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Top of Their Class: Our CHSD Valedictorians and Salutatorians

CHSD Valedictorians and Salutatorians  thumbnail218574
John F. Kennedy High School

Valedictorian Christopher Prainito

Future Plans: Harvard University

Extra Curriculars: Math Team president, Regeneron semifinalist, NSPC Health Science Competition finalist, founder of the school’s Cyber Patriot team, All-National Honor Ensemble oboist, first-chair oboist in the Nassau Principal Orchestra, nonprofit founder of Students Giving Trees and a member of the track and cross-country teams.

“Christopher Prainito is intellectually curious and willing to take risks to follow his passions,” noted his school counselor Courtney Waller. “He exudes the impression that he is wise beyond his years, and perhaps, represents one of the students who is the most magnificently prepared for the rigor and lifestyle that a college environment offers that I have seen in my time as an educator. Christopher’s transcript represents the absolute height of rigor that Bellmore-Merrick offers to its students, and even then, he has pursued courses beyond what our school was capable of offering him.”

Salutatorian Michelle Brown

Future Plans: Duke University

Extra Curriculars:
inducted into every Kennedy academic honor society, Regeneron semifinalist, AP Scholar, AP Capstone Diploma, a National Merit Commended Student, Co-Founder/Co-President of the Junior Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, the president of Mock Trial, Science Club, Math Club, Class Government and Key Club member.

“Michelle Brown is the absolute real deal; a scholar, a musician, a scientist, a leader, a team player, a friend to all and so much more,” said her school counselor Elissa Germaine. “Michelle is genuine in everything she sets out to accomplish. There is nothing that she can’t do. With an impressive grade point average of 102, she represents Kennedy in every facet. She is an absolute gem destined to make a difference in this world.”

Wellington C. Mepham High School

Helena Fu – Mepham valedictorian

Future Plans:
Columbia University

Extra Curriculars:
AP Scholar with Distinction, All-County Artist, National Merit Semifinalist, AP Capstone student, Chinese Honor Society president, scored a 5 on the AP Research exam, Environmental Club and Badminton team member.

“Helenais among the first cohort of Bellmore-Merrick students to complete both the AP Capstone and Mandarin curriculum,” said her school counselor Kimberly Thorgersen. “As an AP Capstone student, Helenaconducted original research entitled “Sustainability Without Borders: The analysis of international eco-housing models and their sustainable concepts, and theoretical design of a sustainable apartments model in Manhattan, USA”Helenaconducted her research under the mentorship of Vivien Li, a waterfront expert, urban developer, and designer; who often speaks about climate resilience and urban development.”

Mepham salutatorian Justin Dioguardi

Future Plans: Northwestern University

Extra Curriculars: AP Scholar with Distinction, Advanced Science Research program, executive board positions in the National, Science and English National Honor Societies, Leo Club vice president, Operation SPLASH volunteer and spring track team member.

“Justin has challenged himself throughout his high school tenure with his rigorous course selection; taking a high concentration of Advanced Placement, Honors, and Dual Enrollment classes,” said his school counselor Liane Parker. “Justin has been named an AP Scholar with Distinction, which highlights his outstanding academic success. He also derives much of his own happiness from helping others. He has cleaned beaches to protect the environment and built a home for a less fortunate family through a Habitat for Humanity event.”

Sanford H. Calhoun High School
Calhoun High School

Valedictorian Tina Cheng

Future Plans:
Cornell University

Extra Curriculars: National, World Language, Science and Math Honor Societies, tennis team, ACT score of 35, Advanced Science Research and various artistic achievements.

“With a 101.96 GPA, Tina’s humble demeanor and thirst for knowledge will be difficult to replace,” noted her school counselor Carol Cupo. “One of Tina’s most admirable traits is her completely independent nature. Anything Tina has earned throughout high school, has completely been done by her.I have never met a student who was so confident in her ability to manage her life so effectively.”

Salutatorian Kaitlin Bondi

Future Plans:
Northeastern University

Extra Curriculars: Advanced Science Research, AP Scholar with Distinction, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory intern, Partners for the Future Program, volleyball (captain) and badminton, News12 Scholar Athlete and Section 8 Scholar Athlete recipient.

“Kaitlin is a student who has surpassed even the highest expectations of the typical high school student’s experience,” said her school counselor Ricky Posner. “Kindness, integrity, empathy, brilliance, confidence and leadership are just a few adjectives to describe her and how she is seen by everyone not only within our school and district but our community. She has created a path for herself that has led to success in every realm, excelling academically and as an athlete, a science researcher, and a committed advocate to service within the school and community, serving as a student leader in many facets, a friend to many, a mentor, and a role model to all.”

Meadowbrook Alternative Program

Jenna Friedlander, Valedictorian

Future Plans:
Nassau Community College

Extra Curriculars:
Key Club vice president, Community Cupboard volunteer, Brookside Buddies member, student representative for business documents.

“Jenna Friedlander has a love for learning,” noted school counselor Catrina Christensen. “While other students are on their phones engaging in social media activities and playing games, Jenna is often found learning a new language or researching the history of person of interest.Jenna is thoughtful in her responses and is serious about getting her work done in a timely manner at the highest level of quality. Beyond her grades and talents, Jenna is a person who gives of herself for others.”

Dara Levitt, Salutatorian

Future Plans:
Nassau Community College

Extra Curriculars:
Community Cupboard volunteer, Bellmore-Merrick Cultural Arts Festival participant and Key Club member.

“Dara Levitt is courageous in his pursuit of learning,” noted Principal Eric Arlin.“Academically, he is an active participant in class who is both inquisitive and curious in his pursuit of knowledge. He contributes to the school community environment and elevates it to a higher level through his questioning and hard work.”

Date Added: 6/9/2022

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