By Shelly Newman
Valedictorian Allison Black took the podium at the 2015 North Shore High School Commencement Ceremony while her peers, teachers, family and friends watched with joy and admiration.
She began her speech by stating, “I invite you to think about why you are here today at graduation. It is not simply to get your diploma or because your family wants to see you graduate.”
She continued, “…I recently read the book, Making the Most of College by Richard Light. Light emphasizes the importance of asking yourself ‘why?’ He explains that this question helps us set goals and gives focus to our lives to help us really make the most of it…”
She concluded by saying, “It is not enough to simply know what you are doing; you have to know why you are doing it, for it to have real value. Let me say congratulations to the Class of 2015 and may we all continue to discover why we are here.”
It is clear from reviewing Black’s extensive list of awards and honors that she has approached every challenge of her high school career with hard work, passion and dedication. This is reflected in her numerous accomplishments, including: the recipient of the Dr. Bomberick Award for Excellence in Science, The First National Bank of Long Island Anthony D. Famighetti Award, NY State Board of Regents Scholarship for Academic Excellence, Long Island Blood Services Scholarship, Harvard Book Award, Bausch and Lomb Science Award, AAPT Award for Achievement in Physics and World Languages Department Award for Spanish. She also received four gold medals at the Long Island Math Fair, participated in the Institute of Creative Problem Solving for Gifted and Talented Students and was a member of the National Honor Society.
While her academic accomplishments have been outstanding, Black also participated in myriad fulfilling activities. She was a scholar athlete on the varsity swim team and received a NY District Distinguished Key Club member treasurer award. Her stellar achievements have earned her acceptance into Carnegie Mellon University in the fall as a part of their Scholars Program.
Over his past four years at North Shore High School, Salutatorian Aidan Lewis has truly excelled. Among his long list of honors, he received the following: States Marine Corps Scholastic Excellence Award, Dartmouth Book Award, George Washington University School of Engineering & Applied Science Medal, was a National Merit Scholarship Commended Student and participated in the Al Kalfus Long Island Math Fair Long Island Science and Engineering Fair (LISEF), Adelphi Apprentice Challenge (Business) and Nassau County Interscholastic Mathematics League (NCIML) Tournament at SUNY Old Westbury. He is also an AP Scholar with Honor and was a member of the National Honor Society.
In addition to his academic accomplishments, Lewis was named MVP of the men’s varsity tennis team at a recent Varsity Athletic Awards dinner. He also served as the co-captain of the team.
During the 2015 North Shore High School Commencement Ceremony, Lewis said that he learned a lot from others, but in particular he learned something important from his older sister, who pursued her love of writing instead of a path in medicine after entering John Hopkins University.
He eloquently stated, “Life is too short to spend it doing something you don’t truly love. When we work at something we dislike, we do the bare minimum. For this reason, nothing substantial will ever be achieved by those who are not passionate about what they do…”
He concluded by saying, “Happiness and fulfillment will come from pursuing whatever cause or job your heart directs you toward as long as the work needs you, is a fit for your skill set and allows you to make a living for yourself and your family.”