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Long Island valedictorians survey: Are you planning to stay on LI?

Joshua Sarlo, valedictorian of Lynbrook High School, and

Joshua Sarlo, valedictorian of Lynbrook High School, and Shreeya Panigrahi, valedictorian of Sayville High School, say the high cost of living may keep them from returning to Long Island after college.

Long Island's 2015 valedictorians have a variety of personalities and interests that drive their life decisions, including whether they're planning to stay on LI.

When we asked a group of LI's valedictorians, "what would drive you away from LI after college," responses ranged from economic concerns, criticisms of LI and general interest in seeing the rest of the world.

"Sadly, as an adult, the cost of living is ridiculous," Joshua Sarlo, valedictorian at Lynbrook High School, said. "Unless such costs were to decrease, I could not find myself living on L.I.  after college."

Meagan Loyst of Sachem High School North had a different reason for wanting to leave. "The people outside of Long Island are much more friendly," she said.

"Also, everything is more expensive on the Island."

For a few, Long Island serving as a suburban climate for families deterred their desire to stay local, with Rebecca Cheng of Smithtown High School West adding "isolation" as a reason for wanting to leave.

"We live in a bubble [on Long Island] and it's a little constraining," Cheng said. "Also, endless suburbia."

Many showed a burning desire to see the world as their main reasons for leaving.

"The pull away from Long Island is the opportunity to explore, branch out and help other communities," said Yiela Saperstein of Stella K. Abraham High School.

Noah Davis of Earl L. Vandermeulen High School said, "I want to explore the country and forge my own path in life away from the place I grew up."

"An innate desire to travel and see the world" was the reason Harshil Garg of Bethpage High School gave, saying he'd leave Long Island. Shreeya Panigrahi, of Sayville High School, said that, in her 20s, she'd "like to live in different parts of the country and travel."

But, like many of the other responses on the valedictorians survey, Panigrahi added that "the main issues are the high cost of living on Long Island."

When asked what would keep them on Long Island, the valedictorians were just as varied in their reponses -- their family, parents, a good job and access to the beaches.

"I am drawn back to Long Island because of my family, community and relaxed nature of the area," Saperstein said. "I enjoy taking long walks and seeing the beautiful nature of Long Island. I also think that the vibrant community life here is definitely a pull back home and I think now that I know what Long Island has done for me, I must ask what I can do for Long Island."

Not all of the valedictorians took the responses too seriously.

Some of the more colorful responses included leaving "probably by Hyundai Elantra" and because "winter is coming."

Others, when asked about staying, said it would take $1 million and Long Island pizza.


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