07/01/15 12:00pm
07/01/2015 12:00 PM

We finish up our series on our area’s top students with McGann-Mercy High School’s valedictorian and salutatorian: Elison Louis and Magdalena Duda. Check out more about these outstanding achievers below:

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Elison Louis

Valedictorian

GPA: 100.36

College plans: SUNY/Stony Brook

Major: biochemistry

Fond memories: Elison, a Mastic resident, said his favorite moments from high school were just sitting at the lunch table chatting with fellow classmates.

“I made some really good friends,” he said.

High honors: Elison was named to the Principal’s List all four years of high school. He earned the New York State Department of Education Scholarship for Academic Excellence and the Congressional Merit Award. He also won the Stony Brook University Valedictorian Scholarship.

Advanced Placement scholar: Elison took several AP courses over the past two years. During his junior year, he took AP U.S. history and literature. This year, he took the exams for calculus, biology and U.S. government. He said he was least confident about the government exam going into the test, but now feels like he did “really well.”

After school: Elison played on the junior varsity tennis and basketball teams and was a member of the high school band. He was also a part of the campus ministry and the school’s Ethics and Leadership Club.

Hard worker: In addition to his extracurricular activities and junior varsity sports, Elison took a part-time job during his junior and senior years as a way to make some extra money.

Future plans: Elison is aiming to pursue a pre-med track in college. He said the decision was mostly a practical one.

“I just feel like that’d be a good option,” he said. “I didn’t want to go into college not knowing what I’d be doing.”

Parting words: “Do your homework.”

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Magdalena Duda

Salutatorian

GPA: 99.826

College plans: Pennsylvania State University

Major: biology and forensics

High achiever: Magdalena, who is from Riverhead, was on the Principal’s List all four years of high school. She also won the New York Department of Education Scholarship for Academic Excellence and a Congressional Merit Award for Academic Excellence and Outstanding Citizenship.

Founding member: Magdalena was treasurer of the National Honor Society and served as vice president and co-founder of the French National Honor Society her senior year.

Accomplished athlete: Magdalena won All League honors for varsity tennis and ran with the spring track and field team. She’s also been an All Star in cheerleading, something she’s participated in since she was 8 years old.

Future goals: Magdalena was inspired by a forensics elective class in high school to pursue a career in the field in college. She hopes to work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation someday.

Parting Words: “Literally, take every opportunity you can. Take the class. You think you’re just taking it for fun, but you might find something you really love.”

06/30/2015 2:10 PM

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Spring Yu

VALEDICTORIAN

GPA: 101.77

College plans: Dartmouth College

Major: studio art, architecture

AP scholar: Spring took a whopping 10 Advanced Placement courses during her high school career: world history, U.S. history, U.S. government, calculus, chemistry, physics, literature, English language and composition, statistics and studio art.

On ice: For the past 10 years, Spring has trained as a figure skater. She’s competed in tournaments and says she plans to continue the activity during college.

The music in her: Spring has played violin since she was 3. She played in the high school’s chamber and pit orchestras and in her junior year was a founding member of the school’s string quartet.

Extracurriculars: Spring was also a member of the Shoreham-Wading River Mathletes team and was the secretary of the school’s National Honor Society chapter.

Parting words: “High school teaches you how to balance schoolwork, your social life and your mental health … but sometimes you have to give up on sleep a bit!”

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Madison Dwyer

SALUTATORIAN

GPA: 100.89

College plans: College of William and Mary

Major: neuroscience and kinesiology

A passion for gymnastics: Madison has been a gymnast since she was 8 and is now a level 10 competitor at Gold Medal Gymnastics Center in Rocky Point. As one of two seniors on the team, Madison has become a leader. She trains five days a week for four hours each day. She will attend college on a half scholarship in that sport.

Inspired to help others: Madison has recovered from many injuries during her gymnastics career. It’s these experiences that motivated her to pursue the study of medicine. She hopes to promote better health in others and learn more about the complex functions of the human body.

Advanced Placement scholar: Madison took numerous AP courses during her four years at Shoreham-Wading River, including chemistry, environmental science, macroeconomics, calculus and statistics.

An avid volunteer: Every week, Madison aims to spend an hour doing community service of some kind. She’s worked with the Peanut Butter Jelly Gang, tutored students and volunteered at the John J. Foley Nursing Home and at her gym.

Parting words: “My sport has taught me that I have to work hard to obtain something I want and that I should always keep striving for my goals, because anything is possible.”

06/30/15 5:59am

They’re Riverhead High School’s top achievers. Now learn more about Noah Markewitz and Emily Behr, the Class of 2015’s Valedictorian and Salutatorian.

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NOAH MARKEWITZ

VALEDICTORIAN

GPA: 108.92 (weighted)

College plans: SUNY/Geneseo

Major: biochemistry with a pre-medicine concentration

Academic honors: Noah was a member of the Foreign Language National Honor Society and vice president of the National Honor Society. He was named Outstanding Student of the Year in pre-calculus, physics, geometry, Spanish and AP physics. In the fall, the College Board recognized him as an AP Scholar with Distinction.

Music fan: Noah plays three instruments: alto saxophone, piano and clarinet. He has received multiple top scores at New York State School Music Association competitions. He participated in Suffolk County Music Educators Association events between 2010 and 2013, was first chair at the Hamptons Music Educators Association while in grades 9-12 and was an alternate at the All State Music Festival.

Team player: Throughout high school, Noah played on the Mattituck Alliance travel soccer team. He was also named an All County Scholar Athlete while playing on the varsity soccer team. In addition, Noah competed in winter and spring track. He was also a member of the Mentathletes team.

Community involvement: Noah volunteered as a math and science tutor and was vice president of the Long Island Science Center Youth Board of Trustees.

Parting words: “With all the current media attention being given to education, I would like to give a shout-out to all the awesome teachers and coaches in the Riverhead School District that have encouraged and inspired me throughout my school career.”

TEMILY BEHR

SALUTATORIAN

GPA: 108.52 (weighted)

College plans: SUNY/Stony Brook

Major: Linguistics, university scholars program

High achiever: Emily is an AP Scholar with Distinction and received several academic awards throughout high school, including the Latin achievement award. She’s a member of the Women in Science and Engineering program and was an editor for the Labyrinth literary magazine. As a member of Mentathletes, Emily and her team participated in the Suffolk County regional event. She also competed in Latin Declamatio and Latin Certamen. She’s a member of the National Honor Society and Foreign Language Honors Society for Latin.

On stage: Since she started to play clarinet in fifth grade, Emily has been passionate about music. She performed at NYSSMA and HMEA and also sang during the SCMEA event. In addition, she performed in plays with the Blue Masques Drama Club.

A love for Riverhead: Emily has given back to the community through Riverhead Key Club and Going Green. She also volunteered in a special education classroom, tutored her peers and took part in various other community service activities.

Parting words: “It is truly an honor to be named the salutatorian of the Riverhead High School Class of 2015, especially considering the immense amount of talent that exists within my peers. Having the support of my friends, teachers and family throughout my high school career has been a great benefit to me, and therefore I am grateful for it.”

06/29/2015 9:00 AM
(Credit: Nicole Smith)

A LED sign is expected to replace this sign at Wading River Elementary School. (Credit: Nicole Smith)

Thanks to a donation from the Wading River Parent Teacher Association, the outside of the Wading River Elementary School will soon be getting a modern addition. (more…)

06/24/2015 5:47 PM
Jack Higgins’ Pollen App is his second sold in Apple’s App Store. Higgins is a student at Shoreham-Wading River High School. (Credit: Nicole Smith)

Jack Higgins’ Pollen App is his second sold in Apple’s App Store. Higgins is a student at Shoreham-Wading River High School. (Credit: Nicole Smith)

A few years ago, Jack Higgins’ friends bet him five dollars that he couldn’t build a computer in his middle school locker. Jack proved them wrong, building a computer in two empty lockers at Albert G. Prodell Middle School.

Now, that expertise has helped him earn a lot more than one Abraham Lincoln.

The Shoreham teen currently has two apps for sale in the Apple App Store, plus another in the works that could add an entirely new meaning to the expression “you snooze, you lose.”  (more…)