Meet Clarke's top grads

An interview with the valedictorian and salutatorian


Check back next week's for East Meadow's top graduates

Siddesh Ramesh and Gabrielle Cord-Cruz, the top students of W.T. Clarke’s 2014 graduating class, are alike in their ambitions and work ethic. But they have very different interests and career aspirations, which, in a way, is a reflection of the diverse palette of programs and extracurricular activities their school district offers its students.

Ramesh, the valedictorian, wants to be a doctor. The 18-year-old, who was born in southern India and came to the U.S. with his family whepan he was 4, plans to study biology on a pre-med track at Cornell University in the fall, with the intention of shifting toward neurology or cardiology later in his studies. His interest in biology, he said, was generated in large part by his high school studies. He is a member of the school’s Science Honor Society, and also participates in its science research program.

Cord-Cruz, 17, said she has known she wanted to study engineering since she was a fourth-grader at Meadowbrook Elementary School, when she participated in the school’s QUEST program. Her interest in the subject has only grown since then. She has a fascination with cars, and said that one day she would love to design them. She will attend the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering in the fall, and plans to focus on mechanical engineering.

The two students agreed that they don’t know what set them apart academically. But both did say that, as long as they remember, they understood the importance of hard work. “My parents and godmother have always inspired me to go to a good college and get a good education,” said Cord-Cruz. “I never thought I would be salutatorian. It was a shock to me.”

Said Ramesh, “I feel like all my peers have worked hard. I don’t know what, exactly, set me apart. Luckily, somehow I did.”

Principal Timothy Voels, however, was not as surprised. “They exemplify what it means to be a student first, and to put forth a tremendous amount of effort to not only better themselves but to inspire others,” he said.

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