Long IslandEducation

Notable Long Island seniors, 2000-2011

Jennifer Sunmonu School: Jericho High School, class of

Jennifer Sunmonu
School: Jericho High School, class of 2011
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.

Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Long Island seniors recognized by Newsday over the past decade for making a mark during their high school years. If you see yourself, we'd like to find out what you're up to! Contact us at schools@newsday.com.

Lisa Stoia School: William Floyd High School, class
Photo Credit: Ed Griffin

Lisa Stoia
School: William Floyd High School, class of 2000

Stoia, like her brothers, from left, Cosmo and Richie, achieved a perfect attendance at William Floyd High School in Shirley -- that's 2,340 days -- even attending class after the funeral of her grandmother.

"All the kids make jokes, but they respect it."


Read more about Stoia.

Kevin Carey School: Hampton Bays Junior-Senior High School,
Photo Credit: Newsday / Bill Davis

Kevin Carey
School: Hampton Bays Junior-Senior High School, class of 2000
College: Lasell College in Newton, Mass.

Carey's many accomplishments -- member of the National Honor Society, varsity basketball and track, volunteer with the Hampton Bays Volunteer Ambulance Corps -- points to a life of many career choices, but the longtime camp counselor already knows what he wants to do -- work with children.

"I absolutely love little kids. I intend to become an elementary school teacher."

Click here to learn more about Carey and the other notable grads from 2000.

Janelle Rovegno School: Rocky Point Junior-Senior High School,
Photo Credit: Newsday/Tony Jerome

Janelle Rovegno
School: Rocky Point Junior-Senior High School, class of 2000
College: Vanderbilt University, Nashville

This is how good Rovegno's voice is: Her accomplishments in academics (National Honor Society) and sports (medals in All-County and All-State track) pale in comparison to what she accomplished with music. By the time she graduated, she had performed in a professional theater production, won a college voice scholarship, and sung at Carnegie Hall.

"That's all I ever wanted to do -- sing and perform."

Click here to learn more about Rovegno and the other notable grads from 2000.

Miryam Rivera School: Westbury High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Miryam Rivera
School: Westbury High School, class of 2000
College: Nassau Community College, Garden City

Originally from Guayaquil, Ecuador, Rivera arrived in the United States in the middle of high school with no English. In two years, she not only learned the language, but also became a guide to other foreign-born students. In addition, she joined Students against Drunk Driving and participated on the volleyball, soccer and track teams.

"I never stayed quiet. I learned by speaking to people."

Click here to learn more about Rivera and the other notable grads from 2000.

Josephine Bonventre School: West Hempstead High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Josephine Bonventre
School: West Hempstead High School, class of 2000
College: Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pa.

Bonventre is a gifted viola player who also sings in her school's musical productions, but a summer at the New York City Bureau of Labs under a researcher from Harvard University Medical Center has convinced her that her future is in biology.

"Music and drama are just a hobby of mine. I'm more science-minded."

Click here to learn more about Bonventre and the other notable grads from 2000.

Todd Woodard School: Riverhead High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Todd Woodard
School: Riverhead High School, class of 2000
College: U.S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, Conn.

Woodard, the highest ranking student cadet in his Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps, has the distinction of being only the second graduate of his high school to be accepted by all three military academies be applied to -- the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, and his choice, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

"I accepted because I like the humanitarian aspect of it, things like the search and rescue missions the Coast Guard accomplishes."

Click here to learn more about Woodward and the other notable grads from 2000.

Tyrone Bennett School: Hempstead High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Bill Davis

Tyrone Bennett
School: Hempstead High School, class of 2000
College: Johnson and Wales University, Providence, R.I.

Cooking the Thanksgiving turkey at age 15 launched Bennett into a life of cooking. He has already made a name for himself by winning the Men's Cooking for a Change contest benefiting the Riverside Church Youth Ministry in Manhattan and a $12,000 college scholarship. The winning dish? Chicken chop suey.

Click here to learn more about Bennett and the other notable grads from 2000.

Julie Hartline School: Sewanhaka High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Bill Davis

Julie Hartline
School: Sewanhaka High School, class of 2000
College: University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Between varsity soccer, peer dispute mediating and volunteer work at the First Presbyterian Church soup kitchen, Hartline has been building toward a career in fashion illustration and design, with classes in marketing, a presence in the Future Business Leaders of America, and Saturdays spent at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Click here to learn more about Hartline and the other notable grads from 2000.

Jaime Navarro School: West Islip High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Jaime Navarro
School: West Islip High School, class of 2000
College: North American Institute of Aviation, Conway, S.C.

Although she is an honors student on land, Navarro truly excelled in the air, where she logged more than 70 hours of flight time during high school and hoped to join an increasing number of women who are becoming airline pilots.

"Flying always fascinated me. There's a certain thrill to it, you have a feeling of power and control. It's a wonderful, cool experience."

Click here to learn more about Navarro and the other notable grads from 2000.

Lawrence Hoffman School: Locust Valley High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday / Bill Davis

Lawrence Hoffman
School: Locust Valley High School, class of 2000
College: University of Notre Dame, Indiana

Hoffman can play the saxophone and build robots that shoot basketballs, but his crowning achievement is founding a community service club to help the less fortunate, sending costumes, candy and toothbrushes to children in Bolivia, sponsoring a Toys for Tots Christmas drive and collecting 100 bags of food for Thanksgiving dinners.

"We have clubs for everything else, and I thought there was a need for more ongoing community service in school."

Click here to learn more about Hoffman and the other notable grads from 2000.

Jason Hung School: Plainview Old-Bethpage John F. Kennedy
Photo Credit: Newsday/Tony Jerome

Jason Hung
School: Plainview Old-Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School, class of 2000
College: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Hung's successes in high school range from swimming on the varsity team to playing the cello and honors in academics, Spanish and mathematics, but his sights are set on a medical career, a path he prepared for by volunteering at the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System.

"My parents taught me to study hard and do my best."

Click here to learn more about Hung and the other notable grads from 2000.

Janine Cosentino School: Centereach High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Janine Cosentino
School: Centereach High School, class of 2000
College: Suffolk County Community College

Overcoming challenges are something Cosentino knows well. Born with spondyloepephyseal dysplasia, she is about 3-foot-4 but does not allow herself to be daunted, excelling in honors English though she was once told her partial hearing loss would make succeeding in the class difficult.


Click here to learn more about Cosentino and the other notable grads from 2000.

Kate Moore School: Glen Cove High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Kate Moore
School: Glen Cove High School, class of 2001
College: Princeton University, N.J.

Moore planned to put her interests in music, theater and courts to use by studying law at Princeton. Her time on her high school's mock trial team sparked her interest in law, "I liked standing up in the 'courtroom' and presenting evidence." (June 5, 2001)

Read more about Moore.

Arthur Williams School: Centereach High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Arthur Williams
School: Centereach High School, class of 2001
College: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Fla.

Williams always enjoyed tinkering with electronics, leading him to volunteer as a sound and lighting technician at his high school and to study sound and lighting engineering at Full Sail.

'You can stretch your wings in this field. Ever since I can remember, I wanted to work on live productions, things like rock performances or other big-time events.' (June 5, 2001)

Read more about Williams.

Justin Mayer School: Commack High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Justin Mayer
School: Commack High School, class of 2001
College: Hartwick College

It's easy to see why one of Mayer's favorite stage productions is "The Music Man" -- he's going to be one. At this point, it's a toss-up between a career as a children's music educator or as the person in the pit wielding the baton over a Broadway show's orchestra.

"Playing jazz is one of my prime enjoyments," said Mayer, "but I like rap, rock and virtually everything else that has a beat."

Read more about Mayer.

Jan Wohrle School: Locust Valley High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Jan Wohrle
School: Locust Valley High School, class 2001
College: University of Notre Dame, Indiana

Wohrle chose to express her pride in her country, as inspired by her father, a Vietnam veteran and Army Reserve colonel, by joining the ROTC program at Notre Dame, with dreams of being a military intelligence officer in the Army Reserves. (June 5, 2001)

Read more about Wohrle.

Lauren Mock School: Sachem High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Lauren Mock
School: Sachem High School, class of 2001
College: SUNY Cortland

Mock wanted to become a teacher. She also wanted to incorporate her lifelong passion for gymnastics and fitness and possibly coach the sport alongside her teaching career. (June 6, 2001)

Read more about Mock

Rictoria Brothers School: Bay Shore High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Rictoria Brothers
School: Bay Shore High School, class of 2001
College: Columbia University

Working on her high school newspaper inspired Brothers to study for journalism, and focus on becoming a reporter. She also enjoyed writing poems and short stories, but fantasized about being a television news anchor.

'I absolutely love writing. I'm looking forward to learning the skills and being a reporter someday.' (June 5, 2001)

Read more about Brothers.

Gordon Smith Jr. School: Southampton High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Gordon Smith Jr.
School: Southampton High School, class of 2001
College: Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, N.M.

As member of the Shinnecock nation from the Southampton reservation, Gorden always dreamed of going to college and being a leader in his community. He grew up seeing the drawings and art created by his grandparents. "Their influence helped me begin to enjoy and express myself in art," Gordon said. (June 5, 2001)

Read more about Smith Jr.

Keith Newerla School: Seaford High School class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Keith Newerla
School: Seaford High School class of 2001
College: Southwest State University

Though Keith has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair, he is extremely active in sports as a member of the Nassau County Kings wheelchair basketball team. He is also an instructor for the disabled at Ski Windham during the winter.

Read more about Newerla.

Kerry McCormack School: Holy Trinity Diocesan High School,
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Kerry McCormack
School: Holy Trinity Diocesan High School, class of 2001
College: Providence College, Rhode Island

Kerry has spent her life helping children with special needs and conditions, so picking an area to concentrate on in special education studies proved difficult. She taught herself American Sign Language at age 10 with the help of her parents, teachers at St. Francis de Sales School for the Deaf in Brooklyn. (June 6, 2001)

Read more about McCormack.

Mujeeb Khan School: New Hyde Park Memorial High
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Mujeeb Khan
School: New Hyde Park Memorial High School, class 2001
College: Physics major at Stony Brook University with independent Arabic studies at Columbia or New York University

One of Mujeeb's life dreams is to walk down a road in China talking to a farmer in Chinese, hearing his perspective on life. Mujeeb's interest in languages has followed him throughout his high school career where he studied Spanish, French, Italian and Chinese. He also plans to attend medical school and get a doctorate in physics.

"Learning different languages lets you understand the attitudes and cultures of other ways of life." (June 5, 2001)

Read more about Khan.

Anthony Fulco School: Connetquot High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday/David L. Pokress

Anthony Fulco
School: Connetquot High School, class of 2002

An 18-year-old from Bohemia, Anthony Fulco is smitten with acting. But he's more than just a dabbler. Fulco already has an impressive list of credits that go well beyond high school.

"It's never been a question of what I am going to do," he said. "It's been how am I going to get there?"

Read more about Fulco.

Lily Fleishman School: North Shore High School, class

Lily Fleishman
School: North Shore High School, class of 2002

When everyone in her junior class at North Shore High School began excitedly discussing college, Lily Fleishman just couldn't share their enthusiasm. Sure, college was in her future, but she thirsted to see people and places on the other side of the world. So she joined an international group of young people to work on "gap year" projects such as environmental rebuilding in Australia.

"There's college, and then a job, and traveling never happens."

Read more about Fleishman.

Lisa Kechijian School: Manhasset High School, class of

Lisa Kechijian
School: Manhasset High School, class of 2001

When Lisa Kechijian was wait-listed by Brown University in the spring of 2001, she was crestfallen. Even when the school offered her guaranteed admission for the following year, she initially believed it was an offer she could easily refuse. "I was mad at first," recalled the 2001 graduate of Manhasset High School. "I thought: What was I supposed to do for the year?" But she figured it out, with the help of a family friend. Kechijian, 19, spent much of the last year in Armenia, volunteering for a women's development organization.

"Now I know more of what I want to do, and I found out who I am. You have your whole life to go to school - this was my year. I may have started by doing it for Brown, but it turned out I did it for myself."

Read more about Kechijian.

Michelle Acevedo School: Northport High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday/David L. Pokress

Michelle Acevedo
School: Northport High School, class of 2002

The 19-year-old said a one-year hiatus from school will allow her to work full time and save money for college. Having worked in retail, which she enjoys, she is interviewing at stores like Old Navy, which will even help pay for college after a year's employment.

"I think about relaxing and spending more time with my family" and planning her next step, college-wise, she says. (May 28, 2002)

Read more about Acevedo.

Justin Lowe School: Northport High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday/David L. Pokress

Justin Lowe
School: Northport High School, class of 2002

This 17-year-old combines tremendous intellectual curiosity with research talents and an adventurous spirit. Even a full high school schedule couldn't offer Justin Lowe enough time to explore his greatest interests - biology and Russia - in depth, so it was inevitable that he would plan a gap year to do so.

"Writing a research paper isn't all that important. Talking and living with all these students from all over the world is," he said. "I'll bring patience and a broader view to college. I think I'll be ahead, not behind."

Read more about Lowe.

Daniel Hodgkinson School: West Babylon High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday/Tony Jerome

Daniel Hodgkinson
School: West Babylon High School, class of 2002
College: Berklee School of Music

It's quite a stretch from playing the tuba in the school marching band to spending brain-draining hours at the keyboard trying to create a movie score. But that's what Hodgkinson has on his agenda.

"I found out that I had a talent and a great like for writing music." (June 4, 2002)

Read more about Hodgkinson .

Name Jason Richardson School: Riverhead High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday/Tony Jerome

Name Jason Richardson
School: Riverhead High School, class of 2002
College: Dowling College

Richardson's career goals are disparate - becoming an actor or a lawyer - although they may be more alike than first impressions reveal. Richardson, tongue-in-cheek, says to become, say, a trial lawyer, "You often have to use all the skills of an actor." (June 4, 2002)

Read more about Richardson.

Mabel Jijon School: Uniondale High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday/Tony Jerome

Mabel Jijon
School: Uniondale High School, class of 2002
College: City College in Manhattan.

Many students can only imagine what a particular profession is like. Jijon got a firsthand sample of her prospective career in her sophomore year. A member of her school's eight-week shadow program, she spent two hours a day twice weekly shadowing a doctor at Stony Brook University Hospital.

"My goal is to help minorities, and I want to open a clinic for families, where needed, anywhere in New York City." (June 4, 2002)

Read more about Jijon.

Steven Marks School: Jericho High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday/Tony Jerome

Steven Marks
School: Jericho High School, class of 2002
College: Haverford College

Despite a visual-motor disability and partial hearing loss, Marks played double bass in the All-County Orchestra and became a top student at Jericho High School. He also enjoys golf and has traveled with his family to Arizona, the Canadian Northwest, Hawaii and Mexico. He is a member of the Science Olympiads and the National Honor Society.

"I learned that I had to work hard to get what I wanted, and I couldn't take the easy way out." (June 4, 2002)

Read more about Marks.

Katherine Mahland School: Harborfields High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday/Tony Jerome

Katherine Mahland
School: Harborfields High School, class of 2002
College: Centenary College

She began riding when she was 5 and has become a prize-winning equestrian. She has competed in such major events as the Hampton Classic horse show in Bridgehampton. On the local circuit, in 1998, she took home a trophy as junior high point rider at the Islip Horseman's Association competition.

"I'm hoping to someday have my own stable." (June 4, 2002)

Read more about Mahland.

Name Katy O'Leary School: Floral Park Memorial High
Photo Credit: Newsday/Tony Jerome

Name Katy O'Leary
School: Floral Park Memorial High School, class of 2002
College: Boston College

After O'Leary earns her degree in history, she plans to pursue a career in international studies and work as a political writer traveling around the globe for magazines and newspapers. At one time, however, she considered going into teaching, which she enjoys.

"I teach religion to second-graders at St. Gregory's R.C. Church in Bellerose," O'Leary said. "I also tutor some of the 10th- and 11th-graders [at her high school] in math and physics." (June 4, 2002)

Read more about O'Leary.

Name Christopher Jessamy School: Westbury High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday/Tony Jerome

Name Christopher Jessamy
School: Westbury High School, class of 2002
College: Georgia Southern University

Jessamy's interests in technology, math and science have led to his desire to go into computer engineering. "I want to work on new [computer] programs and make them more people-friendly," he said. "You never know; we're always making progress."

He also has played for Westbury High School's wrestling and football teams and has traveled to Italy and France with the school's Student Explorers Club and to Albany with fellow students to lobby for gun control. "I have no idea how I do so many of these activities," he said. (June 4, 2002)

Read more about Jessamy.

Christine Camacho School: Center Moriches High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday/Tony Jerome

Christine Camacho
School: Center Moriches High School, class of 2002
College: Suffolk County Community College

Camacho, who has always been intrigued by puzzles and riddles, said an uncle played a role in turning her interests toward scientific crime-solving. During summer vacations, she would often visit him in Virginia, where he was a police officer.

"I'm looking ahead, though, to the lab part of the job where an investigator has to come up with the right answers to clues using high-tech methods." (June 4, 2002)

Read more about Camacho.

Janine Conde School: Islip High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday/Tony Jerome

Janine Conde
School: Islip High School, class of 2002
College: Cornell University

One of Conde's dreams is to anchor a television news show or work as a TV reporter covering breaking stories. Broadcast journalism is the latest foray into journalism for Conde, who has been editor of the high school newspaper.

"I like the prospect of being able to inform people about what's taking place," (June 4, 2002)

Read more about Conde.

Walter Barrientos Jr. School: Amityville Memorial High School,
Photo Credit: Newsday/Tony Jerome

Walter Barrientos Jr.
School: Amityville Memorial High School, class of 2002
College: Baruch College

At 11, Barrientos arrived in the United States from Guatemala speaking no English. By his senior year of high school, he was listed on the honor roll, elected president of the Key Club and chosen for a research project with the State Science Technology Education Program.

"I like going places and having to manage various things at once." (June 4, 2002)

Read more about Barrientos Jr.

Aviyah Reem School: Solomon Schechter High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday/David L. Pokress

Aviyah Reem
School: Solomon Schechter High School, class of 2002

Aviyah Reem possesses more strength and conviction than many who are twice her size. Although born and raised in the United States, Reem's parents emigrated from Israel, where she has many close relatives living. As a result, she is knowledgeable and passionate about Israeli culture and has resolved that despite the current violence and danger, she will spend her gap year in Israel.

"I want to experience a more extensive side of volunteering." (May 23, 2002)

Read more about Reem

Heng
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Heng "Amanda" Du
School: Hicksville High School, class of 2003
College: Cornell University

Heng, who goes by Amanda, began her freshman year at Hicksville after moving from China at age 14. Her determination to learn English translated to other subjects and she enrolled in honors and Advanced Placement Courses. She planned to study architecture in Cornell's five-year architectural research program. "I have broad interests, and architecture will combine my interests in art, science and social studies. Designing museums would be cool." (June 5, 2003)


Read more about Du.

Amber Ruest School: East Islip High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Amber Ruest
School: East Islip High School, class of 2003
College: Villanova University

Although she was interested in journalism, becoming a doctor was Amber's No. 1 goal. "I wanted to be a doctor since I was 4," she said, and planned to study biology to accomplish that childhood dream. (June 5, 2003)


Read more about Ruest.

Julie Miller School: Ward Melville High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Julie Miller
School: Ward Melville High School, class of 2003
College: Georgetown University and Washington School of Ballet

Julie planned to study toward becoming a pediatric orthopedist and follow her dream of being a professional ballet performer. But she was prepared pause her academics if necessary. "With dance you can pursue it first, but you have to keep academics on the side," said Miller. "You never know what dance is going to throw at you." (June 5, 2003)


Read more about Miller.

Andrew Rosen School: Eastern Suffolk BOCES Brookhaven
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Andrew Rosen
School: Eastern Suffolk BOCES Brookhaven Technical and Academic Center, class of 2003
College: Suffolk Community College

Early in his life, Andrew was diagnosed with the form of autism known as Asperger's Syndrome, but pushed through any difficulties that faced him. He was president of his local National Honor Society chapter and was a member of the New York State Council on Leadership and Student Activities. Upon graduation, he was still undecided about his major and career path, but enjoyed math and video games. (June 5, 2003)


Read more about Rosen.

Kevin Causey School: Malverne High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Kevin Causey
School: Malverne High School, class of 2003
College: Bethume Cookman College or Savannah State University to study social work and pediatric psychology

Kevin was the first in his family to go to college, and grew into a confident, active class member after a tough, insecure childhood. Elected vice president of the senior class, he played football and lacrosse and dressed up as Santa Claus for holiday fundraisers. 'Being around positive people, and the strong contrast to my mother, whose life was ruined because of drugs, I know what things not to do. ' (June 5, 2003)


Read more about Causey.

Michele Puckett School: Glen Cove High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Michele Puckett
School: Glen Cove High School, class of 2003
College: The Brooks Institute of Photography

Michele planned to go into the audio recording and technology field like her late father, who died in the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. But she shifted to TV after taking a class in her school's television studio. "Whenever I'm not in class, you can find me in the TV studio behind the camera," she said. (June 5, 2003)


Read more about Puckett.

Katie Bonacorsa School: Commack High School College: U.S.
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Katie Bonacorsa
School: Commack High School
College: U.S. Marine Corps.

After her finding her mother's body in their home after she had taken her own life, Katie came out stronger and more directed on what she wanted to do with her life. She focused on becoming a Marine, preparing for boot camp and put together a tough fitness regimen. 'When I put my mind to something, there's no stopping me.' (June 5, 2003)


Read more about Bonacorsa.

Louis Aragonas School: Westbury High School, Western Suffolk
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Louis Aragonas
School: Westbury High School, Western Suffolk BOCES Aviation Facility at Republic Airport, class of 2003
College: Temple University

Moving to Westbury from the Dominican Republic after the third grade, Louis always had dreams of becoming a pilot. After logging more than 400 flight hours and going on more than 100 solo flights, he received his solo private license from the Federal Aviation Administration. "It's always been in my head since I was a little kid to pursue flying," he said. "And I've done it." He planned to study computer science to further his aviation studies.


Read more about Aragonas.

Won-Jin Jo School: Lawrence Woodmere Academy, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Won-Jin Jo
School: Lawrence Woodmere Academy, class of 2003
College: Harvard University

Gifted musician, Won-Jin played the clarinet with the New York Philharmonic and at the Kennedy Center. He also excelled academically, and planned on double majoring in music and psychology at Harvard.


Read more about Jo.

Harry Desforges School: Brentwood High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Harry Desforges
School: Brentwood High School, class of 2003
College: Stony Brook University

Harry moved from Haiti in 1999 to first live with his sister in Florida and then his dad in Brentwood. He planned to study health-care curriculum to become a nurse or social worker because wants to reach out to his community. 'It's a good thing to give back to the place where you live. There's much here that has to be shared by everyone.'


Read more about Desforges.

Kevin Chung School: W.T Clarke High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Kevin Chung
School: W.T Clarke High School, class of 2004
College: St. John's University

Kevin Chung moved to the Portuguese colony of Macao with his family and moved back to Westbury in 2000. He went to W.T. Clarke High School despite his weak English, but took English as a Second Language classes to eventually overcome the language barrier. He planned to attend St. John's University and enroll in the pharmaceutical program.


Read more about Chung

Jessica Fisher School: George W. Hewlett High School
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Jessica Fisher
School: George W. Hewlett High School class of 2004
College: University of Pennsylvania

Jessica was an award-winning high school journalist, and hoped to continue her reporting and writing success into a career as a financial journalist after studying economics at the University of Pennsylvania. Jessica was also vice president of her school's Future Business Leaders of America and captain and scholar-athlete award recipient on the varsity tennis team. (June 8, 2004)



Read more about Fisher.

Reed Magleby School: Half Hollow Hills High School
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Reed Magleby
School: Half Hollow Hills High School West, class of 2004
College: Cornell University

Reed Magleby planned to attend Cornell University to study biology or pre-med. The summer before his senior year he did a research project on protein and genetic cell structure which he submitted to the Intel Science Talent Search competition. "I didn't win but I learned so much in the six weeks I worked in the lab that it was very valuable for me." (June 8, 2004)


Read more about Magleby.

Susan Weber School: Islip High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Susan Weber
School: Islip High School, class of 2004
College: University of Georgia

Susan Weber was Islip High School's soccer star and planned to attend the University of Georgia on a full soccer scholarship. While intending to study education, she hoped to play soccer after college on a professional team. (June 8, 2004)




Read more about Weber.

Amelia Carito School: Longwood High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday/Tony Jerome

Amelia Carito
School: Longwood High School, class of 2004
College: Randolph- Macon Woman's College

Amelia Carito wanted to work in the news industry after studying journalism at Randolph-Macon Woman's College. Amelia was awarded with a scholar-athlete award after playing on her school's varsity volleyball team. (June 8, 2004)




Read more about Carito.

Joanne Romain School: Malverne High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Joanne Romain
School: Malverne High School, class of 2004
College: New York Institute of Technology

Joanne Romain was on track to becoming a registered nurse after volunteering as a candy striper at Franklin Hospital Medical Center, and taking a medical assistance course at Westbury BOCES. She planned to attend New York Institute of Technology. (June 8, 2004)


Read more about Romain.

Stephanie Roehrig School: Riverhead High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Stephanie Roehrig
School: Riverhead High School, class of 2004
College: Concordia University

Since she was "a little kid," Stephanie Roehrig has been involved in her church, and it was no surprise when she wanted to major in theology and minor in parish music at Concordia University. Stephanie expressed that getting involved in missionary work during her college years would be "an awesome thing to do." (June 8, 2004)



Read more about Roehrig.

Johnathan Herrera School: Locust Valley High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Johnathan Herrera
School: Locust Valley High School, class of 2004
College: CUNY City College

A Cali, Colombia, native, Jonathan Herrera moved to Astoria at age 2 and attended W.C. Bryan High School before transferring to Locust Valley in 2003.

Jonathan is thankful for his opportunities on Long Island. "In Cali, there is a poor economy and poor educational opportunities for young people," he said. "There's almost no opportunity for employment [in your chosen field] when you get out of college. There are too many people for the jobs. You don't really work at what you studied, just what you can find. Also, I wouldn't have been able to go to college if I stayed there."

Jonathan planned to study mechanical engineering at CUNY City College to pursue his dream of designing electric cars and building new car engines. (June 8, 2004)




Read more about Herrera.

Jason Pellegrino School: Manhasset High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Jason Pellegrino
School: Manhasset High School, class of 2004
College: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Since he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in his freshman year, Jason Pellegrino shifted his biological research toward diabetes and finding a cure. He entered his project into the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and won a total of $2,500 from different awards. Jason planned to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and possibly study toward becoming a biomedical engineer. (June 8, 2004)


Read more about Pellegrino.

Benjamin Gammerman School: Harborfields High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Benjamin Gammerman
School: Harborfields High School, class of 2004
College: New York University

Already an accomplished playwright and composer, Benjamin Gammerman of Harborfields High School planned to attend New York University as a music and composition major.

Benjamin took his father's advice to heart: "He said, 'Do it all,' so I guess I will." (June 8, 2004)

Read more about Gammerman.

Kimberly Sansone School: Our Savior New American School,
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Kimberly Sansone
School: Our Savior New American School, class of 2004
College: Palm Beach Atlantic University

Sansone likes to help people; she's visited orphanages in Russia and a small, impoverished Mexican village. She said the trips were eye-openers: "I realized how much we have and how little they have, yet the children were always smiling and cheerful." Sansone is channeling her compassion toward nursing studies. (June 14, 2005)

Read more about Sansone.

Edna Bragin School: Half Hollow Hills High School,
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Edna Bragin
School: Half Hollow Hills High School, class of 2005
College: Hofstra University

Bragin came to Long Island from the Philippines when she was a baby. In school, she didn't let Tourette's syndrome and learning disabilities stand in her way. She was a cheerleader, volunteered often and worked for the Special Olympics and Games for the Physically Challenged. When working with children in special ed, "they see how I overcome my obstacles, and it motivates them." (June 10, 2005)


Read more about Bragin.

Alan Goldberg School: Hewlett High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Alan Goldberg
School: Hewlett High School, class of 2005
College: Muhlenberg College

Goldberg treats cerebral palsy as if it were just any other obstacle in life, and he overcomes it every day. Passionate about music, he played in his high school's jazz, pep and marching bands. He feels that sports management is his career calling, and he hopes to one day be the general manager of a baseball and hockey team. (June 9, 2005)


Read more about Goldberg.

Sonia Sethi School: West Hempstead High School class
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Sonia Sethi
School: West Hempstead High School class of 2005
College: Barnard College

Sethi has led many things: She was president of Key Club, organizer of fundraisers for March of Dimes and the American Cancer Society, editor of the school newspaper, and creator of a math-tutoring program for her middle school when she was just in eighth grade. Intending to study neuroscience and English, Sethi also has hopes to go to medical school and conduct medical research. (June 9, 2005)

Read more about Sethi.

Shawn Billerman School: Farmingdale High School College: Cornell
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Shawn Billerman
School: Farmingdale High School
College: Cornell University

Billerman never shied away from challenges, especially a degenerative condition that caused his spine to curve. Excelling in science, he won multiple science competitions, and is studying biological sciences at Cornell. "Everything I do requires a lot of work. I just know things are going to be hard, but I always want to do them. I feel it needs to be done." (June 9, 2005)


Read more about Billerman.

James Rooney III School: Chaminade High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

James Rooney III
School: Chaminade High School, class of 2005
College: West Point Prep School

The death of former NFL player Pat Tillman in Afghanistan inspired Rooeny to enlist in the Army. Also offered a scholarship to the U.S. Naval Academy, Rooney chose the Army because he was given the opportunity to continue playing lacrosse, which he played on varsity at Chaminade, in a summer tournament at West Point. (June 9, 2005)


Read more about Rooney III.

Shelley Ourian School: Jericho High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Shelley Ourian
School: Jericho High School, class of 2005
College: New York Institute of Technology and Suffolk Community College

Diagnosed with autism at an early age, Ourian overcame her "different ability" to grow into a smart and confident young woman. With a natural aptitude to performing, she won lead roles in her school shows, and is pursuing those talents in her higher education and studying dance, drama and music. (June 9, 2005)

"I do my best wherever I am."

Read more about Ourian.

David Schreiber School: North Shore High School, class
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David Schreiber
School: North Shore High School, class of 2005
College: Muhlenberg College

Schreiber excelled in tennis and saxophone; he also worked well with his peers and was elected class president in high school. Unsure of what he wanted to study and pursue as a career, David hoped to continue playing the sax and tennis while he decided. (June 9, 2005)

Read more about Schreiber.

Pedro Carreno School: Long Beach High School, class
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Pedro Carreno
School: Long Beach High School, class of 2005
College: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Carreno moved to New Jersey from Colombia when he was 2. He intends on studying political science in college and to eventually return to Colombia to be active in politics there. "There is so much corruption going on, and I feel I might have the ability ... to possibly make a difference for the better." A driven student, Pedro challenged himself and took as much advanced classes as possible, giving up his lunch period to take an extra course. (June 9, 2005)

Read more about Carreno.

Caprice Johnson School: Comsewogue High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Caprice Johnson
School: Comsewogue High School, class of 2005
College: SUNY Plattsburgh

Johnson took the devastation of her sister's death in her freshman year of high school and channeled it into becoming a stronger person. An soup-kitchen volunteer, she was also active on track, in choir and the National and Spanish honor societies. A preschool teacher at Brookhaven BOCES Early Childhood Education Program, Caprice intended to study education to become a teacher. (June 9, 2005)

"I want to let the children know they could do something with their lives," she said. "I want to be a part of their lives and give them insight."

Read more about Johnson.

Shogofa Rasekh School: Central Islip High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday / Bill Davis

Shogofa Rasekh
School: Central Islip High School, class of 2005



A 6-year-old Rasekh and her family left Kabul, Afghanistan as mujahadeen factions battled for control of the country and would spend much of the following decade unable to do the one thing she really wanted to do: get an education. But in August 2001 the Rasekhs arrived in the United States as refugees, and almost four years later she has made another journey, this one typically American: from wide-eyed high school freshman to would-be college sophisticate. (May 31, 2005)

On graduating: ""It's an awesome feeling. It's something that I really wanted to do."

Colin Dweir School: BOCES Cultural Center for the
Photo Credit: Newsday / David L. Pokress

Colin Dweir
School: BOCES Cultural Center for the Performing Arts, class of 2006
College: Carnegie Mellon University

A Renaissance man in the making, Dweir acts, paints, draws, writes, composes, sings and plays cello and piano.

"Even if I have to dig ditches for the rest of my life," he says with a dreamy glint in his eye. "I'll be a ditchdigger who had a wonderful day." (June 1, 2006)

Read more about Dweir.

Kristen Hildebrand School: East Meadow High School, class
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Kristen Hildebrand
School: East Meadow High School, class of 2006
College: John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Hildebrand was born completely deaf. Through language and speech therapy, she learned to talk with sufficient proficiency to attend school with hearing students. She speaks to her deaf grandparents using American Sign Language, but doesn't use it for school.

"I used to watch that ['CSI'], but as I started to study forensics, I realized it's nothing like that." (June 6, 2006)

Read more about Hildebrand.

Alterrell Mills Jr. School: Long Beach High School,
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Alterrell Mills Jr.
School: Long Beach High School, class of 2006
College: Harvard University

Mills Jr. decided he wanted better than the gangs and violence he saw growing up in Freeport. "If the environment had not changed, I realized that I had to be the one to do something about it in order to have a better life."

"I just like to find out how things work and how it relates to real life." (June 2006)

Read more about Mills Jr.

Heidi Bonilla School: Freeport High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Heidi Bonilla
School: Freeport High School, class of 2006
College: Columbia University

Bonilla was named a Gates Millennium Scholar under a grant from Bill and Melinda Gates for high achievers from low-income minority families. She has a $42,000 scholarship from Columbia University, where the full cost is $47,000 a year.

"I realized that community involvement was extremely important. I grew up in a poor household, and my family only had enough to afford food and shelter. I was not indulged with expensive clothes or family vacations. ... As I matured, I realized that I wanted to help those around me." (June 6, 2006)

Read more about Bonilla.

Michael Powers School: Massapequa High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Michael Powers
School: Massapequa High School, class of 2006
College: Johns Hopkins University

Powers has a winning attitude. Captain of the varsity football team and captain of the varsity lacrosse team, he's the guy everyone dreams to be. A popular student-athlete, Powers is said to have the heart of a champion.

"It [having cancer] totally changed my life," Powers said. "It made me realize that every day is special and that something or anything can happen at any time. I became a better person because of it."

Read more about Powers.

Kelsey Leonard School: The Knox School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Kelsey Leonard
School: The Knox School, class of 2006
College: Harvard University

It may seem like a long journey from the Southampton Shinnecock Reservation to Harvard, but not to Kelsey Leonard. At 17, she already had traveled much of the world.

"I'm very involved with my tribe." (June 6, 2006)

Read more about Leonard.

Amanda Lee School: East Hampton High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Amanda Lee
School: East Hampton High School, class of 2006
College: Stony Brook University

Five days into the school year, Lee experienced numbness in her arms and legs. "I thought I was just tired, but then I couldn't raise my head," she says. At New York University Medical Center, she was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, disease that affects the autoimmune system and can cause paralysis. Lee found herself unable to walk, brush her teeth or write without assistance. After four months in the hospital, struggling to regain basic functions, she was able to return home and to school in a wheelchair.

"All the girls in my school were rooting for me." she says. (June 6, 2006)

Read more about Lee.

Edward Wu School: Walt Whitman High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Edward Wu
School: Walt Whitman High School, class of 2006
College: Indiana University

Since launching Wustock when he was in eighth grade, Wu has raised thousands of dollars for various charities.

"It developed as this amazing thing where I can play my music and benefit the community." (June 6, 2006)

Read more about Wu.

Christopher Hayden School: Chaminade High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Christopher Hayden
School: Chaminade High School, class of 2006
College: College of the Holy Cross

Christopher Hayden was born with no right arm and a left arm with no elbow and only three fingers, but that hasn't kept him off the crew team. Hayden was a coxswain on the team for four years.

"I'm the coach inside the boat," Hayden said. "They [rowers] do the brute work, and I steer and make different calls." (June 6, 2006)

Read more about Hayden.

Kathleen McDonald School: Southold Junior-Senior High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tony Jerome

Kathleen McDonald
School: Southold Junior-Senior High School, class of 2006
College: U.S. Naval Academy

Kathleen McDonald gives her all in everything she does. She is the first female student in the school's history to be accepted to the U.S. Naval Academy and the only student from the school district to receive appointments to the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

"It was amazing to play with guys and against guys," McDonald said. "Comparing my physical ability against guys made me try even harder to keep up."(June 6, 2006)

Read more about McDonald.

Vijay Jain School: Herricks High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Vijay Jain
School: Herricks High School, class of 2007
College: Harvard University

As a fourth-place winner in the national Siemens Competition, Vijay also represented the United States in a science exhibition held in Hong Kong.

"My dream is to be a biomedical engineer. ... I want to make a difference in [people's] lives." (May 29, 2007)

Read more about Jain.

Sean Zerillo School: Portledge High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday/Tony Jerome

Sean Zerillo
School: Portledge High School, class of 2007
College: University of Miami

A man of sports and letters, Zerillo earned varsity letters in ice hockey, lacrosse and baseball while also editing the school paper.

"I plan to enjoy college, work hard, eventually go to law school and pursue my career in sports management." (June 6, 2007)

Read more about Zerillo.

Samuel Breidbart School: Syosset High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Samuel Breidbart
School: Syosset High School, class of 2007
College: Yale University

When he was 17, Breidbart partially solved a centuries-old mystery that has baffled preservationists since the days of Leonardo da Vinci.

"At Yale I want to continue to synthesize my areas of interest: art history, philosophy, chemistry, literature, economics and French." (May 29, 2007)

Read more about Breidbart.

Alexandra Ortega School: Lynbrook High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Alexandra Ortega
School: Lynbrook High School, class of 2007
College: Harvard University

Six days a week of ballet training didn't stop Ortega, who grew up in a single-parent home, from becoming a Gates Millenium Scholar.

"I'm considering medical school after college." (May 29, 2007)

Read more about Ortega.

Jeff Josma School: Uniondale High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Jeff Josma
School: Uniondale High School, class of 2007
College: Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education at City College of Manhattan

A scholar-athlete, Josma was among the 70 of the 600 applicants chosen for Sophie Davis' program to produce medical professionals from underrepresented minority groups.

"I told [the interviewers] I have a deep passion for medicine, and that if I got into their program or not that it wouldn't stop me from becoming a doctor." (May 31, 2007)

Read more about Josma.

Ernest Pierre-Louis School: Uniondale High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Ernest Pierre-Louis
School: Uniondale High School, class of 2007
College: Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education at City College of Manhattan

An immigrant from Haiti, Pierre-Louis' love of athletics and his admiration of his pediatrician put him on a path to becoming a doctor in Haiti.

"[My pediatrician] was a person that you could always count on." (May 31, 2007)

Read more about Pierre-Louis.

Diana Sierra School: Northport High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Diana Sierra
School: Northport High School, class of 2007
College: CUNY

Sierra's 99.15 grade point average and work with Long Island's immigrant community won her a full scholarship to the City University of City College, where she intended to study international relations.

"I'd like to join the Peace Corps and just be involved, whether I'm working for the UN or going back to Colombia." (May 29, 2007)

Read more about Sierra.

Anthony DeMarinis School: Manhasset High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Anthony DeMarinis
School: Manhasset High School, class of 2007
College: Curry College

While his classmates were spending money, DeMarinis founded an on-campus business that raised $60,000 for charity and taught autistic students retail skills, all while he volunteered with the local vet.

"I'm going to be a veterinarian, but I may go back to school and also become a teacher of autistic children." (May 29, 2007)

Read more about DeMarinis.

Jackie Delligatti School: Hicksville High School class of
Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Jackie Delligatti
School: Hicksville High School class of 2007
College: Yale University

Student government president, Delligatti was one of two students selected statewide for the U.S. Senate Youth Program.

"After college, I hope ... to work for a bureaucratic agency, like a nonprofit that helps other people. I would like to go to law school." (May 29, 2007)

Read more about Delligatti.

Kate Dacimo School: Greenport High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday/Tony Jerome

Kate Dacimo
School: Greenport High School, class of 2007
College: Coast Guard Academy

Two factors led Dacimo to seek admission to the Coast Guard Academy: a childhood at a marina in New London, Conn., constantly surrounded by boats and water, and her dream to serve her country.

"I hope to get a degree in mechanical engineering and become a rescue helicopter pilot." (May 2007)

Read more about Dacimo.

Christopher Kchao School: W. Tresper Clarke High School,
Photo Credit: Newsday/Tony Jerome

Christopher Kchao
School: W. Tresper Clarke High School, class of 2007
College: Hunter College

Born totally blind, Kchao didn't let his physical disability get in his way. He found an outlet in music with talents as a drummer and baritone vocalist, and used his computer skills to translate print into Braille.

"In the future I can be influential to younger blind individuals because my accomplishments show that nobody needs to take no for an answer, or to settle for mediocrity." (May 2007)

Read more about Kchao.

Brandyn Chamberlain School: Uniondale High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Brandyn Chamberlain
School: Uniondale High School, class of 2007
College: Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education

Chamberlain, a talented violist, pushed himself harder academically after his grandmother and sister died within months of each other. He dedicated his acceptance to Sophie Davis in their memory.

"To know that there's someone who had the same goals and actually reached them was quite and inspiration," Brandyn said of his idol, Dr. Ben Carson. (May 31, 2007)

Read more about Chamberlain.

Julie Mastrella School: Floral Park High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Julie Mastrella
School: Floral Park High School, class of 2007
College: University of Delaware

Mastrella raised money to buy backpacks for Hurricane Katrina children, and she also held a hug-a-thon to raise more than $6,000 in memory of two fellow students.

"I want to ... become fluent in sign language so I can help kids who are born deaf." (May 29, 2007)

Read more about Mastrella.

Shirley Micourt School: Uniondale High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Shirley Micourt
School: Uniondale High School, class of 2007
College: Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education

Micourt, originally from Haiti, played flute in her high school's band and was among the 70 to 80 students from more than 600 applicants chosen for acceptance to Sophie Davis in 2007.

"Lots of screaming" was her reaction to gaining acceptance to the CUNY medical school program. (May 31, 2007)

Read more about Micourt.

Brittany Dewey School: Eastport-South Manor High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Brittany Dewey
School: Eastport-South Manor High School, class of 2007
College: Elon University

Dewey continued dancing through her scoliosis diagnosis at age 12, and successfully balanced her condition, recovering from spine surgery, to be part of a dance team, take honors and Advanced Placement courses and be a student council member.

"'m leaning toward a career in either journalism or broadcast communication. And I want to audition for the dance team."(May 29, 2007)

Read more about Dewey.

Brittany Gimple School: Rocky Point High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday/Karen Wiles Stabile

Brittany Gimple
School: Rocky Point High School, class of 2007
College: Barnard College

Salutatorian and "educator's dream," Gimple had the idea as a fourth-grader to hold a read-a-thon to raise money for the children of Madagascar. Every year since the school district has continued the read-a-thon with Gimple's help.

"I've never thought of myself as different. I like to get good grades because of the achievement," Gimple humbly said of her accomplishments. "I'm not naturally incredibly smart." (May 30, 2007)

Read more about Gimple.

Samantha Williams School: Walt Whitman High School, class
Photo Credit: Bill Davis

Samantha Williams
School: Walt Whitman High School, class of 2008
College: New York University

Williams sold more than $100,000 worth of pearl, crystal, and sterling silver bracelets for Circle of Hope Bracelets, a nonprofit that aids in cancer research.

Read more about Williams.

Joseph Rozenshtein School: Syosset High School, class of
Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Joseph Rozenshtein
School: Syosset High School, class of 2008
College: Columbia University

Rozenshtein takes pride in his math research, but would rather be recognized for his success and talents as a debater. He led his debate team to awards at Princeton, Harvard and other major colleges, and was listed in the nation's top 60 extemporaneous speakers.

Read more about Joseph Rozenshtein here.

Lauren Koenig School: Solomon Schechter High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Lauren Koenig
School: Solomon Schechter High School, class of 2008
College: Vanderbilt University

An accomplished filmmaker, photographer and pianist, Koenig might add lawyer to that list: she plans on law school after she earsn a degree in political science.

'I got a lot out of high school by participating in after-school activities and competitions.' (June 9, 2008)

Read more about Laura here.

Emily Keenan School: Sanford H. Calhoun High School,
Photo Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

Emily Keenan
School: Sanford H. Calhoun High School, class of 2008
College: Mount St. Mary's University

A congenital amputee whose right arm ends below the elbow, Keenan says the worst part about having her left hand in a cast was not the challenge of completing everyday tasks with four fingers, but her inability to be on the track team. She practiced hard when she was cleared to return to the sport, earning the Nassau County Track Coaches Association award for "most changed athlete" in 2008.

'I think [the "Definite Dozen" Award for exemplifying respect] is the accomplishment that means the most to me.' (June 13, 2008)

Click here to learn more about Emily.

Charles Guevarra School: Hempstead High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

Charles Guevarra
School: Hempstead High School, class of 2008
College: Norwich University

Guevarra, a Philippine native, graduated seventh in his class. Childhood bullying made him stronger and propelled him into the world of Marine Corps Junior ROTC. "When i got into JROTC I changed into a more positive person."

'The school district really helped me a lot. ... Being here gave me a lot of encouragement and taught me how to protect myself.' (June 4, 2008)

Learn more about Charles here.

Eric Glasser School: Port Washington High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday / Julia Gaines

Eric Glasser
School: Port Washington High School, class of 2008
College: Vanderbilt University

Glasser, who was born legally blind, became an Intel semifinalist and and graduated with a 4.06 GPA He took photographs for his school's yearbook and student newspaper.

'[The impaired vision]'s just something that I've dealt with since I was a child. I don't let myself get upset by obstacles.' (June 7, 2008)

Read more about Glasser.

Alana Fogel School: Wantagh High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Robert Mecea

Alana Fogel
School: Wantagh High School, class of 2008
College: Philadelphia University

Fogel collected more than 200 dresses for needy teens as part of the nonprofit organization Becky's Closet after learning of the young founder's death. She then launched the Long Island chapter, only one of seven active in New York.

'It broke my heart to hear that someone so good could die so suddenly. ... Having an interest in [fashion], I was the perfect person to help.' (June 9, 2008)

Read more about Fogel and her Becky's Closet work.

Patrick Flanagan School: Babylon High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Daniel Goodrich

Patrick Flanagan
School: Babylon High School, class of 2008
College: Wagner College

Patrick wrote and produced a musical entitled "Roses in the Fall" for his high school, and let his "philosophical insight, wit and humor" show in the play.

Flanagan says he has 'a passion for writing plays.' (June 5, 2008)

Read more about Flanagan from the 2008 story.

Krista J. McEwan School: Roosevelt High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday / Robert Mecea

Krista J. McEwan
School: Roosevelt High School, class of 2008
College: Boston University

McEwan earned the title of valedictorian through hard work, getting involved in extra-curricular activities and pushing through hard circumstances.

'And so I confess my secret to you and I hope to one day share yet another secret with my patients in a Park Avenue office ... "I am Dr. McEwan, a beautiful black medical professional." ' (June 5, 2008)

Read more about McEwan here.

Willi Rachler School: Jericho High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Willi Rachler
School: Jericho High School, class of 2008
College: Yale University

Rachler's trip to Cambodia and seeing genocide's effects firsthand motivated her to petition for inclusion of a genocide studies course at her high school.

'I went there with an open mind. What I learned in Cambodia changed me. I have a different perspective on the world.' (June 5, 2008)

Read more about Rachler.

Justin Resnick School: Jericho High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Justin Resnick
School: Jericho High School, class of 2008
College: Emory University

Resnick organized a charity basketball game that raised more than $100,000 in it's first year for Ascent: A School for Individuals with Autism.

'I literally don't think I spoke the entire time that I was [visiting Ascent]. It was unbelievable. After that, I was like, 'This is what we have to raise money for.' It was obvious.' (June 5, 2008)

Read more about Resnick.

Rachel Lorinta School: Jericho High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Rachel Lorinta
School: Jericho High School, class of 2008
College: University of Delaware

Lorinta helped establish a $15,000 scholarship in the name of her high school swimming coach after the coach's death. (June 5, 2008)

Read more about Lorinta.

Jennifer Zwilling School: Jericho High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Jennifer Zwilling
School: Jericho High School, class of 2008
College: Duke University

Zwilling did not want to hide her Tourette syndrome, instead using it as a tool for teaching by putting a video on the Web. (June 9, 2008)

Read more about Zwilling.

Spencer Stier and Lauren Tiffen School: Jericho High
Photo Credit: Handout

Spencer Stier and Lauren Tiffen
School: Jericho High School, class of 2009

Together they have raised $15,000 for breast cancer research and awareness. The charity, Candy 4 a Cure, was developed in honor of their loved ones who have battled the disease. (May 29, 2007)


Read more about Stier and Tiffen.

Haixiang
Photo Credit: Handout

Haixiang "Belle" Peng, left, and Katerina Jeng
School: Jericho High School, class of 2009

The classical violinists put together a successful benefit concert for the victims of China's earthquake last year. Despite initial opposition from school administrators, Belle and Katerina raised more than $6,000. (May 29, 2009)

Read more about Peng and Jeng.

David Leon, left, and Gael Lamothe School:Commack High
Photo Credit: Daniel Goodrich

David Leon, left, and Gael Lamothe
School:Commack High School, class of 2009
College: College of New Jersey and Suffolk County Community College


The cousins emigrated from Haiti to Commack to escape dangerous living conditions, including frequent ambushes and kidnappings. Now they are well-adjusted to the new surroundings and prepared for college life. (June 12, 2009)


Read more about Leon and Lamothe.

Alex Jordan Rosenblum School: Hewlett High School, class
Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Alex Jordan Rosenblum
School: Hewlett High School, class of 2009
College: Lehigh University

After the death of both parents, Rosenblum became greatly involved in Rock and Wrap It. The charity collects unused food from concerts, and redistributes it to the homeless. (June 12, 2009)

Read more about Rosenblum.

Robin Kornstein School: Island Trees High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Robin Kornstein
School: Island Trees High School, class of 2009
College: St. John's University

Kornstein, an incredibly well-rounded student, participates in several environmental and fundraising efforts. The yoga lover organized a children's safety event at North Shore University Hospital, that instructed 200 teens to teach swimming, and bike and fire safety at their schools.
(June 3, 2009)

Read more about Kornstein.

Shalini Pammal School: Commack High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

Shalini Pammal
School: Commack High School, class of 2009
College: Harvard University

The Siemens competition semifinalist has done advanced scientific research on infectious diseases, specifically tuberculosis. The young scientist was also editor in chief of the high school newspaper, and regular volunteer at Huntington Hospital. (June 2009)

Read more about Pammal.

Alex Olinkiewicz School: Shelter Island High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

Alex Olinkiewicz
School: Shelter Island High School, class of 2009

Olinkiewicz's animated video "In My Mind" has reached more than 1 million views on YouTube. It tells his story of living with Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism that affects social interactions. (June 12, 2009)


Read more about Olinkiewicz.

Thomas King School: Comsewogue High School, class of
Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Thomas King
School: Comsewogue High School, class of 2009
College: Suffolk County Community College

King refuses to let stuttering hinder his theater dreams. The self-proclaimed Broadway buff has appeared in several school productions, such as "Fiddler on the Roof," and he is a member of Our Time Theater Company, a group specifically for teens who stutter. (June 3, 2009)

Read more about King.

Dominic Giuliano School: Bethpage High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

Dominic Giuliano
School: Bethpage High School, class of 2009
College: Alfred State College

While his friends were outside playing, Giuliano was studying with tutors after school and on the weekends to get out of special education classes. He was able to join a conventional classroom for the first time in 10th grade, and rescues stray animals in his spare time. (June 12, 2009)


Read more about Giuliano.

Mary Furlong School: South Side High School, class
Photo Credit: Joel Cairo

Mary Furlong
School: South Side High School, class of 2009
College: Fordham University

Although she has a prosthetic leg and titanium knee, Mary Furlong does not accept the label "handicapped." She plays a variety of sports, and recently studied the psychological effects of losing limbs by surveying 50 local amputees in the Intel Science Talent Search project. (June 4, 2009)


Read more about Furlong.

Cristell Fortune School: North Babylon High School, class
Photo Credit: Michael E. Ach

Cristell Fortune
School: North Babylon High School, class of 2009
College: New York University

Fortune was forced to flee Haiti due to increasing civil unrest. At first she did not speak English, but soon became an Advanced Placement literature student, National Honor Society member, and graduated in the top 12 percent of her class. (June 3, 2009)


Read more about Fortune.

Rebecca Corea School: Patchogue-Medford High School, class of
Photo Credit: Daniel Goodrich

Rebecca Corea
School: Patchogue-Medford High School, class of 2009
College: Suffolk County Community College

She goes to school, works and pays her own bills. Rebecca and her four siblings were left to take care of themselves after the death of their mother left with no money or adult supervision. She is now an independent woman with plans of becoming a nurse. (June 12, 2009)


Read more about Corea.

Christina Cimino School: Northport High School, class of
Photo Credit: Joel Cairo

Christina Cimino
School: Northport High School, class of 2009
College: Suffolk County Community College

Diagnosed with achondroplasia dwarfism at birth, Cimino is now the teen coordinator for Little People of America's Long Island Chapter. She also tutors special-needs preschoolers and teens. (June 10, 2009)


Read more about Cimino.

Thomas Brady School: Riverhead High School, class of
Photo Credit: Joel Cairo

Thomas Brady
School: Riverhead High School, class of 2009
College: Bridgewater State College

Brady works with disabled elementary-age children in sports, art and music-related activities. Neither cerebral palsy nor limited use of his left arm stifled his passion for teaching. (June 9, 2009)

Read more about Brady.

John Leibold, left, Leigh Hunter and Danielle Ragno
Photo Credit: Newsday / Ana P. Gutierrez

John Leibold, left, Leigh Hunter and Danielle Ragno
School: Kellenberg High School and Locust Valley High School, class of 2009

Leibold, Hunter and Ragno's Handz Up for Kidz charity raised more than $40,000 to send 50 children with family suffering from addiction and HIV/AIDS to Camp Discovery. Three heads are definitely better than one. (June 11, 2009)


Read more about the trio.

Vennessa Brooks School: Greenport High School, Class of
Photo Credit: Randee Daddona

Vennessa Brooks
School: Greenport High School, Class of 2010

Shortly after being diagnosed with lupus, Brooks became paralyzed from the knees down. Although she spent five months in the hospital, Brooks will graduate on time and remains optimistic about her future.


Read more about Brooks.

Michael Norton School: Northport High School, Class of
Photo Credit: John Dunn

Michael Norton
School: Northport High School, Class of 2010
College: University of Buffalo

After losing both parents, Norton triumphed over tragedy, and continued to excel in and out of school. He volunteers regularly for children's cancer research, and maintains a 4.0 GPA. (June 7, 2010)


Read more about Norton.

Alexa Markel School: Riverhead High School, Class of
Photo Credit: Ed Betz

Alexa Markel
School: Riverhead High School, Class of 2010
College: Stony Brook University

Markel lives a life of service by participating in neighborhood cleanups, and donating food and clothing to her church. She is also a member of the National Youth Leadership Council, an organization based on service learning. (June 16, 2009)


Read more about Markel.

Christina Kelly School: Elmont Memorial High School, Class
Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Christina Kelly
School: Elmont Memorial High School, Class of 2010
College: Rutgers University

Kelly led the Kindness Committee in her high school, a group designed to spread good deeds, and started the school's Big Brothers Big Sisters program. More than 80 Elmont students volunteered to mentor "at-risk" seventh and eighth graders. (June 9, 2010)


Read more about Kelly.

Kelly Keenan School: Garden City High School, Class
Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Kelly Keenan
School: Garden City High School, Class of 2010
College: University of Notre Dame

As president of the Best Buddies program at her school, Keenan helped special education students learn better social skills. The National Honor Society vice president also spent quality time with two home-bound senior citizens once a month. (June 7, 2010)


Read more about Keenan.

Kate Herzlin School: South Side High School, Class
Photo Credit: Newsday/Karen Wiles Stabile

Kate Herzlin
School: South Side High School, Class of 2010
College: University of Pennsylvania

Not only is Kate a cancer survivor, but she is also an accomplished playwright. Her original play was professionally produced in Los Angeles, yet she still manages to find time to volunteer at Sunrise Day Camp, a program for children with cancer. (June, 11, 2010)


Read more about Herzlin.

Amanda Horn School: Walt Whitman High School,
Photo Credit: John Dunn

Amanda Horn
School: Walt Whitman High School, Class of 2010
College: Stonehill College

Since 8 years old, Horn has expressed her love for those with special needs by volunteering with HorseAbility, a therapeutic riding program for people with disabilities. She also started a "Lunch Buddies" initiative to promote more interaction between general and special education students.


Read more about Horn.

Eric Engoron School: The Wheatley School, Class of
Photo Credit: Newsday/Danielle Finkelstein

Eric Engoron
School: The Wheatley School, Class of 2010
College: Stony Brook University

Engoron is one of the top ten students in his class, and he is teaching himself Japanese. He also has cerebral palsy, but refuses to let it affect his capacity to succeed. (June 2, 2010)


Read more about Engoron.

Emma Chasen School: West Babylon High School College:
Photo Credit: Liz Malone

Emma Chasen
School: West Babylon High School
College: Brown University

Chasen created her own publication "What Do We Care", to address teenagers opinions on social issues and world news. The newspaper's printing costs are paid by the Town of Babylon, thanks to Supervisor Steve Bellone. (June 8, 2010)


Read more about Chasen.

Cara Liebowitz School: New Hyde Park Memorial High
Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Cara Liebowitz
School: New Hyde Park Memorial High School
College: Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

Cara launched two websites, ability4u.com and mosaicwebzine.org, to share her experiences of living with cerebral palsy. It is an informative and light-hearted resource for parents with newly diagnosed children. (June 2, 2010)


Read more about Liebowitz.

Adam Camiola School: Commack High School, Class of
Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Adam Camiola
School: Commack High School, Class of 2010
College: SUNY Geneseo

Camiola started Games for Kids after meeting two little boys, a toddler and five-year old, who were battling cancer. The nonprofit collects and donates video games to the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island, and the children's ward of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NYC. (June 4, 2010)


Read more about Camiola.

David Broberg School: Division Avenue High School, class
Photo Credit: Dave Sanders

David Broberg
School: Division Avenue High School, class of 2010
College: Messiah College

Broberg is an award-winning musician and composer and a committed volunteer - both locally and on trips to Latin America. And his teachers say he's an accomplished scholar whose enthusiasm is infectious.

"To be that small difference to one person, it motivates me to do stuff right in my backyard as well. These opportunities are right in front of us all the time." (June 4, 2010)

Read more about Broberg.

Olivia Reed School: Baldwin Senior High School, class
Photo Credit: Photo by KEVIN P. COUGHLIN

Olivia Reed
School: Baldwin Senior High School, class of 2010
College: Catholic University of America

Reed is a singer and dancer who also has excelled in academics. She is a member of the National Honor Society and the Tri-M Music Honor Society and has performed at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and throughout Europe as part of The Sound of America Honor Band and Chorus.

"I've grown a lot this year vocally and dance-wise and acting-wise, but I'm just thrilled to go to school where I can further my skills. That's what I'm really excited for - my first class." (June 8, 2010)

Read more about Reed.

Alexa Rivadeneira School: Locust Valley High School, class
Photo Credit: Newsday/Photo by Danielle Finkelstein

Alexa Rivadeneira
School: Locust Valley High School, class of 2010
College: University of Delaware

Rivadeneira enjoyed writing as a hobby and, after completing three manuscripts, published a novel, "Confessions from the Heart of a Teenage Girl," in 2007, at the age of 14.

"I think [writing is] a good way to express yourself and express a point. A lot of the books I've written always have a meaning. Ever since I was little I would read, and it would take me into a whole new world." (June 3, 2010)

Read more about Rivadeneira.

Aakash Abbi School: Hicksville High School College: University
Photo Credit: Newsday/Audrey C. Tiernan

Aakash Abbi
School: Hicksville High School
College: University of Pennsylvania, class of 2010

Abbi stretched his time in high school to do a bit of everything--international relations, science, literature and music. And he did them well. Cofounder of his high school's Model United Nations, he was also a semifinalist in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology, president of the literature magazine, and an all-county violinist who played with the all-Island orchestras.

"Music has been most fulfilling to me on a personal level. Whenever I'm stressed or down, I listen to music or play it. It's a crutch." (June 6, 2010)

Read more about Abbi.

Kara Rafferty School: Islip High School, class of
Photo Credit: Photo by Daniel Goodrich

Kara Rafferty
School: Islip High School, class of 2010
College: Stevens Institute of Technology
Rafferty played varsity soccer, lacrosse and basketball, but said her most meaningful achievements her off the field, where she built two homes for local families with Habitat for Humanity, coached in the Islip Youth Lacrosse League and mentored others in the Keep Islip Clean and Athletes Helping Athletes program.

Rafferty's father was killed in the line of duty as a New York City police detective, a tragedy that "pushed me to do better and not just sit back in life.'' (June 16, 2010)

Read more about Rafferty.

Adam Krochak School: Syosset High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday/Ed Betz

Adam Krochak
School: Syosset High School, class of 2010
College: University of Michigan

While many high schoolers have trouble naming all the states, Krochak was raising money as part of the Interact Club, a service club, so that children from poor countries could come to the United States and get heart surgery.

"This club has honestly been one of the most developmental things in my life. It's made me more mature." (June 7, 2010)

Read more about Krochak.

Brian Ghezelaiagh School: Comsewogue High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Brian Ghezelaiagh
School: Comsewogue High School, class of 2010
College: Brooklyn College

Ghezelaiagh is beating the odds. The 17-year-old, who is legally blind, has received guaranteed admission to medical school after he attains his bachelor's degree. He was one of the top 10 students in his class, he has worked toward a black belt in kung fu and volunteers at St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson.

"When someone asks you what you want to be, and you say a doctor and they say great, and you say you have a visual impairment - it's not typically a profession pursued by someone with a disability." (June 9, 2010)

Read more about Ghezelaiagh.

Caleb Canas School: Hempstead High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday/Alejandra_Villa

Caleb Canas
School: Hempstead High School, class of 2010
College: Harvard University

Even with his stellar record - a strong of AP classes, perfect scores on several Regents exams - Canas insists that his accomplishments not be characterized as singular. But they are. The son of an El Salvadorian immigrant, Canas, the valedictorian of his school, will attend Harvard with a full scholarship from the Gates Millenium Scholar program.

"I did it. So can you. It can happen." (June 15, 2010)

Lindsey Murphy School: Syosset High School College: Lindsey
Photo Credit: Newsday/Ed Betz

Lindsey Murphy
School: Syosset High School
College:

Lindsey raised more than $42,000 her senior year for a non-profit organization called Gift of Life International, which provides lifesaving heart surgeries for poor children around the world. Lindsey spent a year with a service organization after high school.

"I just felt like I am so passionate about what I'm doing and I could bring so much more to the college setting if I had another year of something like this under my belt." (June 7, 2010)

Read more about Murphy.

Greg Ellner School: Jericho High School, Class of
Photo Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

Greg Ellner
School: Jericho High School, Class of 2010
College: Brown University

Greg, who suffered a brain injury at birth, spent the summer before his senior year at Boston University studying science. He was also awarded an honorable mention in the 2010 Toshiba ExploraVision contest.

"I don't think of myself as an inspirational person or different. I work as hard as I can. That's it." (June 6, 2010)

Read more about Ellner.

Charles Berlin School: Jericho High School, Class of
Photo Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

Charles Berlin
School: Jericho High School, Class of 2010
College: George Washington University

In middle school he was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a type of bone cancer that typically affects children, and endured surgery to remove the fibula in his right leg, followed by chemotherapy treatments for nearly two years. Doctors told him that he wouldn't be able to use his right leg again, but Berlin regained use of the limb through rehabilitation - allowing him to return to his favorite hobby, skiing, and to join the high school's varsity swim team.

"My father always wanted me to enjoy life and never let things get me down," said Berlin, 19. "It's been hard for me at times, but my eyes are very open."

Read more about Berlin.

Racquel Popovic School: Jericho High School College: University
Photo Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

Racquel Popovic
School: Jericho High School
College: University of Rhode Island, Class of 2010

Spurred by her father's battle and death from cancer, Popovic has devoted countless hours to helping and caring for others, including raising $15,000 for the hospital that cared for her father. (June 7, 2010)

"If you are unfortunate enough to know what it is like growing up with a cancer patient, you know you'd do anything to take their pain away."

Read more about Popovic.

Sydney Werber School: Jericho High School, Class of
Photo Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

Sydney Werber
School: Jericho High School, Class of 2010
College: University of Pennsylvania

She was one of 43 teens nationwide to win a National Security Language for Youth scholarship from the U.S. Department of State. The program allowed her to spend six weeks living with a family in Shanghai, studying Mandarin, and teaching English to sick children.

"I like to learn about different cultures and put myself in experiences out of my comfort zone." (June 7, 2010)

Read more about Werber.

Zoey Wade School: Northport High School, class of
Photo Credit: Ed Betz

Zoey Wade
School: Northport High School, class of 2011
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.

Ronnie Eith School: H. Frank Carey High School,
Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Ronnie Eith
School: H. Frank Carey High School, class of 2011
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.

Eric Zwilling School: Jericho High School, class of
Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Eric Zwilling
School: Jericho High School, class of 2011
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.

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