Editorial: Accomplishing so much in Riverhead schools

06/06/2013 8:00 AM |
COURTESY PHOTO | Riverhead High School's top 15 students. Front left to right: Daniel Raynor, Daniel Tysz, Samantha Colt, Alexandra McKillop, Charlotte Palmer. Middle row left to right: Julia Vunkannon, Jayson Cosgrove, Brian Unruh, Leia Kent, Jaclyn Griffith. Middle row left to right: Julia Vunkannon, Jayson Cosgrove, Brian Unruh, Leia Kent, Jaclyn Griffith. Back row left to right Roger Rosenquist, Kyle Trypuc, Peter Schumejda, Karla Reyes, Jonah Spaeth, SUNY Binghamton.

COURTESY PHOTO | Riverhead High School’s top 15 students. Front left to right: Daniel Raynor, Daniel Tysz, Samantha Colt, Alexandra McKillop, Charlotte Palmer. Middle row left to right: Julia Vunkannon, Jayson Cosgrove, Brian Unruh, Leia Kent, Jaclyn Griffith. Middle row left to right: Julia Vunkannon, Jayson Cosgrove, Brian Unruh, Leia Kent, Jaclyn Griffith.
Back row left to right Roger Rosenquist, Kyle Trypuc, Peter Schumejda, Karla Reyes, Jonah Spaeth, SUNY Binghamton.

Each year, officials release a list of the Riverhead School District’s top 15 students, determined by grade-point average. The list also includes details about the graduating class valedictorian and salutatorian and lists each of the 15 students’ college of choice.

And every year, it seems, the list is more impressive. The performance of the Class of 2013 is particularly noteworthy.

How about valedictorian Daniel Raynor and his eye-popping 109.54 weighted average? A true renaissance man, Daniel was named a Commended Student in the National Merit Scholarship Program, sang in the chamber choir, played baritone horn in the school band, acted with the Blue Masques Drama Club and interned for a local photographer.

Daniel also served as a mentor to his peers, passing along his knowledge — and perhaps more important, his outlook on life and learning — to other local students, undoubtedly helping them reach new heights as well. The News-Review wishes Daniel the best as he pursues a physics degree at Yale University in New Haven.

The other standouts are to be commended as well, including salutatorian Daniel Tysz, who earned a 108.06 weighted average. He will attend SUNY/Stony Brook, where he’ll study math and biochemistry in preparation for a career in medicine. (See page 14 for a complete list.)

It was also interesting and encouraging to see eight male students among the Class of 2013’s Top 15, as female students have outnumbered them for years.

What gets lost in all the talk about tax caps and teacher pensions and tea parties — especially during the annual run-up to the school elections — is the fine performances of students in Riverhead, Shoreham-Wading River and across Long Island, a region that has come to utterly dominate the annual Intel Science Talent Search competition.

There are undoubtedly excesses in our school districts when it comes to spending and compensation, and stricter adherence to open meetings laws and such could help dispel distrust between school boards and taxpayers. But so many of these students work so unbelievably hard, day in and day out, it’s a shame their effort sometimes gets overlooked due to politics. So, thank you, Daniel Raynor and Daniel Tysz and the entire graduating Class of 2013, for reminding us of all the great things being accomplished by so many fine young people.

Kudos, too, to all those proud educators who helped every step of the way.