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A Welcome Surprise for MHS Valedictorian and Salutatorian

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Individually, Massapequa High School seniors Jack D. and Devin D. were called to Principal Barbara Lowell’s office in late September. They both left with huge smiles, as they were told they are the top two graduates of the Class of 2021.

“I had no idea right until the moment they told me,” said Jack, the valedictorian. “I’ve never been that surprised and shocked. It was pretty great.”

Devin said she always has been getting good grades but didn’t realize they were good enough to become salutatorian. Now, she hopes this honor earns her admission into a prestigious college. She plans to study medicine to become a neurologist and is looking at more than a half-dozen colleges in the northeast.

Jack wants to study aerospace engineering with aspirations to do automotive design and currently has a list of about 10 schools he is exploring. His top choices area George Tech and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Once acceptances start coming in, he plans to do campus visits to see which school suits him best.

The two students have challenged themselves with numerous Advanced Placement and college-level courses. Jack particularly enjoyed AP Research in which he did a project on the relation of ethic to autonomous vehicles. Devin has taken multiple science classes at Massapequa High School.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of them,” she said. “Most of my schedule has been science the last few years.”

While Jack and Devin have devoted countless hours to their academics, they have also explored other interests to round out their educations. Jack is a member of the Car Care Club, French Club, varsity tennis team, and National and Tri-M Music honor societies. He has served as class president since sophomore year. His musical abilities playing the viola have led to selections to Long Island String Festival Association and Nassau County Music Association All-County ensembles. Outside of school, he is a member of the Long Island-based Gemini Youth Orchestra.

Devin is president of the Forensic Science Club and a member of Students Against Destructive Decisions and Health Care Explorers, the latter of which has allowed her to visit local hospitals to learn about various careers in the medical field. As a member of the science research program, she studied super conductivity. She is also passionate about animal rights and has volunteered for the ASPCA’s regional advocacy field team.

Jack and Devin both embody perseverance. Hurricane Sandy hit when Jack was in elementary school and his family lived in a trailer on the property for two years while their house was torn down and rebuilt. He said the adjustment was easier as a child than it likely would have been if he were older. Devin has a mild heart condition that sometimes makes her physically exhausted but that has only strengthened her desire to work hard and do well in school.

Since beginning their educations – Jack on Massapequa’s south side at Birch Lane Elementary School and Devin up north at Lockhart Elementary School – they have both found their paths to success. Jack never lets “the size of a challenge scare me” and Devin has a competitiveness that has driven her to do her best. 

“We are so proud of how hard Jack and Devin have worked to achieve these high distinctions within their class,” Ms. Lowell said. “They have earned so many accolades and they serve as roles models at Massapequa High School.”