The most vivid image that guidance counselor Brandi Hopkins has of Greenport High School senior Megan Demarest comes from monitoring the lunchroom, that potential minefield for young adults.
Demarest, Hopkins said, always went up to students eating alone, to join them or invite them to eat with her friends.
"No one should eat lunch by themselves," Demarest said. "I want people to know they're special."
Greenport, at the eastern tip of the North Fork, has a diverse and small student body. All 621 students -- from kindergarten to 12th grade -- go to class in one building.
Demarest, 18, is salutatorian of her class and also cares about the environment. Twice a year she cleans up a local beach.
"It's a really good way to give back to the community," she said. "Where I live is so beautiful, I want to preserve it."
Demarest helped lead the volleyball team to the county playoffs, is active in clubs and spent her spring break last year with Habitat for Humanity, helping rebuild a house in New Orleans damaged in Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Demarest said it was a life-changing experience, but she helps out closer to home, too.
After learning that several students in her class couldn't afford the $13 ticket for a fundraiser usually attended by seniors, Demarest and a friend created two scholarships for Southold and Greenport seniors, called the "We Can Make a Difference Scholarship."
Demarest said the goal is to raise $1,000 for each senior, neither of whom has been chosen. She said she hopes future classes will continue the effort.
"I want to start our own tradition," she said.
HIGHER ED: Demarest will attend Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pa., where she will study criminology.
AT COLLEGE I'M MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO: "I'm excited to meet all the new people, and study about human behavior and criminology. There are so many experiences I haven't had yet."
What makes you extraordinary
"The people I have met and the experiences I have had make me care about others."