Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

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Valedictorian, Salutatorian share experiences

June 25, 2014

Valedictorian, Salutatorian share experiences

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Photo by Kari Iocolano
Photo by Kari Iocolano

This year’s Valedictorian and Salutatorian sat down with The Classic for a different kind of interview. Rather than asking the typical questions at this time of year (“What are your plans for the future?”, “How did you do it?”), we thought it would be better to do a Q&A that alternates between typical and atypical questions, allowing us to get a better view of their personalities.

Both Classic editors, Michelle Gan, valedictorian, and Magdalena Grabos, salutatorian, shared their thoughts below.

QUESTION: What have you done that was the biggest waste of time academically, but worth your time personally?

Michelle: In the last month before the AP U.S. History test, my teacher tasked us with creating games that would help us review. While most groups went with the typical power- point Jeopardy!, my friends and I decided to design an actual board game. We styled it after Candy Land, with multi-colored spaces, and blended that with Trivial Pursuit. I doubt the game really made much of a difference between a two or a five, but for me, I ended up getting to know the people in my group a lot better. Some of them are still good friends and working on the project at someone’s house turned into hanging out, eating home-made sushi and chips, and talking about life. Even the board game itself turned out to be something I was really proud of.

Magdalena: Definitely going on Kingda Ka during the physics trip. I normally love roller coasters, and I’m the person that will drag friends on rides, but neither of the two friends I was with even considered going. The physics trip coincidentally fell on my birthday, so I was trying to use that as an excuse to get them to come with me because I did not want to go by myself. I was about to give up when a huge group of our friends came up and announced they were going. I jumped at the opportunity, and they even convinced one of my two friends to come. We were terrified pretty much through the entire experience.through the entire experience. It turned out to be the best ride in the park that we got out of it was priceless. This definitely made for an unforgettable birthday.

QUESTION: What was the best assignment that you pro- duced during your four years at THHS?

Michelle: In freshman English class, my teacher assigned a collateral asking us to deliver an oratorical speech and examine the rhetorical devices that made the speech effective. I chose “Equal Rights for Women” by Shirley Chisholm because it focused on something that I was and still am passionate about today. I remember feeling anxious standing up in front of people who I barely knew.The collateral didn’t require us to memorize it, but as I launched into my speech, I realized that the words had ingrained themselves into my brain. At the end of my teacher’s praise, she asked other students to offer feedback. One person’s hand shot up, and when called on, the person praised my performance, noting that he felt the genuine passion behind my words.

Magdalena: Sophomore year English with Ms. Rizzuto was one of the most challenging courses I’ve taken here so doing well was always that much more rewarding. I remember that one of the biggest collaterals we had was writing a research paper on A Tale of Two Cities. There were so many details to pay attention to and such specific guidelines to follow that I always felt that I was missing something. When the day finally came to hand it in, I was relieved that I could stop stressing out about it for a while. The nerves came back the day Ms. Rizzuto came in with the graded papers. She started reading the introduction paragraphs from a few papers that she said were excellent. After hearing the first three or four, I wasn’t expecting mine to be read, but then I heard my first sentence

QUESTION:
What would you tell a freshman about getting through the next four years?

Michelle: Don’t take the rules too seriously, as long as you know your demerit limit. Find friends who don’t spend all their time talking about grades.People at Townsend complain a lot, and I’m no exception. So take everything you hear with a grain of salt, and form your own opinions.

Magdalena: Hang in there and experience everything that THHS has to offer. As Ms. Assante always says, “You never regret doing something, you regret not doing.” So make the most out of everything and the first three years are hard, senior year is worth the wait.

QUESTION: Which fictional character would you most like to procrastinate with and why?

Michelle: Phineas and Ferb. They manage to innovate an endless amount of ways to pass their infinite summer, including creating the world’s largest roller. building tree-houses, flying on magic carpets, and traveling much more than is fair.

Magdalena: I think I’d have to choose Hermione Granger. Not only is she a wizard but she has a necklace that allows her to time travel. She gets herself into so many different situations, but at least it keeps things interesting.

 

 

 

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