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.”

06/30/15 5:59am
06/30/2015 5:59 AM

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.”

06/04/15 1:38pm
06/04/2015 1:38 PM
The McGann-Mercy Class of 2015 at Wednesday's graduation ceremony. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

The McGann-Mercy Class of 2015 at Wednesday’s graduation ceremony. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

The Class of 2015 at Bishop McGann-Mercy High School celebrated and said goodbye Wednesday evening during the graduation liturgy and commencement ceremony.

Valedictorian Elison Louis of Mastic and salutatorian Magdalena Duda of Riverhead addressed the student body and the school’s chaplain, Reverend Gerald Cestare, presided over the ceremony. Principal Carl Semmler and assistant principal Lisa Navarra presented academic honors and the diplomas were conferred by Bishop William Murphy.

The Class of 2015 featured students from as far east as Montauk and Greenport and as far west as Patchogue and Port Jefferson. The students received more than $12.4 million in scholarship offers; 100 percent of graduates will be pursuing post secondary studies or serving in the military, the school said.

See more photos below:

Meghan Bossone (left) and Adafih Blackburn (right) pose for a photo with Bishop William Murphy. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Meghan Bossone (left) and Adafih Blackburn (right) pose for a photo with Bishop William Murphy. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Bishop William Murphy gets friendly with Alyson Touhey of Pennsylvania and her 10-month-old son Killian before the graduation ceremony. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Bishop William Murphy gets friendly with Alyson Touhey of Pennsylvania and her 10-month-old son Killian before the graduation ceremony. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Valedictorian Elison Louis greets Bishop William Murphy. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Valedictorian Elison Louis greets Bishop William Murphy. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Bereket Watts of Southold flashes a warm smile for Bishop William Murphy. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Bereket Watts of Southold flashes a warm smile for Bishop William Murphy. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Jessica Marmelstein of Coram helps classmate City Le of MIller Place with her tassel. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Jessica Marmelstein of Coram helps classmate City Le of MIller Place with her tassel. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

English teacher Monique Hernandez helps Taylor Konkel of Flanders button up her gown. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

English teacher Monique Hernandez helps Taylor Konkel of Flanders button up her gown. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)