07/01/2015 12:00 PM

Next in our series is Mattituck’s top students. Read more about Courtney Murphy and Christian Van Cleef, the Class of 2015’s Valedictorian and Salutatorian, below. 

T

COURTNEY MURPHY

VALEDICTORIAN

GPA: 101.2450 (weighted), 99.0980 (unweighted)

College plans: Villanova University

Major: business

Team player: Courtney played varsity soccer, varsity basketball, travel soccer and summer league soccer and basketball. She earned several honors including All League Soccer, Academic All County Soccer, All League Basketball and Academic All County Basketball. She also won several sports awards, including For the Love of the Game Booster Club Award, New York State Public High School Athletic Association Scholar Athlete Award and Suffolk Zone Award.

All business: Courtney earned third- and fifth-place awards in the Distributive Education Club of America’s regional competition. She was named an Advanced Placement Scholar With Distinction and Student of the Month for history and foreign language. She won a New York State Scholarship for Academic Excellence first-place award and is a Rube Goldberg contest winner. She also landed on the High Honor Roll every quarter since seventh grade.

Giving back: Courtney participated in several community groups, including serving as president of the Leo Club, and she volunteered for Maureen’s Haven, the Mattituck Lions Club Strawberry Festival, Relay for Life and Letters to Soldiers. She was also a tutor for Spanish, algebra and trigonometry.

Parting words: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my high school career and my experiences at Mattituck have surely helped shape me as a person. So many great memories have been created here and I’m thankful for having grown up in such a wonderful community.”

T

DANIEL PARKS

SALUTATORIAN

GPA: 99.09 (weighted), 97.69 (unweighted)

College plans: Brandeis University

Major: international relations/philosophy

Helping hands: Daniel volunteered for San Simeon by the Sound and the China Conservation and Research Center. He also helped with a fundraising effort at North Fork Reform Synagogue in Cutchogue.

Team player: As a varsity soccer player, Daniel earned several honors, including this year’s state championships and the Scholar Athlete Award. He also played with Mattituck Alliance and the Brookhaven Summer Soccer League.

A little bit of everything: Daniel was president of the World Language Club and participated in several groups: the Leo Club, student council, executive student council, Math League, National Honor Society and DECA.

Internships: During high school, Daniel held internships at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business, Good News Planet and Copal Partners-London (Copal Amba).

Parting words: “I’m glad I at least had the foresight to learn out of passion rather than out of necessity, but whether that’ll be valuable to me or not depends on what’s yet to come. I’ve learned to be less rigid as a person and to take greater and more frequent risks. I believe that you learn more from what you do poorly in high school than what you do well. I hope that I learn no lesson in vain.”

07/01/15 5:59am

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:

T

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.”

T

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

T

JULIA SACCAMANO

VALEDICTORIAN

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.’ ”

T

EMILY PRESSLER

SALUTATORIAN

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.”

06/20/2015 5:31 PM
Victoria Ireland and Abby Graeb, who have been friends since 1st grade. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

Mattituck High School graduates Victoria Ireland and Abby Graeb, who have been friends since 1st grade, pose for a selfie. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

Mattituck High School held its 101st commencement exercises at the school gym Saturday morning.

Joining the graduates and their parents at the ceremony were alumni from the class of 1965, among others. More than $107,000 in scholarships were given to the graduating class.

(more…)

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)