OBHS Names Valedictorian and Salutatorian
Oyster Bay High School seniors Aavi Gupta and Julia Cutajar have more than one thing in common: both hold perfect attendance records, love competing in Mathletes, and are leaders among their peers. Now they share another commonality that is undoubtedly the crowning moment of their high school careers. Aavi and Julia were named valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, of the Class of 2020.
“We both share a fear of failure,” Aavi said with a grin. “It’s what drives us and it paid off.”
Aavi excels in academics, athletics and music. An Advanced Placement (AP) Scholar of Distinction, Aavi has taken advantage of nearly all advanced and/or college level classes. A leader among his peers, he is president of National Honor Society and Mathletes, treasurer for Business Honor Society and historian for Rho Kappa Social Studies Honor Society. He is also a member of honor societies for mathematics, science, foreign language, and music.
Aavi has special talents in mathematics and computer science, and took the initiative to continue his learning by participating in summer programs at New York Institute of Technology and the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook.
Outside of the classroom, he plays varsity tennis and varsity bowling, and earned the Oyster Bay High School Varsity Athletic Award three years in a row. A trombone player, Aavi performed as a sophomore at Carnegie Hall with the Oyster Bay High School Symphonic Band, one of the highlights of his high school career. He has been a member of jazz band and marching band all through high school, a member of symphonic band for three years, and is currently in wind ensemble.
Among his awards, Aavi was a winner in the Walt Whitman Barclay’s Association Annual Student Poetry Contest and was awarded for excellence in science and in languages other than English.
An aspiring architect, Julia has designed her future by taking a rigorous course load—with special emphasis in mathematics and art—and balancing it with various activities, a job and summer opportunities. Among her many activities, she hones her math skills as treasurer of National Art Honor Society and International Club, and has been involved in both, along with Mathletes and Stage Crew, throughout her high school career. She is also treasurer of Math Olympiads and Theatre Arts Club, vice president of Foreign Language Honor Society, and a member of honor societies for mathematics, science, social studies, English/language arts, as well as National Honor Society. In addition to her artistic abilities, Julia taps into her creativity as managing editor of the literary magazine, Agapae, which consistently wins gold medals for literary excellence from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.
During the summer, Julia explored her interest in architecture by participating in a two-week architecture program at Catholic University and a one-week Architecture & Design program at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Outside of school, she works in the media and public relations department of Oakcliff Sailing Center in Oyster Bay, sharpening her skills in Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator and Premiere Pro.
Among her many recognitions, Julia is the recipient of the Rensselaer Medal Award from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, an up to $100,000 scholarship bestowed upon promising students who have distinguished themselves in science and math. She also won the Nassau County District Attorney SHIELD Award, given to high school juniors who show outstanding character, commitment to self-growth, and initiative to bring positive change in their community; and the Long Island Media Arts Best in Show Award for Photography.
Julia and Aavi attribute their success to the support of their teachers and to opportunities, such as 8th and 10th grade college trips, which helped them focus and achieve their goals.
Oyster Bay High School Principal Ms. Sharon Lasher congratulated Aavi and Julia by saying, “Your commitment and passion for academic excellence have paved a great path for your future, one that I know will be filled with many more successes.”