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NYC teens picked to drop crystal ball for New Year's

Thursday night, students from 12 New York City high schools will join together to press a big, round, bejeweled button and set in motion the famed crystal ball high above Times Square for the world-famous New Year's countdown to midnight.

Since the ball drop was computerized in 1995, the selection of ball dropper has rested with the mayor. This year, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, with input from his staff, chose to honor 12 city high schools that made U.S. News and World Report's list of the country's 100 best high schools, spokeswoman Dawn Walker said.

Last year, Bloomberg chose then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to push the button for the 40-foot drop. Former President Bill Clinton stood by her side.

In earlier years, those selected for the honor have been military veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, city firefighters who went to New Orleans to help with the relief effort after Hurricane Katrina, and the late actor Christopher Reeve and his late wife, Dana.

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