictorian is more of a testament of how exceptional all my teachers have been,” he said. “I simply listened to all of their advice and teaching and success came easy.”

Kisten did not abstain from the opportunity to thank his friends and regarded the school’s senior trip to Disney as his favorite high school memory, citing the “countless memories” that were made in just a few days.

As far as advice to future seniors, Kisten said to “pay attention to the advice of those who went before us. Parents, teachers and all of those who have had more life experiences than us offer guidance that can be the key to success. Always keep in mind the small community of Mount Sinai. It gave us 12-plus years of our lives that we could not find anywhere else.”

Wei earned a final GPA of 104.11, and will be attending MIT as a bioengineering major, with hopes of working in the research field. His extracurriculars included Athletes Helping Athletes Club and Student Council president, as well as playing the flute and piano in the music department. 

His favorite memories from high school consist of his tenure running track and field. He joked that his most memorable experience in the sport was splitting a cantaloupe between his legs at the state championships. His skills exceed far beyond that, as in the 2019 indoor track and field season he earned the U.S. #1 Mark for the long jump, was recognized three times as an All- American track star and holds the state record in the sixty meter hurdles. He also competed with professional and Division 1 collegiate athletes at the Toyota USATF indoor championships. 

Wei took 11 AP courses, but his favorite class at Mount Sinai was a ceramics course taught by Eric Giorlando, who doubles as his track coach. Wei praised Giorlando, calling him a “mentor to me over the past four years. He’s taught me a lot and I would like to thank him for all he has done for me.”

Wei’s advice to future seniors was to relax during the college admission process, and not to focus on the immense stress he said students are put through. 

“Nine times out of ten you are going to be happy where you end up regardless,’’ he said. “If there is an extracurricular you want to take, but you are juggling a big STEM class your senior year, go for the extracurricular. Just
have fun.”

Comsewogue valedictorian Ankita Katukota and salutatorian Jessica Sperling. Photos from CUFSD

Comsewogue High School announced the top students of the 2019 graduating class are seniors Ankita Katukota and Jessica Sperling, who have been named valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively.

Katukota finished her high school career with a 101.43 weighted GPA. She served as the varsity tennis captain and interned at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. She was a member of the jazz band, Brookhaven youth court, Women in Science and Engineering and Athletes Helping Athletes. 

She will attend University of California, Los Angeles and plans to study pre-med. 

“I’m really excited to go to UCLA and ready to try something new,” she said. “The school is really well-known for its pre-med program.”

Katukota shared some advice to students who are heading into high school. 

“I would just say keep working hard, get involved in extracurricular activities and keep striving for what you want,” she said.

Sperling, as salutatorian, finished her high school career with a 100.2 weighted GPA. During her time at Comsewogue, Sperling served as   T.A.S.K. club member, student government president, Comsewogue Board of Education student representative, Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association student representative, Spanish honor society vice president and yearbook editor-in-chief. 

Sperling will attend Binghamton University in the fall and study political science. 

“I’m really excited to go Binghamton,” she said. “I’m really interested in law and hope to go to law school [in the future] and possibly go into government work.”

Sperling said she is looking forward to continuing doing work in the community and being active in campus clubs and organizations at Binghamton. 

The senior also shared some advice to students heading into high school. 

“Have a good balance between school and your personal life,” she said. “I think it is really important to have time for yourself and enjoy your high school experience. Before you know it it’s over.”