Meet the Valedictorian and Salutatorian of THHS

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The Valedictorian and Salutatorian of the Class of 2015 sat down with The Classic in an interview to reflect upon their past and look toward the future. Valedictorian Rebecca Duras and Salutatorian Saloni Vishwakarma shared their thoughts below.

 QUESTION: Who has/have taught you the most while you’ve been here? What did you learn from this person/these people?

 

Rebecca: [I’ve learned the most] from my friends, who are so tough and taught me when to take a break.

 

Saloni:Throughout my four years at Townsend, many teachers have influenced me and graciously offered me their wisdom. There are many individuals who have pushed me to challenge myself. At times, I thought classes were difficult, but I [ultimately] learned the most from [those classes]. Many people at Townsend Harris have believed in me and always offered their guidance and for that, I am truly grateful.

 

QUESTION: What Townsend-survival advice would you give underclassmen?

 

Rebecca: There’s a pretty big culture of negativity here at Townsend and sometimes you can feel [silly] for liking classes, reading outside of school, or not acting like you hate everything. Don’t spend your entire time worrying about [how you look] and miss out on learning or participating in activities because you think you’re going to be popular. Spoiler: we’re all nerds here. No one’s cool. No one’s popular.

 

Saloni: Townsend Harris offers so many activities – it’s very easy to get lost and be tempted by many of them. My biggest advice would be to understand your priorities, whether it is your academics, your athletics, or a specific activity. Once this is established, you can manage your time accordingly and successfully complete all that you wish to do. Also, remember that high school is meant to get hectic, but if you’re not learning something and not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.

Photo by Justice Williams
Photo by Justice Williams

 

QUESTION: What is your best late-night-procrastination memory?

 

Rebecca: I don’t procrastinate and I’ve never stayed up past 10:30 PM on a school night.

 

Saloni: My best late-night procrastination memory would be working on my Latin collateral. The collateral was due the next day, and my group members and I began to search for the assignment requirements in true procrastination fashion at 10:00 pm the night before. After discussing the assignment, we divided the work and decided to combine our parts in the morning. I had completed my part of the project only to realize that we were using separate programs on our laptops and could not successfully combine anything. After a painstakingly long period copying, pasting, and reformatting everything, we had completed only part one of the project. Since we also needed a physical decorated copy of our completed project, I remember stuffing my book bag with print outs, glue sticks, scissors—anything artistic— [that] I could possibly find before school. We successfully glued everything in place just as the music had stopped playing in Latin class that morning.


Questions:

 

  1. What college will you be attending? What are you most looking forward to?

  2. Career goals? What are your plans for the future?

  3. Who has taught you the most while you’ve been here? What did you learn from this person?

  4. What Townsend-survival advice would you give underclassmen?

  5. What is your best late-night-procrastination memory?

  6. Describe your high school experience using a movie or song title.

 

Rebecca:

  1. I will be attending Middlebury College. I’m most excited about the study abroad program, which the college offers financial aid for. Since I’m studying international politics and hope to get a job with the foreign service one day, I need the foreign experience

  2. I kinda answered this already, but I’m going to study international politics and either go into the foreign service or the NGO.

  3. The most I’ve learned has been from my friends, who are so tough and taught me when to take a break

  4. There’s a pretty big culture of negativity here at Townsend and sometimes you can feel stupid for liking classes, reading outside of school or not acting like you hate everything. Don’t spend your entire time worrying about looking stupid and miss out on learning interesting things or participating in Townsend activities because you think you’re going to be popular. Spoiler: we’re all nerds here. No one’s cool. No one’s popular.

  5. I don’t procrastinate and I’ve ever stayed up past 10:30 on a school night. Feel free to hate me.

  6. Dazed and Confused

 

Saloni:

  1. What college will you be attending? What are you most looking forward to?

I will be attending Harvard College in the fall of 2015. I am most looking forward to meeting brilliant and passionate students from around the world, learning from professors who are enthusiastic about their field, and making use of the vast resources college will offer me. I absolutely cannot wait to continue the activities I currently pursue in high school and experience new activities. College will also be a time to live independently, which makes me nervous because I have never lived away from my family, but also excited because it will be a new and different lifestyle. [My parents raised me in] New York City for the majority of my life, [so] moving into a new city will allow me to explore new things. In college, I hope to learn as much as I possibly can about many topics, ranging from music to athletics to different cultures and much more! I look forward to taking classes I’ve never heard of and learning the cultures of people from countries I’ve never been to. I look forward to learning new sports and participating in numerous different clubs. Hopefully, college will be a great time for me to grow as an individual and expand my knowledge about the world.

2) Career goals? What are your plans for the future?

After my undergraduate education at Harvard, I hope to pursue medical school. I am planning to concentrate in neurobiology at Harvard and become a neurosurgeon in the future. Of course, college is a period of exploration, so I look forward to Harvard either confirming my passion for neuroscience or helping me discover and develop a new interest.

 

3) Who has taught you the most while you’ve been here? What did you learn from this person?

Throughout my four years at Townsend Harris High School, many teachers have influenced me and graciously offered me their wisdom. There are many individuals who have pushed me to challenge myself. At times I thought classes were difficult, but those were the ones I learned the most from. Many people at Townsend Harris have believed in me and always offered their guidance and for that, I am truly grateful.

 

4) What Townsend-survival advice would you give underclassmen?

Townsend Harris offers so many activities – it’s very easy to get lost and be tempted by many of them. My biggest advice would be to understand your priorities, whether it is your academics, your athletics, or a specific activity. Once this is established, you can manage your time accordingly and successfully complete all that you wish to do. Also, remember that high school is meant to get hectic, but if you’re not learning something and not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.

 

5)  What is your best late-night-procrastination memory?

My best late-night-procrastination memory would be working on my Latin collateral. The collateral was due the next day and my group members and I began to search for the assignment requirements, in true procrastination fashion, at 10:00 pm the night before. After discussing the assignment, we divided up the work and decided to combine our parts in the morning. I had completed my part of the project only to realize that we were using separate programs on our laptops and could not successfully combine anything. After a painstakingly long period of time copying, pasting, and reformatting everything, we had completed only part one of the project. Since we also needed a physical decorated copy of our completed project, I remember stuffing my book bag with all the print outs, glue sticks, scissors, and anything artistic I could possibly find before school. We successfully glued everything in place just as the music had stopped playing in Latin class that morning.

 

6) The Script’s “Hall Of Fame” conveys that with hard work and dedication, you can accomplish anything you want to, which is true for all our endeavors.

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