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Garden City Life - Schools

Shannon Carman: 2013 Valedictorian

High school can be seen as a challenging time in anyone’s life, however, when there are obstacles, there is also an opportunity to succeed. With that said, it is clear Shannon Carman, this year’s Garden City High School valedictorian, made the most of the last four years by paving her own way through her interests in music, art, language and engineering and of course, she isn’t going to stop anytime soon.

Carman carried a 101.16 GPA for seven semesters over the last four years, she said, and has numerous achievements including being named an Advanced Placement (AP) Scholar with Honor and a National Merit Scholarship Commended Student.

She also placed above the 95th percentile in the National Spanish Exam, received a silver medal in the Long Island Math Fair, was a member of the first place Regional Finalist “Chemagination” team, won the Dartmouth Alumni Book Club Award as well as the American Chemical Society Award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement in High School Chemistry, Carman said. Furthermore she was co-captain of the Varsity Badminton team and leader for the clarinet section in the marching band for two years, she said.

However, through a conversation with Carman, she will tell you her memories from the marching band are the ones she holds closest to her.

“I love music,” Carman said in a phone interview admitting she sits down at the piano in her free time, aside from producing notes on the clarinet. “I play music all the time.”

Carman said during the years she was in the band she had the opportunity to march down Disney World’s Main Street, perform at a naval academy and on Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome football field, aside from playing at other high schools on Long Island.

In addition, Carman can be found putting oils onto canvas and moving a pencil across her sketchbook when she has a few minutes to spare, she said. Her once a week art class made her a routine artist, Carman said.

But when it comes down to academics, Carman found herself drawn to the Spanish language, she said, citing Spanish teacher Marie Nuzzi as her favorite teacher.

Carman said when the school dropped the AP Spanish class, Nuzzi continued to give her work on the side of her regular homework to keep her mind sharp and to continue fueling her interest.

“She still worked hard to give me extra material and supplement the stuff; like keep my [interest] up, kind of,” Carman said. “So I thought that was really great how she kind of went out of her way. She makes sure everyone is achieving the highest level they can.”

Nuzzi said Carman is the model of an ideal student.

“First of all, she is a very unassuming student; a very calm, quiet student,” Nuzzi said in a phone interview. “And I would say she really is a true scholar and I say that because what-and I’ve taught her for two years-and what she would actually do is she tended to assess the situation, whatever was being taught, she would, in a sense, digest it, analyze it and she would respond.”

Nuzzi also said Carman is “absolutely a critical thinker.”

“She’s one of those students that you just love having because anything that you would bring up-whether directly or on the side-she just, you know, she swallowed it. She really did. She’s just a great kid.”

Carman, who has lived in Garden City her entire life, will attend Dartmouth College in the fall and plans to study engineering in hopes of putting her education to use in humanitarian projects in third world countries in the future, she said. Until then though, she wants to use college to explore other academic areas, she said, although she will miss her hometown.

“I think [I will miss] the community in general,” she said. “ A lot of the people [here] really support [me] and, I don’t know, just in general, it’s just a really nice community to be a part of.”