Congratulations to Michelle Hsu and Julia Forte, the Class of 2020 valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively. The announcement was made at the Oct. 22 Board of Education meeting.
Michelle worked her way to valedictorian by earning a grade point average of 110.81. She was named a National Merit semifinalist this fall, is an IB Diploma candidate and a National AP Scholar, and is on target to earn an Advanced Regents Diploma with Honors, Mastery in Science and Math and the New York State Seal of Biliteracy. She is also secretary of the French Honor Society, a member of the National Honor Society and Tri-M Honor Society, and editor-in-chief of the high school newspaper, The Spectrum. She plays cello in the chamber orchestra and piano in the stage band.
Michelle has performed on the piano at Carnegie Hall as well as at international competitions in Vienna and Amsterdam. She published a manuscript in a scientific journal and completed an internship at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research. She may study biochemistry in college in preparation for a medical career.
Michelle said her drive to succeed comes from wanting to present the best possible image. “That’s what motivates me to do my best,” she said. Michelle understands the importance of balance and tries not to take life too seriously. She enjoys dancing and Zumba, and performing at school events gives her satisfaction, as it is important to her that her music is heard by others.
Being named the valedictorian “feels like recognition of all the time and effort I’ve put into school over the years,” she said.
Julia earned a grade point average of 108.29, earning her the spot as salutatorian. She is an IB Diploma candidate, AP Scholar with Honors and is expected to graduate with an Advanced Regents Diploma with Honors and Mastery in Math, and the New York State Seal of Biliteracy. She is member of Mock Trial, Model UN, National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society.
Julia is a figure skater and has competed on the ice over the years. She also teaches younger children to skate. She feels figure skating is unique in the athletic world and finds the ice to be a good place to take a break from academics. She also enjoys playing tennis with her friends.
Julia said her strong memory and the ability to realize what she doesn’t know help her to study effectively. She also said that having a good group of friends and teachers she connects with helped her succeed in school. With her academic strength in science, Julia is considering a career as a surgeon.
Admittedly leaving things to the last minute, Julia would advise younger students to hone their time management skills before getting to high school.
On being named salutatorian, Julia said, “I feel like I’ve worked so hard, and this is a huge achievement that makes that work worth it.”
Michelle and Julia both said the support of their parents made it possible for them to achieve at such high levels.