Southold School District

Meet Southold High School’s Valedictorian and Salutatorian

They’re Southold High School’s top achievers. Now find out more about Julia Saccamano and Emily Presser, the Class of 2015’s Valedictorian and Salutatorian.




GPA: 97.94 (unweighted)

College plans: CUNY/Macaulay Honors College

Major: chemical engineering

Math matters: Julia cited math as playing an integral role in her academic career. She joined the Math Olympians as a child and has since received numerous awards in the subject, including the National Mathematics Award.

“Well, I like solving puzzles. Everything seems like a puzzle, so everything kind of then becomes math,” she said.

Academic accomplishments: Julia was on the High Honor Roll all four years of high school; was the Southold High School Student of the Month numerous times — in trigonometry, chemistry, business, orchestra and AP calculus; was a marine science class spokesperson; a Commended National Merit Scholar; in the Academic Achievement Academy; is a member of National Honor Society; and has been a recipient of numerous awards, including the Rotary Youth Leadership Award and the Music Boosters’ Orchestra Spirit Award.

A little bit of everything: Julia was a member of the school’s Distributive Education Club of America; a participant in the New York Stock Market Game; a member of the Interact and Environmental clubs; a peer tutor; and an editor of The Sentinel, the school newspaper.

She said working on the newspaper was her favorite activity “because I like organizing things, so this gave me the power to organize things and I could also help out my school by doing that.”

Musically inclined: Julia has played the cello for nine years and performed with numerous orchestras. She credits her teacher, Audrey Grathwohl, with providing her with stability and helping her improve.

“I can constantly be improving on [the cello],” she said. “Rather than a class, like history, where it’s world history one year and U.S. history one year — you’re not really building on anything. With the cello, playing music, I can keep growing and help my talent and I love that.”

Parting words: “I can give you my favorite quote: ‘Always go the extra mile; it’s never crowded.’ ”




GPA: 95.63 (unweighted)

College plans: Georgia Southern University

Major: Spanish

Musically gifted: Music has been a large part of Emily’s life. She primarily plays the clarinet, but has also played the bass clarinet, flute, tenor saxophone and piano. Throughout high school she participated in the Hampton Music Educators Association, Suffolk County Music Educators Association and New York State School Music Association festivals. Additionally, she played in the annual Music in the Parks competition and received the Spirit Award from the music department last year.

Community involvement: “I’ve lived in Southold my entire life; it’s my home,” Emily said. “I like to see that what I’m doing can directly benefit everyone else and make it better for everyone else. These people are basically my extended family. I like to put my efforts into something larger than benefiting myself.”

It was this concept that led Emily to be a Girl Scout for 10 years; volunteer with Community Action of Southold Town and at Eastern Long Island Hospital’s annual donor-appreciation event; tutor through National Honor Society; serve as treasurer of the Interact Club; and participate in Relay for Life.

High honors: Emily was on the High Honor Roll throughout high school; a member of the National Honor Society; Student of the Month for Spanish; and a recipient of the Music Boosters’ Spirit Award. She also received the Most Valuable Player Award for varsity bowling.

Team player: Besides writing for The Sentinel, Emily participated in numerous school clubs, including the varsity bowling team, DECA and the Yearbook Club.

Parting words: “Southold’s not that big, so I would say take advantage of our teachers and all the resources they can give to you and definitely don’t not join a club because your friends are not doing it. Join clubs because it helps you and gives you something to do.”