Written by Jessica K. Vega Friday, 26 June 2009 09:11An overview of the Great Neck Public Schools Class of 2009 reveals 544 graduates from our three high schools: 224 from North, 305 from South, and 15 from the Village School. Almost 98 percent of the graduates will pursue higher education in either four- or two-year colleges. The remainder historically seeks employment, vocational training, or enlistment in the Armed Services. Graduation ceremonies for North and South High Schools take place on Thursday, June 25, at Tilles Center, C.W. Post Campus, Long Island University, with North’s ceremony in the morning and South’s in the afternoon. The Village School graduation was held on Wednesday afternoon, June 24, at the school.
A look at the traditional awards follows. New awards and the student speeches—a vital part of the graduation ceremonies—will appear in future editions of this newspaper.
North High Valedictorian Cole Diamond was a National Merit Commended Student and an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction. He excels as a musician, having made All State for the cello and All County for the trombone. Cole took awards at the Rohm and Haas Invitational Science Fair, the Long Island Science Congress, and the Nassau County Interscholastic Mathematics League. He was a four-time award winner in the National Spanish Exam and content editor for the school newspaper, Guide Post. He was president of the Tri-M Music Honors Society, founder and president of The Cure Club, vice president of the Ping Pong Club, a Peer Mentor, and a member of the Academic Quiz Bowl and the Mathematics Team. Cole plans to attend Columbia University in the fall.
South High Valedictorian Andrew Sotiriou was a National Merit Commended Student, an Advanced Placement Scholar with Honor (with perfect scores on his four exams), and a Bronze Medalist in the National Spanish Exam, Level 5. He was president of Global Angels (an international children’s charity), Art Club president, secretary of Exit 33 (South’s literary magazine), and a columnist on The Southerner (the school newspaper). Andrew was an active thespian, performing in Improv, One-Act Plays, and other productions. He was a member of the Student Government and captain of the Forensics Team. Andrew will be attending Yale University.
North High Salutatorian Sari Levy was an Intel Science Talent Search Semifinalist, a National Merit Commended Student, and an Advanced Placement Scholar with Honor. She excels in fencing and is ranked 34th in the country in the Junior (under 19) Women’s Epee. Sari was Nassau County Individual Fencing Champion, captain of the school’s Fencing Team, and the Pearl D. Mazor Outstanding Jewish Female Scholar Athlete of the Year. She took awards at the Rohm and Haas Invitational Science Fair, the Long Island Science Congress, and the Long Island Math Fair. Sari was a National Spanish Exam winner, a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society, and played string bass in the school orchestra. She was vice president of the Ecology Club and of Athletic Leadership, and a Drug Awareness Peer. Sari will attend Yale University.
South High Co-Salutatorian Joshua Brenner was a National Merit Commended Student, an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction (earning perfect scores on his five exams), a Silver Medalist in the National Spanish Exam, Level 5, and a Second Place winner at the DECA International Career Development Conference, in Apparel and Accessories Marketing. He was the Nassau Regional DECA President and South High DECA Co-President. Joshua was Principal First Trombone in the orchestra and Principal Second Trombone in the band at the All-County Music Festival. He was vice president of Mock Trial, editor-in-chief of Mosaic (foreign language magazine), news section editor for The Southerner (school newspaper), and a member of Model Congress. Joshua was also a member of the Swimming and Baseball Teams. He plans to attend the University of Pennsylvania.
South High Co-Salutatorian Jonathan Cho was an Intel Science Talent Search Semifinalist, a National Merit Scholarship Finalist, and an Advanced Placement Scholar with Honor (with perfect scores on his four exams). He took a First Place in Cell Biology at the Long Island Regional Science Olympiad, Highest Honors at the Long Island Science Congress, and a Third Place at the Rohm and Haas Invitational Science Fair. Jonathan was a member of South’s winning team for Long Island on Cablevision’s high school quiz show, The Challenge. He participated in the Columbia Science Honors Program, was president of Science Olympiad, a Nassau County Mathlete, treasurer of the Academic Team, and a member of the Math Team. He was named a Scholar Athlete and was a member of the Swimming Team. Jonathan will be attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Cole Diamond and Sari Levy at North High (the school’s valedictorian and salutatorian are traditionally the award recipients) and Sebastian Deri and Joanne Kim at South 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 Award 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.
Sebastian Deri was an Advanced Placement Scholar and a National Spanish Exam winner. He was a founding member, vice president, and lead anchorman of Rebel TV (school news show), president of Mock Trial, secretary of Student Government, and opinions and editorials editor of the school newspaper, The Southerner. Sebastian was a member of Model Congress, DECA, and Key Club, as well as of the Baseball and Basketball Teams. He will attend Cornell University in the fall.
Joanne Kim was a National Merit Commended Student, an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction, and a Gold Medalist in the National Spanish Exam, Level 5. She was an award winner in the Long Island Regional Science Olympiad for ecology and astronomy. Joanne was an orchestral cellist at All County and the Long Island String Festival Association. She was president of the Community Action Committee, activities coordinator, teacher, and choreographer of the Asian Culture Society, and vice president of Science Olympiad. Joanne will be attending Dartmouth College.
The recipient of the Scott Moss Award is Jonathan Weinberg. This South High 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.”
Jonathan Weinberg was an Advanced Placement Scholar with Honor, a National Merit Commended Student, and a Second Place winner at the DECA International Career Development Conference, in Sports and Entertainment Marketing. He won Best Delegate, Blue House, at the Pennsylvania Model Congress and First Honorable Mention at the Yale Model Congress. He was a member of the First Place Team at the NYS Economics Challenge and a Third Place winner at the Long Island Forensic Association Student Congress. Jonathan was president of the Student Government, co-president of DECA, vice president of the Government Club, and managing editor of The Southerner (school newspaper). He was selected by the League of Women Voters as a Great Neck representative at “Students Inside Albany,” a political conference. Jonathan will attend Cornell University in the fall.
The recipient of the Alan L. Gleitsman Award, a North High award, is announced at North’s graduation ceremony and will appear in a future edition of this newspaper.