Deitelzweig and Li were among the 205 students to graduate from Byram Hills on Tuesday, June 19. They both delivered speeches during the commencement ceremony held in the Concert Hall at the SUNY Purchase Performing Arts Center.
Deitelzweig will attend Princeton University in the fall, while Li is headed to Brown University. Both plan to study computer science, according to Byram Hills Central School District officials.
“On behalf of the entire faculty and staff, I want to congratulate Stella Li and Jackson Deitelzweig on being named salutatorian and valedictorian for the Class of 2018,” Christopher Walsh, the high school priincipal, said. “Both of these students have continually impressed their teachers during their four years at Byram Hills."
Walsh added, "Their thirst for knowledge and passion for learning are the qualities that stand out most. They are true role models for the students who will follow in their footsteps. We are incredibly proud of their achievements.”
Deitelzweig, 17, was a part of Mock Trial, the Academic Challenge Team and the Tech Club. He ran spring track and was a student in the three-year Dr. Robert Pavlica Authentic Science Research Program. He won the Byram Hills outstanding achievement award in math this year and last year, and won the Harvard Prize Book as a junior.
“Byram Hills definitely has great facilities for everything I was studying,” Deitelzweig said. “I want to go into computer science or a math or science field and the fact that we have a science research program where you can focus on anything and learn everything about it, that just prepares you so much for what’s going to be happening in the real world.”
Both top students cited cited Lisa Pellegrino, the Byram Hills' Math Chairperson, as a teacher who made a difference in their academic careers.
Li, 18, was a National Merit Scholarship finalist, a Regeneron scholar and a student in the Dr. Robert Pavlica Authentic Science Research Program. A violinist, she won the National School Orchestra Award and also won an award for outstanding senior English student.
On being named salutatorian, Li said: “It really solidifies for me that what I did in high school kind of accumulated to this and it makes it feel like all the effort I put in counted for something.”
Li said her academic success was due in part to her love of learning. "I’m very enthusiastic to learn new things,” she said.
She urged the younger students at Byram Hills to follow their passions.
“Pursue whatever interests you and the most challenging material you can, and don’t worry about failing because sometimes you can accomplish a lot more than you maybe thought you could, especially when placed in a demanding environment like a harder course,” she said.
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