Excellence in Education Volume 15, Issue 31, 8-3-20
Aavi Gupta: Class of 2020 Valedictorian
Inspired by those who make their mark on the world, Oyster Bay High School Valedictorian Aavi Gupta hopes to be remembered for something great.
“I want to be one of those people who has contributed greatly through their life’s work and contributed to human knowledge,” he said.
Setting his path for that extraordinary goal, Aavi is headed to Princeton University in the fall to study molecular biology/chemistry. He plans to continue on to medical school to become a physician.
“I’ve always had an interest in the sciences; going into this major will give me all the tools I need to be successful in my future career, and I will have chances to take part in different research projects and learn about topics that interest me,” he said. “At Princeton students in their final year write a senior thesis, a year-long research project meant to test the knowledge and skills gained through one’s course of study,” Aavi explained. “Many graduates base their careers on the work they do in this final year, so I would be gaining an incredible amount of knowledge and experience through this,” he said. “There are so many opportunities to do so many different things, and I feel Princeton was the best choice for me.”
Julia Cutajar: Class of 2020 Salutatorian
Ten years from now, Oyster Bay High School Salutatorian Julia Cutajar hopes to be designing buildings and amusement park rides that are perfectly accustomed to those with special needs and/or complex medical conditions.
“Whether it be playing with Lincoln Logs as a child or making furniture, I have always had the urge to create,” Julia said. Her passions for art & design and mathematics, coupled with her years of experience working with those with special needs, have put Julia on a clear path to making the world a better, more inclusive place.
This fall, she will begin her studies in architecture at the University of Notre Dame, an institution she was instantly drawn to because of its “powerful message of being a force for good in the world,” Julia said. “Notre Dame has an unparalleled community and network that I know will help me make an impact in the future. I truly appreciate how they stress students being a family and not in competition with one another.”
Through volunteering, Julia said she has seen first-hand the limitations those with special needs have in their everyday experiences. “My mission came to be when I volunteered at a children’s hospital and saw an inclusive playground,” she said. “I realized that I wanted this inclusivity to go beyond hospital walls and playgrounds.”