Class of 2017--Valedictorians & Salutatorians

An overview of the Great Neck Public Schools Class of 2017 reveals 603 graduates from the districts’ three high schools: 286 from John L. Miller-Great Neck North High School, 302 from William A. Shine-Great Neck South High School, and 15 from The Village School. Nearly 97 percent of graduates will pursue higher education at either two- or four-year colleges. The remainder historically seek employment, vocational training, or enlistment in the Armed Services. Graduation ceremonies for North and South High Schools will be on Thursday, June 22, at Tilles Center, LIU Post, with North’s ceremony in the morning and South’s in the afternoon. The Village School graduation will be on Wednesday afternoon, June 21, at the school. A look at the valedictorians and salutatorians for North and South High Schools follows. Winners of other significant commencement awards and the student graduation speeches will appear in the weeks ahead. Awards to follow include: Frederic Duclos Barstow, Alan L. Gleitsman, Scott Moss, and Genelle Taney.

Valedictorians

Lee Yang newman

North High School Valedictorian is Zachary Lee. South High School Co-Valedictorians are Benjamin Newman and Melody Yang.

North High Valedictorian Zachary Lee - is an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction (earning perfect scores on his six exams), a National Merit Scholarship Competition Finalist, and a National Spanish Exam Silver Medalist. He was co-president of Junior Players and Tri-M Music Honor Society, and captain and founder of the newly formed Junior Players Improv Group. Zachary was a Nassau County Long Island Scholar Artist, selected for NAfME All-National and All-Eastern Honor Ensembles Mixed Choirs (Bass 2 singer), NYSSMA All-State Conference, playing flute in the Symphonic Band, and NYSSMA Piano Showcase Alternate. He was a member of North High’s Chamber Music Society, Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic Band, Jazz Ensemble, and International Thespian Society. Zachary participated in Junior Players productions throughout his four years at North, and was a contributing writer for Epiphany, the school’s literary magazine. He will be attending Yale University in the fall.

South High Co-Valedictorian Benjamin Newman - is an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction, a National Merit Scholarship Competition Semifinalist, and a National Spanish Exam Gold Medal Winner. He was president of Robotics and named Varsity Tennis MVP and a Student-Athlete. Benjamin will attend Stanford University.

South High Co-Valedictorian Melody Yang - is an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction (earning perfect scores on her seven exams), a National Merit Scholarship Competition Finalist, and a National Spanish Exam Gold Medalist. She was Science Olympiad president, co-captain of Science Bowl and Ocean Bowl, Asian Culture Club co-chair, and Math Team treasurer. Melody took awards at Physics Bowl, Science Bowl, Science Olympiad, Ocean Bowl, WAC Lighting Foundation Invitational Science Fair, Long Island Science Congress, and Nassau Math Tournament. She was a cartoonist for The Southerner, the school newspaper, and holds a Second Degree Black Belk in Taekwondo, which she also teaches. Melody will also be attending Stanford University.

Salutatorians

Taied Brenner Putter

North High School Salutatorian is Joseph Taied. South High School Co-Salutatorians are Rachel Brenner and Joshua Putter.

North High Salutatorian Joseph Taied - is an Advanced Placement Scholar, a National Merit Scholarship Competition Commended Student, and a National Spanish Exam Gold Medal Winner. He was a member of Math Team and Quiz Bowl, a Peer Leader, and played viola in the Orchestra. Joseph participated in Varsity Badminton, Soccer, and Track & Field. He was an active Junior Volunteer at North Shore University Hospital, and a four-year participant in Midnight Run, through Temple Israel of Great Neck. Joseph will be attending New York University in the fall.

South High Co-Salutatorian Rachel Brenner - is an Advanced Placement Scholar with Honor, National Merit Scholarship Competition Commended Student, and a National Spanish Exam Silver Medalist. She took awards at DECA Conferences and Penn Model Congress, and was a NYSSMA All-County clarinet player. Rachel was president of DECA and South High Mock Trial, Economics Team captain, treasurer of South High Model Congress and Penn Model Congress, and four-year manager of the South High School Store. She played JV Soccer and was a member of the Long Island Junior Soccer League. Rachel was also an active Head Start volunteer. She will attend the University of Pennsylvania.

South High Co-Salutatorian Joshua Putter - is an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction, a National Merit Scholarship Competition Finalist, and a National Latin Exam Gold Medalist. He was Robotics Team vice president, a four-year member of the Baseball Team, and played alto saxophone in the school Wind Ensemble and Chamber Symphony Orchestra, and tenor saxophone in the Jazz Band. Joshua will attend Dartmouth University.