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The Class Of 2013: Honors And Awards

An overview of the Great Neck Public Schools Class of 2013 reveals 558 graduates from our three high schools: 227 from North, 312 from South, and 19 from the Village School. Close to 97 percent of the graduates will pursue higher education in either two- or four-year colleges. The remainder historically seeks employment, vocational training, or enlistment in the Armed Services. Graduation ceremonies for North and South High Schools were on Thursday, June 20, at Tilles Center, LIU Post, with North’s ceremony in the morning and South’s in the afternoon. The Village School graduation was held on Wednesday afternoon, June 19, at the school.


A look at the traditional awards, valedictorian and salutatorian, and awards unique to Great Neck follow. Awards announced at North’s graduation (Alan L. Gleitsman and Genelle Taney Memorial), new awards, and the student speeches, a vital part of the graduation ceremonies, will appear in future editions of this newspaper.


Valedictorians And Salutatorians

North High’s valedictorian is Jayant Sani, and Ariel Klein is salutatorian. Co-valedictorians at South High are Nola Gordon and David Hyun Kim, and salutatorian is Marc Fishman. 


North High Valedictorian Jayant Sani is a National Merit finalist and an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction, having earned perfect scores on his six exams. He was a National Spanish Exam Silver and Gold Medal Winner, DECA Regional Winner, president of DECA and Model UN, captain of the varsity tennis team, and captain of the Math Team, successfully competing in several mathematics competitions, including the American Invitational Mathematics Examination and the American Scholastic Mathematics Association. Jayant was Student Government vice president, writer for Guide Post, the school newspaper, and member of the Shared Decision Making Committee, Key Club, and Save the Children. He was the lead tenor saxophone in the Symphonic Band and Jazz Ensemble, was president and treasurer of the Ensemble, and was a regular NYSSMA participant. He volunteered at COPAY, tutoring elementary students. Jayant will attend Harvard University in the fall.


South High Co-Valedictorian Nola Gordon is a National Merit Commended Student and an Advanced Placement Scholar with Honor, having earned perfect scores on her four exams. She was a second place winner in the Science Olympiad and participated in the Chemistry Olympiad. She was an Achievement Award Winner in the Nassau County All-County Art Exhibition. Nola will attend Williams College.


South High Co-Valedictorian David Hyun Kim is a National Merit finalist, Intel Science Talent Search semifinalist, and an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction, having earned perfect scores on his five exams. He was a participant in the American Invitational Mathematics Examination, a second and third place team and individual winner in mathematics competitions on the state and county level, and treasurer and co-captain of the Math Team. David was a Physics Bowl Winner, a Physics Olympiad Semifinalist, and a member of the Science Bowl Team. He was a National Spanish Exam Silver and Gold Medal Winner. He was assistant principal violist at All-County and in the school Chamber Orchestra, and a member of Music Community Outreach Club, a school group that performed at local nursing homes and hospitals. David plans to attend Stanford University in the fall.


North High Salutatorian Ariel Klein is a National Merit Commended Student and an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction. She was a National Spanish Exam Silver Medal Winner and a recipient of the Dartmouth College Book Award. Ariel was a four-year member of Junior Players, performing in two shows each year. She was Junior Players vice president and was elected to the school’s Thespian Troupe. She was an active member of the Jazz Choir and Select Singers, and was a member of Help the Homeless and Adopt-a-Dream Clubs. She was also a peer leader. Ariel plans to attend Dartmouth College in the fall.


South High Salutatorian Marc Fishman is a National Merit finalist, an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction, and four-time Gold Medal winner in the National Latin Exam, including two perfect scores. He participated in the All-State Piano Showcase and was principal first clarinet in the All-State Honors Band and the All-County Orchestra. Marc performed at Lincoln Center as a member of the Young Ensembles and Musicians Programs. He was assistant music director for Theatre South musicals and was name a Newsday Scholar Artist, one of four musicians recognized for academic and artistic achievement. He was president of Music Community Outreach Club, and mentored and tutored in basic math and reading skills at COPAY. Marc will be attending Princeton University.


Barstow Awards

Jayant Sani and Ariel Klein at North High (North’s valedictorian and salutatorian are traditionally their Award recipients), and Ryan Dong and Rachel Stand at South High are this year’s Barstow Award winners. The coveted Barstow Award was established in 1962 by Françoise and William Barstow in memory of their only son, Frederic Duclos Barstow, who died of pneumonia at age 35. The Barstows were prominent Great Neck residents after whom Barstow Road is named. Recipients of the annual Barstow Awards must be in the top 10 percent of their class and be “outstanding in leadership, citizenship, scholarship, and service.” Each recipient receives a monetary prize.


 Ryan Dong is a National Merit finalist and an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction having earned perfect scores on his five exams. He took honorable mention in the NY State Annual Archives Student Research Award Competition. Ryan earned the third highest score in the Physics Bowl, was a finalist at the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair, a member of the Science Olympiad second place winning team, and took an honorable mention at the WAC Lighting Foundation Invitational Science Fair. He was president of the Asian Culture Society and a member of the Robotics Team and varsity badminton and boys swimming teams. Ryan will attend Cornell University in September.


Rachel Stand is a National Merit Commended Student, an Advanced Placement Scholar, a Scholar Athlete, and a National Spanish Exam Gold Medalist. Involved in school activities, she was president of the class event planning committee for four years, coordinator/fundraising chairperson of fashion show, an active member of Key Club, captain of varsity swimming, and a member of varsity gymnastics. Each year in high school she participated in community outreach activities including Surfrider Foundation’s “Clean the Beach,” Autism Speaks Walks, and Breast Cancer “Race for the Cure” Walks. Rachel will be attending Duke University.

Scott Moss Award

The recipient of the Scott Moss Award, given at South High School, is Misaki Tanida. This award was established in 1977, in memory of Scott, who was an outstanding South student until his death from cancer. The Award is given to the graduating senior who exemplifies the “service, concern, interest, and ability of Scott Moss.”


Misaki Tanida was captain of varsity rield hockey, named Most Valuable Player (MVP) and All-County Honorable mention, and was a member of the League Championship Field Hockey Team. She was named MVP and awarded the Junior Varsity Coach’s Choice Award for the Lacrosse Team. In piano, she passed the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music Levels 3, 4, 7,and 8, and achieved a NYSSMA Level 6, the highest level. Misaki was a member of the Ribbons Awareness/The Cure Club that raises money for disease foundations, and Midnight Run Club that distributes donated food and clothing to the homeless in New York City. Misaki will attend Cornell University in the fall.


The recent adoption the Common Core Learning Standards, a rigorous series of teacher and student assessment testing, and the potential sharing of confidential student information with third parties have resulted in a radical change in the educational landscape in New York State—one that many parents have been concerned about.

To address these growing concerns, the Great Neck School District’s United Parent Teacher Council recently hosted a question and answer session at South High School with New York State Regent Roger Tilles, a Great Neck resident who has been outspoken with both his support of content the Common Core and his disapproval in how the new set of learning standards have been implemented.

At a meeting last week, after almost four hours of back and forth between Clover Drive residents, the attorney representing builder Frank Lalazarian’s controversial Old Mill II project and members of the Village of Great Neck’s Planning Board, there was very little progress, no vote taken and far more questions than answers.

The subdivision plan, a project under discussion for the last five years and recently approved by the village’s Zoning Board of Appeals, calls for 11 houses to be built in the area behind the Old Mill Apartments, with sole access from Clover Drive. Complicating the builder’s efforts to gain approval to start building is the fact that one of the lots is within the boundaries of Great Neck Estates and will require that village’s approval also.  Additionally, Lalazarian’s project must gain the approval of several Nassau County agencies, including its department of public works, department of health and planning commission.


The Bears team before a recent game at the Andrew Stergiopoulos Ice Rink with Coach Dan Marsella.

Great Neck’s Ayal Hod is the proud coach of Great Neck’s winning Top Gun sixth grade team in the Island Garden Fall League. Hod puts together the team every season, mixing local youngsters from Great Neck and children son Dillon’s AAU Jamaica Queens team. The league is very competitive and challenging and it teaches the children many valuable lessons: “how to be great teammates by sharing the ball, how to compete hard on every possession and what you put in is what you get out.”

Hod says that the main challenge is for every child to bring their individual talent to the team and collectively they have something special. an ex-player, he says that “basketball was very good to me, it helped pay my college education and it  paid my-bills for many years to come via several basketball commercials ... basketball also opened many doors for me and it helped me tremendously in my business career.”

Hod enjoys sharing his basketball journey background with his son and his friends and having them learn lessons too.


Park District Swim

Saturday, Dec. 7

Board of Education Meeting

Monday, Dec. 9

Peter Max Exhibit Presentation

Tuesday, December 10


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