Introducing the Valedictorian and Salutatorian of WV’s Class of 2020

Valedictorian and Salutatorian

As the 2019-2020 school year draws to a close, the Wayne Valley student body collectively recognizes the Class of 2020 for their impressive achievements. In particular, we recognize two students whose continued excellence in the classroom all throughout high school enabled them to reach the most prestigious ranks: valedictorian Tasneem Pathan and salutatorian Andrew Paul. 

In the fall, Pathan is committed to attend the University of Pennsylvania. She plans to major in Computer Science, as she hopes to pursue a career as a software developer. During her time at Wayne Valley, Pathan served as the Vice President of Peer Leaders, Vice President of Competitive Events for FBLA, Clarinet Section Leader in marching band, and an active member of the National Honor Society. Through her hard work and commitment, she also earned the AP Scholar with Distinction award. Pathan particularly enjoyed all of her classes taught by Mr. Grasso and Mr. Schemly, especially AP Calculus BC. Her favorite memory of her high school years is “walking off the field after a good marching band performance.” 

“Be open to change. More than ever before, we have learned that life can change in a moment’s notice, but it is our job to make the best out of any situation,” reflects Pathan. Although she may not be giving a traditional speech at graduation this year, the importance of adaptability would have been one of the biggest takeaways of her parting message. “If Wayne Valley has taught us anything, it has taught us the true meaning of resilience.”

Ultimately, Pathan is grateful for the constant support of her sister, who has motivated her to pursue what she loves. As a final bit of advice to her peers, Pathan states, “Make every moment of high school count! Have fun and do things that you enjoy, because your grades aren’t everything.” 

Salutatorian Andrew Paul hopes to pursue a slightly different path. Paul will be attending Williams College in the fall with a major in Living Arts. Throughout his time at Wayne Valley, Paul was involved in the marching band, jazz bands, cross country, track, volleyball, FBLA, and Debate Club. More recently, he has taken up multiple extracurriculars including Tai Ji, Qi Gong, painting, reading, and collaging. 

Paul notes that AP Psychology was his favorite class that he took at Wayne Valley. He also lists multiple of his favorite memories: “Hearing Dr. White’s voice; reading a bunch of books for Mrs. Wolfson; playing untheoretically (sic) over rhythm changes; passing people in running races on cooler, humider (sic)days, and breathing and posturing my body heroically in relays.” 

Although Paul does not yet have a clear vision of his career path, he hopes to pursue his hobbies for the time being and see where they lead him. In regards to his graduation speech, he reveals, “I might not format my message so it can be neatly divided into, ‘Ok, this is what you have to write down.’ I’d rather immerse you, and share a feeling-environment with you that emphasizes being, that doesn’t need scientific treatment to be effective.”

Guidance counselor Mrs. Ciriello has mentored Pathan and Paul since their freshmen year, and she is excited to witness their future successes. “They both are self-motivated, and driven,” Mrs. Ciriello says. “They seek learning opportunities for the sake of learning opportunities.” 

For underclassmen seeking to achieve similar academic success, Mrs. Ciriello suggests to seek excellence rather than perfection, and to strive for accomplishment regardless of the current circumstances. 

As parting words of advice to Pathan and Paul, she advises, “Continue learning; don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. The most important thing is to be a lifelong learnerーchange is inevitable, [so you must] accept and embrace [it].”