Rye Neck High School seniors Fraser Shaw and Emily Crook have been named the valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, of the Class of 2017. Both accomplished students said it was validating to receive the recognition and were honored to represent their class.

Shaw and Crook said they have worked incredibly hard throughout their high school careers and taken advantage of the numerous academic and extracurricular opportunities at the high school. They attributed their success to their drive to pursue their passions both in and outside of school, and were grateful to their parents for their support. 

“It’s an honor to be the valedictorian,” Shaw said. “I always tried my best and I tried to push myself as much as possible. It shows me that the work I have been putting in at school has paid off. All the late nights, all the hard work has all accumulated to something larger, which is being valedictorian.”

Shaw has been class president for four years and a member of the Science Olympiad team for three years. In addition to taking a demanding course load consisting of Advanced Placement and honors levels classes, he has been a member of the soccer team for four years and has received All-League, Honorable Mention and the Coach’s Award. 

Crook has been a member of the Science Olympiad team for two years and was named captain this year. She has been the editor of the school paper for three years and has played in the school band since sixth-grade. Outside of school, she volunteers at Sunday school and pursues creative writing. 

“It’s really an incredible accomplishment [to be the salutatorian],” she said. “It’s nice to be recognized for all the hard work that we had to put in in order to achieve the level that we did and to be singled out for your efforts or your diligence is something I am proud of, but to have it recognized feels good.”

The soon-to-be graduates said if they could give any piece of advice to the incoming freshmen, it would be to take a variety of classes, pursue their interests and always do their best. 

“I’d tell them to keep an open mind about all classes in general, and to take a variety of different classes because even though we’re a small school, we do offer a lot of different electives and classes you can take to explore a lot of different interests,” Crook said. 

In the fall, Shaw will attend Northeastern University, where he plans to major in mechanical engineering. Crook plans to pursue a major in physics and a minor in astrophysics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.