They’re Greenport High School’s top achievers. Now learn more about Connor Whittle and Christian Van Cleef, the Class of 2015’s Valedictorian and Salutatorian.
GPA: 96.72 (unweighted)
College plans: Northeastern University
Major: mechanical engineering
Academic achievements: Connor is a member of the National Honor Society and a recipient of the National Merit Battelle Scholarship in high school.
Physics fan: “I really enjoyed physics this year — it was probably my favorite class I’ve ever taken — and I also really like math,” he said. These passions led him to decide to major in engineering in college.
Community involvement: Community service has played a large role in Connor’s life. He participated in beach cleanups and multiple Boy Scout and Eagle Scout projects, including painting the trains outside the Long Island Railroad Museum and placing new benches and flowerbeds in a local park.
A little bit of everything: Connor was a captain of the varsity soccer team, an academic officer in the Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, a senior patrol leader with the Boy Scouts, a percussionist in the school band and a member of the AV and drama clubs.
“Probably my favorite would have to be AV club,” he said. “I just really loved the guys that were in it with me, and Mr. Capuano was our head and he’s a great guy. It’s a lot of fun doing the play and setting things up.”
Parting words: “Just work really hard and try not to let things go too late. It’s not fun handing things in late.”
CHRISTIAN VAN CLEEF
GPA: 96.17 (unweighted)
College plans: SUNY/Oswego
Major: computer science
High Honors: At Greenport, Christian was a member of the National Honor Society and French National Honor Society. He was also a Rotary Student of the Month and the recipient of the University of Rochester Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony Award for Social Justice.
Community involvement: For years, he has been a volunteer at Orient Congregational Church, where he participates in numerous activities of the church.
“I watch the kids and volunteer when they have soup kitchens and stuff like that. Sometimes I do the readings and collect donations,” he said.
Computer whiz: Christian said that during his early high school years he debated between studying medicine and computer science, but in the end he picked what he knew best.
“I have more experience with computers,” Connor explained. “It’s almost impossible for me to get hands-on experience with medicine. Computer science was easier to get a head start on for me.”
Self-taught: In his spare time Christian taught himself how to play the piano and some “basic programming languages.”
Parting words: “Study hard and be ready for senior year, which was the hardest year for me.”