Saluting Vals & Sals from RJN – River Journal Online – News for Tarrytown, Sleepy Hollow, Irvington, Ossining, Briarcliff Manor, Croton-on-Hudson, Cortlandt and Peekskill

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CROTON-HARMON HIGH SCHOOL

[Ed. Note > River Journal North provided all the schools here with a questionnaire for their Vals and Sals to fill out. This school submitted its own press release, which explains the variation in format from the other schools.]

(left to right) Gwen Labbate, Adora Chen, Emma Castro

Emma Castro: valedictorian

Emma is a representative of the Student Faculty Congress and a member of several clubs, including Student Activism and STAR. She worked for a US Senate campaign, Planned Parenthood Voices, and interned at a New York political consulting firm.

Outside of school, she enjoys painting and playing the guitar. She plans to major in psychology and plans to add another major.

Emma says her “small, tight-knit community” has helped her and her fellow students speak out on important issues.

“What’s valuable in a small school is that the students really have a say in what happens there,” she says. “Throughout my years here, I have seen many students able to develop ideas and implement changes in our school. The administration has always been receptive to our ideas, not only accepting them, but welcoming them. I really felt the focus was on student input.

Adora Chen: Co-Salutatorian

Adora has many academic interests and lists her favorite subjects as Environmental Science, Computer Science, English, AP Physics, and Art/Graphic Design. She is a member of the Interact club and the debate club. She is an active volunteer, plays the piano, participates in the NYSSMA (New York State School Music Association) and loves art, graphic design and taekwondo.

“My most memorable experience at Croton Schools is meeting my current group of friends at a college lunch,” Adora says. “All my teachers in the district, as well as my friends, have given me great support over the years.”

Gwen Labbate: Co-Salutatorian

Gwen appreciates the opportunity she had to build relationships with her teachers, who she says have been very supportive and encouraging. She enjoys a range of subjects, including AP US History, Spanish, AP Environmental Science, and Earth Science. She belongs to the Debate Club and Literary Magazine. Outside of school, she enjoys volunteering and playing the guitar, which she also plays with the school choir and select choir, in addition to singing.

“I am grateful that the district has created a safe space where students can continually question and learn.” said Gwen. “My teachers are always happy to talk with me about my interest in subjects that go beyond the curriculum. Sharing academic successes, laughter and even stress with my friends has always made me feel supported and motivated to persevere through all the obstacles I face.

HENDRICK HUDSON HIGH SCHOOL

Nish Mistry: valedictorian

Extracurricular
State Congressman for New York State Future Business Leaders; Captain of Speech and Debate; Editor-in-chief of the literary magazine.

After graduating

He is majoring in computer science and economics at Northeastern University and hopes to pursue software development.

Outstanding Educators

Someone who teaches and supports students. Mr. Zink is not only an exceptional [History] teacher, but truly cares about the students and connects with them to help them thrive in all facets of their lives.

words of wisdom

To my fellow graduates… Balance is essential to success. Work hard and chase your dreams, but also be sure to spend time with your loved ones.

Brooke Kivel: salutatorian

Extracurricular
National Honor Society; Debate team; America’s Future Business Leaders; Volunteer with Yonkers Family Services and Guiding Eyes for the Blind.

After graduating

Pursue a doctorate to become a pediatric psychologist.

Outstanding Educators

Someone who encourages you to learn in a positive way and gets to know you on a personal level. For this reason, some of my favorite professors include Mr. Zink (History) and Ms. Gallagher (AP Research/Psychology).

words of wisdom

I encourage my classmates and classmates to always choose kindness and follow their passions.

PEEKSKILL HIGH SCHOOL

Arianna Suarez: valedictorian

Extracurricular

Dance Coordinator of Grupo Folclórico Dominicano; secretary of the Dominican Community of the Hudson Valley; president of the Francisco Jiménez chapter of the Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica; president of the Girls Who Code club; vice-president of the National Science Honor Society; Latin Culture Club; Administrative intern in the school district.

After graduating
Education major at Barnard College, New York University, or St. John’s University.

Outstanding Educators

They should bring their passion for their subject and their love of learning to their classroom. They must be empathetic, supportive and patient, as each student is different. They must understand the needs of their students and be ready to help them proudly when asked.

words of wisdom

Don’t get discouraged because you don’t learn as fast as others, keep an eye on the future and work hard every day to achieve your goals.

Jamely Curipoma: salutatorian

Extracurricular

Math, Science, Spanish, English, and Social Studies Honor Societies; Mentors teenage girls in the non-profit creative space New Era, encouraging them to become leaders.

After graduating

Studying at Binghamton University (accepted into the Physician Assistant program) to major in Biology, possibly minor in Business.

Outstanding Educators

Ms. Hadi, my scientific research professor for three years, always encouraged me to do my best. She not only saw me grow academically but also influenced my personal development by never letting me give up.

words of wisdom

Give it your all and eventually you will no longer struggle but excel in the challenges you have faced, which will only make you stronger as a person. Always believe in yourself and have great confidence because no one can stop you from achieving your dreams except you.

WALTER PANAS SECONDARY SCHOOL

Siena Bieber: valedictorian

Extracurricular

co-president of the Estamos Unidos club; Secretary of the National Honor Society; Volleyball; Intern at Ivy Rehab Physiotherapy; Volunteer for Adoptive Dogs, Midnight Run to NYC, Panas Library.

After graduating

Attend Ithaca College to major in clinical health studies on the fast track to earning a doctorate in physical therapy.

Outstanding Educators

Someone who is encouraging, understanding, kind and brings fun to the classroom. Ms. Yamakawa, who teaches the living environment and forensics, is a perfect example. Not only does she explain the material in detail and is always ready to answer questions, but she also takes the time to get to know her students.

words of wisdom

To my fellow graduates and undergraduates, I would say that it is important to maintain a balance in your life by working hard, but also by taking time to relax and have fun.

Ella Yager: salutatorian

Extracurricular

school board representative; Football student-athlete, all leagues, all sections; Volunteer in dental offices.

After graduating

Attend the University of Maryland to study biology.

Outstanding Educators

The perfect example of an exceptional educator is chemistry teacher Mr. Marash – someone who can connect with his students while passing the material around in an entertaining way. The best teachers are able to make their students love learning even if they don’t love the material.

words of wisdom

To undergrads and my fellow graduates, I would emphasize the importance of time management skills and a strong work ethic.

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