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Wasie Karim

Victor Labozzetta III leads Newfield High School’s senior class at graduation. Photo from Middle Country school district

Newfield High School seniors will say goodbye to their school this Saturday as they prepare for life beyond Newfield.

Victor Labozzetta III and Wasie Karim will lead their graduating class as Newfield High School’s 2015 valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively.

Labozzetta, who is wrapping up his high school career with a 97.33 GPA, plans to attend Eastman School of Music in Rochester this coming fall. What was once a hobby for Labozzetta is now a career choice, as he is majoring in percussion performance.

“I’ve always had an interest in percussion and in music in general,” he said. “Even when I was little, I would drum on furniture in the house.”

His knack for drumming on the furniture lead to his mother purchasing his first drum set. At the age of 4, Labozzetta III started percussion lessons with drum teacher Justin Gallo, one of his inspirations. Four years ago the duo co-authored “A Practical Approach to Understanding Time Signatures,” a music book which teaches musicians the ins and outs of time signatures.

But Labozzetta is not simply a percussionist. He is also a composer. He has composed several pieces including  “Concerto in Eb,” “The Third Minute” and his most recent “Urban Streetlamp.” Newfield’s jazz ensemble, including Labozzetta, performed his piece on June 4 for a school concert. In addition to composing music and playing the drums, Labozzetta juggled eight Advanced Placement courses and several extracurricular activities during his four years at Newfield. He was an active member of the jazz band, Tri-M Music Honor Society and Thespian Honor Society where he served as president and secretary, respectively.

Two years ago, the music enthusiast attended The Julliard School Summer Intensive. He also was the substitute percussionist for Atlantic Wind Symphony and Sound Symphony Orchestra.

Going forward, Labozzetta is most excited to learn alongside like-minded peers and from faculty members like Eastman’s Chair of the Percussion Department Professor Michael Burritt, among others.

Karim is ending his high school career with a 96.18 GPA. The graduating senior is attending Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College in the fall. Although he is caught between majoring in neuroscience or biochemistry, Karim is set on pursuing a career in the medical field.

He is one of several in his family to pursue a career in the sciences.

Wasie Karim leads Newfield High School’s senior class at graduation. Photo from Middle Country school district
Wasie Karim leads Newfield High School’s senior class at graduation. Photo from Middle Country school district

Karim cited his late grandfather as one of his biggest inspirations for his personal and professional life. His maternal grandfather taught him how to appreciate what he had and about his faith during his childhood. He also encouraged Karim to pursue and advance in the sciences like his uncles.

Although his grandfather died when Karim was 7-years-old, Karim never strayed from his passion for the sciences. The salutatorian does not only want to heal people, but he also hopes entering fields like Pediatric Neurology will help patients receive faster medical care.

“One of my guidance counselors had to go to a pediatric neurologist for one of her sons and she had to wait three months because they were in such high demand,” Karim said. “If I could help fill that field within Long Island and New York City it would be a pretty noble thing to do.”

While attending Newfield, Karim took approximately 10 AP classes. He was also involved in the LOTE Honor Society and the National Honor Society. He served as the president of the LOTE Honor Society, where he helped orchestrate events like fundraisers and attempted to increase club membership.

For Karim, the LOTE Honor Society’s International Night event was a highlight of his high school career. The club, as well as the event, aimed to promote cultural diversity. When he was 14-years-old, Karim became a volunteer at Stony Brook University Hospital.

Karim said he is eager to leave the quiet suburbs of Long Island for New York City.

“Being in the middle of all that hustle and bustle, it seems pretty cool, especially coming from a really quiet suburb where there are literally no children on my block,” Karim said. “It’s going to be a big transition for sure, but I think it’s one that I’m going to like.”

He aspires to work at  Columbia University Medical Center in the Pediatrics department, although he said this might change. This summer he is not only preparing for life beyond high school, but also nurturing his interest in computers and cars. With his growing interest in technology, Karim said that if the medical career does not work in his favor, he would pursue a career in computer science.