- Oyster Bay-East Norwich Schools
OBHS Announces Top Two Students of Class of 2021
From left are OBHS Principal Ms. Sharon Lasher, school counselor Ms. Deanna Cali, salutatorian Riya Gupta, valedictorian Matthew Wong, school counselor Ms. Rebecca Lieberman and OBHS Assistant Principal Mr. Kevin Leach.
Oyster Bay High School seniors Matthew Wong and Riya Gupta have earned top honors as the valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, of the Class of 2021. Matthew earned the honor with a weighted grade-point average (GPA) of 111.78 and Riya with a GPA of 111.65. Both attest that their discipline, long study hours and willingness to seek out extra help from their teachers have been the driving forces that propelled them to academic success.
“I just want to convey that no one is born ‘smart’,” said Matthew, “Everyone needs a sense of discipline and dedication, whether it’s staying up late or going to extra help in the morning. It’s that discipline and doing the things that nobody really wants to do, but you know you still have to do them if you want to reach your goals.”
Both Matthew and Riya are well-rounded students who not only possess strong academics but have a strong commitment to community service and participate in a wide range of extra-curricular activities with leadership roles.
Matthew excels in science and mathematics and hopes to combine those interests by pursuing a degree in chemical engineering in college. He was recently named a Commended Scholar in the National Merit Scholarship Program for high achievement on the preliminary SAT/National Merit Qualifying Test. Among his many other honors, Matthew is an Advanced Placement (AP) Scholar of Distinction for receiving an average score of 3.5 (out of 5) on all AP exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams. He is also the recipient of the University of Rochester George Eastman Young Leaders’ Award and The Renaissance Award. Involved in school beyond the classroom, Matthew has been Student Council Treasurer since freshman year. He created the Sports Volunteering Club, which provides volunteer opportunities for students with community-based youth sports leagues. He is a member of the Student-Athletic Leadership Program (SALP) and is also a reporter for the school newspaper, The Harbour Voice. He is a member of numerous honor societies.
Outside of school, Matthew participated in a junior internship program at S & P Global Inc. this past summer where he learned about market analysis techniques. He is a talented musician who successfully completed the New York State Music Association (NYSSMA) piano solo events for levels 1-6 and teaches piano to beginners of all ages and abilities. He also plays trombone in jazz band and wind ensemble. On the field, Matthew plays varsity baseball and is captain of the team. He also tutors middle and high school students in mathematics, Spanish, science, and English.
Riya, who hopes to pursue a career in psychology or medicine, was one of two students from the Class of 2021 to earn the distinction of National AP Scholar for receiving an average score of at least 4 (out of 5) on all AP exams taken, and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams. She earned a perfect score of 5 on the AP chemistry exam.
About her success, Riya said, “For me, personally, I remember staying up to 3 or 4 in the morning studying and going to extra help and always doing my best.”
Riya has had perfect attendance since ninth grade, has earned numerous academic excellence awards across the curricula, including social studies, science, Spanish, mathematics, and English/language arts, and is a member of several honor societies. She received an excellence award in voice from NYSSMA and has been a member of the Oyster Bay High School Chamber Singers for the past two years. As a leader, she is President of the mathematics honor society Mu Alpha Theta and is an officer of Mathletes. She plays a leadership role in the Breaking Borders club and is a member of the Birthday Wishes club. Athletically, she is in her third year as a varsity badminton player. Her academic curiosity continues outside of school. She took enrichment courses including, Fundamentals of Neuroscience 1 at Harvard University and a science and research awareness series at Stony Brook University. Among her contributions to her community, she volunteers as a tutor in Spanish and chemistry, as a backstage volunteer for community shows and as a volunteer at the Indian Cultural Center. Riya holds a job as a crewmember/barista at Dunkin’ Donuts and as a mathematics tutor. She is inspired by her older brother, Aavi, who was valedictorian of the Class of 2020 and currently attends Princeton University.
“Matt and Riya are incredibly hardworking students who are committed to excellence,” said Oyster Bay High School Principal Ms. Sharon Lasher. “They excel both in and out of the classroom, making the most of the opportunities that are available here at Oyster Bay High School. On a personal level, they are kind and personable and always willing to help others. I look forward to hearing about all their future accomplishments.”