Mount Sinai’s valedictorian Jonathan Yu and salutatorian Jack Pilon are like many other students in their class, looking forward to college, and even further, future careers.
Yu finished with a 103.12 GPA. The senior was the environmental club vice president, a National Merit Scholarship award winner and he ran winter and spring track.
He said his proudest accomplishments were as a member of the school’s Ocean Bowl team. The team is made up of four students who travel to competitions where they test their knowledge of marine sciences, including biology, chemistry, physics and geology. This year the team won the regional Bay Scallop Bowl at Stony Brook University and went on to compete in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl, where it placed eighth.
“It was a great accomplishment,” Yu said. “It was great to explore, go to different places and meet new people.”
Yu will attend Georgia Institute of Technology where he plans to study physics, a subject which to Yu is a means to understanding a complex world.
“The world is so complicated — so it’s nice to simplify it,” Yu said. “At the simplest level everything in the universe follows a certain set of rules, and I think that’s amazing.”
Yu said he hopes to take his passion for the subject to work as a researcher, and added if he had any choice of destination, it would be to work in Antarctica.
“It just seems like a really interesting place,” Yu said. “There is so much going on, from ice movement to the wildlife.”
As a word of advice for incoming high school freshmen, he said kids have to help each other so that everyone can succeed.
“It’s just the right thing to do,” he said.
Pilon graduated with a 103.52 GPA. The senior has been team captain for spring and winter track, National Honor Society president and a member of the school’s orchestra, but his highlight moments were spent as this year’s class president.
In his junior year, Pilon and his fellow class officers created committees on prom, homecoming, fundraising and class trips that were joined by students interested in having a say in running the school events.
“These were students who wouldn’t have originally had the opportunity or even interest in school government, and we were able to get them involved,” Pilon said.
Being class president is just a part of Pilon’s interest in government and politics. It’s why he plans to major in government while attending the College of Arts and Sciences at Cornell University.
“It kind of drew from what I did as class president — you’re really able to create change, and it’s something I’m really interested in,” Pilon said.
But that isn’t his only interest. He is attending the arts and sciences college to see which of his interests — medicine, government or business — draws more of his attention.
Pilon said anybody who wants to enjoy high school should look to get involved.
“Use the opportunities given to you,” he said. “Explore everything you can, take the hard classes and be up to the challenge.”