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School board member Dr. Roy Nelson described this year's winner of the prestigious Bogart Scholarship as being "first among peers, with superb academic achievements, demonstrated leadership and an outstanding breadth of participation in a wide range of co-curricular activities." This talented Schreiber Class of 2004 rising star is Rachel Brandstadter.

Rachel told the Port News that she was "definitely surprised" to be the recipient of this prestigious award because "so many people in my grade are so deserving and amazingly talented." In his remarks, Dr. Nelson, who was part of a three-member committee consisting of his fellow board members David Strom and Dean Nardone, echoed her feelings saying, "the list of candidates was a very hard list to narrow." Expanding on this statement, Dr. Nelson pointed out that the students today are more overscheduled than ever. "To find the time to perform at the level need for excellence is not easy. To go beyond excellence in school and reach out into the community or even beyond is even more difficult. We salute all those willing to go the extra mile and extend themselves."

Commenting on her most recent achievement, Rachel said "as I heard my credentials being listed, I felt very gratified," and added, "I worked very hard and felt good about being recognized."

What is the secret of her success? She modestly says, "a lot of determination to do well, striving for the best and maintaining high standards." She "never accepts doing poorly," and has the confidence that if she puts in the effort, "it will work out."

Rachel has demonstrated service by participation in and leadership in diverse and significant activities, including tutoring, sports and music in particular. She has been recognized by awards and honors including a Humanities/Social Science Award for Outstanding Achievement and a scholar/athlete award in two sports. Additionally, her lists of accomplishments include participation in the New York State Music Competition (NYSSMA) and in Schreiber's concert band.

Rachel has also shown concern for the welfare of others by volunteering at a hospital, tutoring in conjunction with the National Honor Society, studying at the Cody Center for Autism at Stony Brook University and shadowing an autistic child at summer camp, thus illustrating both volunteerism and compassion.

One of her most cherished experiences at Schreiber was her participation in the social science research program. "Being a part of that group of people and having the opportunity to do research in the field was definitely thrilling for me," said Rachel. She plans to be a biology major with an emphasis on social science when she attends Cornell University this fall. An example of this major might be studying neurobiology and behavior, she pointed out. She mentioned that the title of her Intel submission was "A Social Validity Study Using Naturalistic Teaching Strategies to Promote Coordinated Joint Attention and Gesture Use in Children With Autism."

Rachel said that she plans to do a lot of research at Cornell.

The tradition of recognizing superior scholastic achievement and service had its origins in the will of a public-spirited citizen, Dr. Elbert H. Bogart, a physician who lived in the Port Washington School District.

Since 1922 scholarships given in his name have been awarded to eligible seniors graduating in January or June who have been in attendance at Schreiber High School for at least two years. These students must rank in the top 5 percent of their class and have demonstrated academic excellence, leadership and service to the school and greater community.

We all wish Rachel continued success.


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