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Zoey Wade School: Northport High School College: Farmingdale (Credit: Ed Betz)

Zoey Wade
School: Northport High School
College: Farmingdale State College

Wade, diagnosed with epilepsy at a young age, is a state championship-winning swimmer and captain of the swim team. To help others with the seizure disorder, she has held fundraising events, while also donating time to Grandfriends, a program that pairs young people with seniors for friendship. (June 6, 2011)

Click here to read more about Wade.

A new class: Extraordinary high school grads of 2011

Extraordinary graduates of Long Island's high school class of 2011.
Submit your graduation photos here.

Laura Kirsch School: Ward Melville High School College:
(Credit: Ed Betz)

Laura Kirsch
School: Ward Melville High School
College: Cornell University

Kirsch's accomplishments include being a champion for her brother who is autistic, creating a team for the annual Autism Walk and raising $45,000 for autism research. She started a mentoring program for autistic students, Friendship Circle. She is also vice president of the Key Club; a member of the varsity track and cross country teams; volunteers as a coach for a special-needs running team; and is a second-degree black belt in tae kwon do. (June 6, 2011)

Click here to read more about Kirsch.

Jessie Driscoll School: Calhoun High School College: East
(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

Jessie Driscoll
School: Calhoun High School
College: East Stroudsburg University

A professional Irish step dancer, teacher and captain of her high school's kick-line team, Driscoll has also found time to put her passion for helping others to good use. She's worked in a soup kitchen, collected letters to send to troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and organized drives for the poverty-stricken Appalachian region. But the cause closest to her heart is breast cancer: Her mom is a survivor. (June 2, 2011)

Click here to read more about Driscoll.

Emma deBeer Charno School: Locust Valley High School
(Credit: Steven Sunshine)

Emma deBeer Charno
School: Locust Valley High School
College: Oberlin College

Charno took her personal experience of coming out as a lesbian in middle school and facing bullies to become an advocate for gay rights issues, starting the Gay Straight Alliance at her school. She won the Girl Scout Gold Award for a documentary she made directed at middle-schoolers who are questioning their sexuality and coming out. (June 3, 2011)

Click here to read more about Charno.

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Asim Khan School: Locust Valley High School College:
(Credit: Steven Sunshine)

Asim Khan
School: Locust Valley High School
College: New York Institute of Technology

Khan is a star tennis player at his high school, managing to maintain top scores in his academics and give back to the community; he plans to be a pediatric physician. Some of his community service projects include delivering flowers and helping to discharge patients as a volunteer at St. Francis Hospital in Flower Hill and raising money for the treatment of different diseases at local events. (June 3, 2011)

Click here to read more about Khan.

Hollace Francy School: Locust Valley High School College:
(Credit: Steven Sunshine)

Hollace Francy
School: Locust Valley High School
College: Vassar College

Francy was president of the Interact Club, which is aimed at serving the community. She's coordinated blood drives, three of which were record-breaking. The school newspaper is another outlet for Francy, who was its editor-in-chief. (June 9, 2011)

Click here to read more about Francy.

Michelle Hackman School: John L. Miller-Great Neck North
(Credit: Uli Seit)

Michelle Hackman
School: John L. Miller-Great Neck North High School
College: Yale University

Hackman, blind since childhood, has amazed her peers, teachers and counselors with her discipline and accomplishments. She is the second-place winner of the Intel science competition for her behavioral research. She will intern this summer at the New York Post and then work at the Yale Daily News. (June 8, 2011)

Click here to read more about Hackman.

Dianna Hu School: Half Hollow Hills High School
(Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

Dianna Hu
School: Half Hollow Hills High School West
College: Harvard University

Hu has racked up various accolades in school, ranging from homecoming queen to Intel and Siemens semifinalist to class valedictorian -- all while deftly navigating her physical limitation. (June 7, 2011)

Click here to read more about Hu.

Jean Alouidor School: Amityville High School College: Stony
(Credit: Ed Betz)

Jean Alouidor
School: Amityville High School
College: Stony Brook University

Alouidor faced many challenges after moving to Amityville when an earthquake destroyed his home and school in Haiti. But after school counselors met Jean, they were confident that he would adjust. Soon, Alouidor was mentoring younger students, including other earthquake survivors; he joined several clubs, volunteered his time; and is graduating among the top 10 percent of his class. (June 3, 2011)

Click here to read more about Alouidor.

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Giselle Rivas School: Amityville High School College: Adelphi
(Credit: Ed Betz)

Giselle Rivas
School: Amityville High School
College: Adelphi University

Rivas used her passion for art as a tool to help others, as part of the global Memory Project. She is a member of the National Art Honor Society, and also had a piece included in the 2010 Long Island's best student artist show at the Heckscher Museum. (June 3, 2011)

Click here to read more about Rivas.

Gabriella Wessler School: The Knox School College: Colorado
(Credit: Heather Walsh)

Gabriella Wessler
School: The Knox School
College: Colorado State University

Wessler is a passionate equestrian who also enjoys teaching sign language as founder of her school's American Sign Language Club. She likes to challenge herself in all parts of her life, from riding a difficult horse, to taking on responsibilities as student council president and National Honor Society vice president. She also organized school fundraisers and clothing drives for underprivileged children. (June 6, 2011)

Click here to read more about Wessler.

Juliet Garrett School: The Ross School College: Princeton
(Credit: Doug Kuntz)

Juliet Garrett
School: The Ross School
College: Princeton University

Garrett is a performer, director and choreographer who has taken part in a New York Stage and Film summer program at Vassar College. Juliet is also a talented math student, taking a Stanford University online course. A yoga instructor, she successfully lobbied her school's founders to add more female writers to its English curriculum. (June 6, 2011)

Click here to read more about Garrett.

Griffin Burr School: West Islip High School College:
(Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin)

Griffin Burr
School: West Islip High School
College: University of Chicago

Burr helped build a playground at a local community center in Cambodia, and in Costa Rica he helped build homes for underprivileged families. He doesn't only spread his good works abroad. He earned his Eagle Scout award by redoing a garden at the entrance to the West Islip Acres Civic Association. Burr has worked with Habitat for Humanity, and he teaches Sunday school and volunteers in the acute-care elderly unit at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center. (June 6, 2011)

Click here to read more about Burr.

Matthew Moskowitz School: Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy
(Credit: Howard Schnapp)

Matthew Moskowitz
School: Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School
College: Penn State University

Having to recover from a stroke at 13 years old, Moskowitz discovered his inner resilience. His life now includes ice hockey and baseball. Because of the stroke, he has to put extra effort into his reading comprehension. He is also a referee for Police Athletic League floor hockey and umpire for Little League baseball. Moskowitz shares his experience so that it might help others, speaking to physical therapy students about his brain injury and recovery, and to students enrolled in a neurological rehabilitation class. (June 3, 2011)

Click here to read more about Moskowitz.

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Mark Valentino School: Smithtown High School West College:
(Credit: Daniel Goodrich)

Mark Valentino
School: Smithtown High School West
College: Marist College

On his own, Valentino started a 5k run/walk in memory of his track coach Pat Harmon, who died last summer of brain cancer. The event had about 600 runners and raised more than $20,000. (June 7, 2011)

Click here to read more about Valentino.

Jennifer Sunmonu School: Jericho High School College: Duke
(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

Jennifer Sunmonu
School: Jericho High School
College: Duke University

Sunmonu overcame her insecurities about being the only African-American female in her senior class to achieve academic success. "Being the only black girl gave me confidence to be who I am and not care what other people think. I used to feel insecure and different, but I learned to embrace it." She used that confidence to earn a 4.0 GPA and a Silver President's Volunteer Service Award for completing 179 hours of community service. (June 7, 2011)

Click here to read more about Sunmonu.

Alex and Nicole Ripka School: Jericho High School
(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

Alex and Nicole Ripka
School: Jericho High School
College: Alex plans to attend the University of Michigan; Nicole will go to the University of Pennsylvania

Nicole and Alex Ripka created a noncompetitive sports program, called Jammin' Jayhawks, for physically and mentally disabled students two years ago. Pupils can play soccer, basketball, baseball and now dance with student volunteers. (June 7, 2011)

Click here to read more about the Ripkas.

Eric Zwilling School: Jericho High School College: Duke
(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

Eric Zwilling
School: Jericho High School
College: Duke University

Zwilling founded a Buddies program that allows children in Tourette Syndrome Association's support groups to "buddy up" with Jericho high school students for games, conversation and mentoring. He also founded an awareness club that educates the school community about the disorder and provides volunteers for the TSA Buddies program. News of his club spread, resulting in other U.S. schools starting their own awareness clubs. (June 7, 2011)

Click here to read more about Zwilling.

Ronnie Eith School: H. Frank Carey High School
(Credit: Danielle Finkelstein)

Ronnie Eith
School: H. Frank Carey High School
College: East Stroudsburg University

Eith has Asperger's syndrome, a developmental disorder that can make it difficult for him to read social cues and focus on anything but a specific set of interests. Counselors say it's his tenacity and enthusiasm that pulls him through, like trying out for the school play five times and not giving up until he was accepted. (June 10, 2011)

Click here to read more about Eith.

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Zoey Wade School: Northport High School College: Farmingdale
(Credit: Ed Betz)

Zoey Wade
School: Northport High School
College: Farmingdale State College

Wade, diagnosed with epilepsy at a young age, is a state championship-winning swimmer and captain of the swim team. To help others with the seizure disorder, she has held fundraising events, while also donating time to Grandfriends, a program that pairs young people with seniors for friendship. (June 6, 2011)

Click here to read more about Wade.

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