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East Rockaway Names Top Two Seniors

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East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School is proud to announce seniors Marissela Gomez as valedictorian and Gabriella Walsh as salutatorian for the Class of 2018. 

Marissela is brilliant, witty, creative and curious. She is a humanitarian who truly wants to do good for the world. When filling out her college application, she asked guidance counselor Jennifer Melecio if she should include volunteering at the local elementary school and local veterinarian in her family’s home country of Guatemala because she “did these things for fun, not to get community service hours.”

Marissela has participated in accelerated and honors classes throughout high school, enrolling in the most challenging classes offered. She has enrolled in nine Advanced Placement courses, not because it “looks good for college,” she said, but because she has a genuine sense of curiosity about the world and loves a good challenge. Her favorite subjects are chemistry, physics and art, all of which foster her passion for creative problem-solving. As a talented artist, she wanted to take AP Art this year, but it did not fit into her schedule. Instead of just accepting this fate, she took the initiative to work on her AP Art Portfolio during her own time and will submit it to the College Board this spring. 

Marissela’s life seems to revolve around personal growth. She strives to inspire people by being a good person and working hard to improve herself. For example, she just started running cross-country this year, even though she says she isn’t the best runner. She said it quickly became her favorite activity because it allowed her to realize her own weaknesses and work on them. She is a National Hispanic Recognition Program honoree and is the recipient of the Bausch + Lomb Honorary Science Award and the Rensselaer Medal. In addition, she is a Presidential Scholars Program nominee. Her extracurricular activities include serving as chess club president, a peer AIDS educator, cross-country team member and Students Against Destructive Decisions member.   

Gabriella is intelligent, hardworking, extremely motivated, sincere and kind. She is a hardworking student who knows where she is headed in life. Over the past four years, she has challenged herself with a rigorous course load but has managed to stay after school every day to take part in extracurricular activities. Gabriella is the captain of the varsity soccer team. She is also an advocate in the school building, acting in the role of class president. Voted in by her peers, she used her platform to advocate for changes in the building to benefit students. 

Academically, Gabby has pursued a most challenging and rigorous course load, including most honors and Advanced Placement courses. She has maintained a solid A average while balancing a very busy and often hectic schedule. This year, she has also become a member of the National Honor Society. 

As dedicated to her studies as Gabby is, she is also passionate about her after-school activities. She is a valued member of the Quiz Bowl team, where she helps East Rockaway compete against some of the brightest students on Long Island. She has also served as chairperson of Rock Rivalry and was part of the varsity soccer and lacrosse teams. Aside from the work in her clubs and organizations, Gabriella also served as a camp counselor for 12-year-old girls this past summer. She described it as one of the most demanding yet rewarding jobs she has ever had. It taught her a great deal about herself and what she can handle. Finding the time to balance her hectic schedule while still maintaining solid grades shows what a well-rounded young lady Gabby has become.

Congratulation to Marissela and Gabriella! The entire East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School community extends its best wishes for success to them in their future endeavors.