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Massapequa Observer - Schools

From High School To Higher Learning

Massapequa HS graduates leave for

college with top honors

Two of Massapequa’s best and brightest neatly closed out their high school careers with whip-smart precision, nabbing top honors in the class of 2013.

Melanie Sheehan and Nicole Heneveld, members of Massapequa High School’s graduating class, received the admiration of faculty and fellow students this month, bringing home valedictorian and salutatorian honors, respectively.

A lover of sitcoms with dreams of writing and producing, Sheehan took her high school career very seriously. The soon-to-be Fordham University freshman was captain of the swimming and diving teams and a finalist in the National Merit Scholarship program, placing her among the top 1 percent of students in the nation.

She was also copyeditor of the school newspaper, The Chief, played bass clarinet in marching band, and is currently working toward her gold award, the highest honor in the Girl Scouts of the United States of America. She is an advanced placement scholar and member of National Honor Society.

“I’m very goal oriented and I do everything I can to reach my goals,” she said, admitting that her drive sometimes diverted her from enjoying the moment. “If I could go back in time, I would remind myself to step out of my daily life and enjoy it rather than get so caught up in the chaos of schoolwork.”

She plans on studying English and Communication and Media Studies at Fordham.

“I believe I will attain my goals at Fordham because the school puts such a strong emphasis on social mindedness,” she said.

But Massapequa will never be far from Sheehan’s mind as she bestows advice to her underclassmen.

“I think it’s really important to know what your priorities are and to dedicate yourself to your priorities, whatever they may be,” she said. “I made school a priority in my life, which is a large part of why I have succeeded academically.”

For salutatorian the high school selected Nicole Heneveld, a familiar face to students who attended any drama performances in the last four years. Heneveld took on many lead roles in an array of fall and spring productions, and now she takes on Adelphi University’s Honors College with aspirations to one day become a published author or a voice actress for animated films.

“I love to write fiction and poetry, particularly spoken word poetry,” she said. “When someone connects with a poem or story I have written, I feel a sense of great accomplishment.”

But her achievements are not limited to writing; Heneveld co-founded and presided over the high school’s International Thespian Society troupe and sang with select choir ensembles. She also found time to work as editor-in-chief of Visions: Art and Literary Magazine.

Heneveld said she drew inspiration from numerous sources throughout her high school career, including her grandfather and numerous teachers.  As for the school she leaves behind, Heneveld said the next generation of graduates should always be open to new experiences and to never fear failure.

“Take advantage of all the opportunities offered at Massapequa High School. Join a club, try out for a sports team, audition for the musical, write poetry — do anything and everything you love — and find people who have the same interests and passions,” she said. “You may find that you are not alone in your passion if you just step out of your comfort zone and try.”