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Hats Off to the Glorious Graduates of 2011

Herricks High School

Neil Pathak Valedictorian

Neil Pathak has earned the honored distinction of Herricks High School’s 2011 Valedictorian.  Neil has spent the last four years dedicated to the highest level of academic, scientific, and social achievement.  His accomplishments have spanned from intricate laboratory experimentation and medical innovation, to a number of community service projects that have reached around the world, all while mastering the most rigorous curriculum available at Herricks.  His work ethic, leadership skills, profound intellect, and modest nature have propelled him to a level rarely seen at such a young age.  Neil’s success over the last few years has been rooted in both domestic and international science research competitions.  Most recently, he received the 1st Place Grand Award in the 2010 Taiwan International Science Fair, which hosted over 100 students from 13 countries.  Neil has also taken the time to author a number of scientific abstracts that cover issues throughout the medical field, which were chosen for publication.  His selfless initiatives extended further as he began raising funds locally for the education of underprivileged children in India.  This type of involvement, coupled with his genuine interest in the health and happiness of others, places Neil into a very distinctive category.  Whether he was engaged in cancer fighting research or facilitating the distribution of information to students as the Editor-In-Chief of the Highlander School Newspaper, Neil has always found ways to create, motivate, and educate the people around him.  We as a school community wish him the very best throughout all of his future endeavors, and we look forward to learning about his accomplishments as they continue to come to light.

Julie Chang Salutatorian

It is with great pleasure that Herricks High School announces Julie Chang as the Salutatorian for the class of 2011. Julie has challenged herself over the past four years by taking the most rigorous courses that Herricks High School has to offer and worked hard to make her way to the top of the class. The combination of Julie’s work ethic and natural intelligence is admirable and commendable.  Julie devotes a lot of her time to science research. In January 2011, she was named a semi-finalist in the 70th Intel Science Talent Search competition. This competition is America’s oldest and most prestigious science competition and is often called the “Junior Nobel Prize.”  Not only is Julie intelligent, she is also a sensational musician.  She is a talented violinist and pianist and has performed in prestigious forums such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.  Amazingly, her capacity does not end there. She plays tennis for Herricks and is actively involved in a multitude of clubs and activities within the Herricks community. She exudes leadership qualities by acting as the Vice President for the Asian American Cultural Club and the Treasurer of Student Government. Herricks High School is proud of all of Julie Chang’s accomplishments and we wish her success in all of her future endeavors.

New Hyde Park Memorial High School

Amanda Lesar Valedictorian

The following is from New Hyde Park Memorial Principal Michael DeMartino’s speech on awards night about New Hyde Park Memorial’s Valedictorian Amanda Lesar:  “She is ranked number 1 in a class of 273 and truly deserves the many accolades she has received.  Among them is the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Medalist Award. She also holds membership in NHP’s Junior Honor Society, Foreign Language Honor Society and Tri-M Music Honor Society, as well as the Senior National Honor Society.  Always looking to help others, Amanda has been actively involved with the Big Brother/ Big Sister club and has held the offices of Vice President for one year and President for the past two years and has volunteered at Holy Spirits’ Vacation Bible School for the past six years. She is bright and motivated, but she has also been able to maintain an adventurous and vibrant spirit. She has not allowed the demands of her life to weigh her down in any manner. As Co-Captain of Twirling this year and Colorguard Coordinator she has manifested a positive rapport with her teammates and polished the skills necessary to work within a diverse group. She always has a smile on her face.  Amanda does not take her gifts for granted and she  demonstrates a terrific sense of self-confidence mixed with humility when asked about her accomplishments. She will be a member of Hofstra University’s Honor College in the fall and will attend tuition free. She plans to major in Physics and Math.

Thomas Campbell Salutatorian

Thomas Campbell’s unlimited capacity for learning and his willingness to challenge himself are nothing short of remarkable. His laid back nature and positive outlook extend to new experiences and warmth toward others.

Tom has a quick wit, which makes him very popular with staff and peers alike.  Intellectually Tom has consistently sought opportunities to move beyond basic course requirements to enhance his learning experience.  He is quick to grasp new concepts and finds joy in overcoming challenges.

Tom’s advanced physics teacher last year shared with me that Tom possessed one of the finest minds he had ever encountered.  Tom’s ability to absorb the sophisticated principles of physics was way above those of his classmates. One of the best things about Tom Campbell is that he is just a “regular guy.”  He is not, in any way, patronizing or smug about his intellectual gifts. Friendly and affable, Tom enjoys being part of several clubs.  His passion is Model United Nations, where he has excelled as a delegate for he past 3 years.  He loves the competitions as a way to showcase the many issues the nations of the world are facing.  “It is a challenge to have to defend a position that I do not believe in,” Tom says.  Doing all of the research for the presentations is a strength for him and he has been areal asset to the club.  Tom’s other passion is sports.  He is a member of both the men’s varsity lacrosse and the varsity football team. Tom has served as captain of the football team for the past 2 seasons. According to the head football coach, along with his physical presence on the field, Tom’s character and personal qualities are what make him an outstanding captain.  “Tom’s sense of humor, his ability to deal with adversity, and his lack of ego, place him among the all-time best players I have ever worked with,” This a direct quote from Coach Kevin Dolan.  Tom’s phenomenal ability to problem-solve, along with his inexhaustible wealth of talent, are a win-win combination.