East Meadow High School’s Nathan Siegelaub and Hassan Alam’s academic accomplishments speak for themselves. Siegelaub and Alam, the school’s valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, accumulated the highest grade point averages of their graduating class, and have been involved as well in various clubs and extracurricular activities.
But the two students, who will speak at Sunday’s graduation, said that what made them top students extended far beyond the classroom. They understand the importance of hard work, but to them, their success is about more than that.
“I’ve learned a lot about myself as a high schooler and a person,” Siegelaub said. “And I think that one of the most important things about high school is not to just sit in a classroom and take notes … but to really get to know who you are as a person and be comfortable with that.”
Alam echoed Siegelaub’s sentiments. “Valedictorian and salutatorian rewards you for your grades,” he said. “But you want the culmination of your high school career to present you as an overall, well-rounded person.”
One look at the pair’s high school records does just that. Siegelaub is a 2014 National Merit Finalist and scholarship winner, an A.P. Scholar with Distinction, a NYSSMA All-State drummer, president of the Tri-M music and science honor societies, treasurer of the Spanish Honor Society, a board member of the National Honor Society and a member of the Environmental Club.
Alam is a board member of the National Honor Society and a member of the Spanish and science honor societies. He is also an A.P. Scholar with Distinction, a member of the school’s Future Business Leaders of America Club and the Environmental Club.
Another perk of being named valedictorian? “It’s almost a reward for the three years you lose your social life,” Siegelaub said.
In the fall, Siegelaub will head north to Cambridge, Mass., to attend Harvard. He has yet to decide what he will study, but said he is leaning toward English literature with a minor in engineering.