Patrick Cruz to graduate as EMHS valedictorian

Ariana Adames is this year's salutatorian

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Four years of hard work has paid off for Patrick Cruz, as he will be starting fresh at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. 

Cruz is planning on studying animal science and continuing with the school for eight years if he decides to become a veterinarian. “Personally I have always viewed academics as a gateway to other opportunities,” Cruz said.

Because of his strong academic abilities, Cruz did not need help with his parents when it came to homework. However, Cruz’s parents did provide support to get Cruz to where he is now. “My parents were there. I didn’t need help with them often in terms of school work but I knew could always rely on them if I needed help,” Cruz said.

Cruz’s father Luis said that his son has been a good student and a perfectionist since he was in elementary school. “He would do little projects in elementary school, even middle school and if that straight line wasn’t straight he would tear off the whole project and start again. I think he started giving us signs of how good he was going to be with the school stuff ever since he was a little kid,” Luis said.

At the end of the summer, Luis will be saying “goodbye” to two of his sons that are going off to school. Luis and his wife, Shirley Wang-Cruz, will miss their sons.

“If he sticks to that vet program he wants to do, he should be fine. When he puts all effort into anything he gets anything he wants. He’s good,” Luis said.

The grades that landed Cruz at the top of his class did not come easy, as his biggest struggle was procrastinating, something he has improved on in his four years of high school.

“I am fortunate to teach students like Patrick Cruz,” said Sandra Lynn Polan, Cruz’s teacher. “Not only is he bright and a great role model, but he puts his heart and soul into everything that he does. He takes the time to help others in school, volunteers in the community and is a very thoughtful individual.”

Even with the challenging classes and workload, Cruz managed to involve himself with other activities. Cruz participated in the math team, honor societies, track and cross-country.

After a long day of school and then track, Cruz would play video games and go outside with his friends. As his friends go off to different colleges and lifestyles, Cruz hopes to keep in contact with them through social media.

“Most of my friends are in a single group chat, whether it be iMessage, Group Me or Facebook Messenger. If we ever do want to keep in touch its a few buttons away,” Cruz said.

Now that Cruz’s final school year is coming to a close, Cruz is preparing for a summer of prom, graduation and a relaxing summer. Cruz will be attending prom with his friend and salutatorian Ariana Adames on June 21. His tie will be matching with Adames’s nude-colored dress.

After Cruz throws his graduation cap in the air, he will be spending his last summer before college in East Meadow hanging out with friends and playing sports in the local park.

In college, Cruz hopes to join clubs, participate in activities and make friends so that he is left with no regrets after finishing his Bachelor’s degree.

When asked what advice Cruz would give to the incoming freshmen, Cruz thought of his little sister entering high school this fall. “This would be advice for her,” he said. “Always keep working hard, never let up, even if you get bad grades, it’s only like one or two bad grades it’s not a big deal. If you have a goal and you’re really determined to do it, just keep aiming towards it,” Cruz said.

Ariana Adames is EMHS salutatorian

Ariana Adames said that she fell in love with the school at which she will be spending the next years of her life: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As a student who enjoyed science, math and computer programming in high school, Adames will be studying computer science and computational biology.

“Not only have I fell in love with learning, but also making sure I did well was always a big thing growing up for me. I just wanted to excel at whatever I did and make sure I understood it completely,” Adames said. “That mentality has really helped shaped who I am and what I want to do in life.”

Adames moved to East Meadow in fifth grade and there she first learned to play the flute. “I think the flute is one thing I still hold really personal to me,” she said. “I was in fourth-grade band as a fifth grader and it was something to catch up and get to where I am now and I love it so much,” Adames said.

Now, Adames performs the flute for the music group Nassau-Suffolk Performing Arts and participates in the pit orchestra. Adames has grown as a student as well, as she has learned to avoid procrastination and has learned what her interests are.

“I had her for four years,” said Siobhan McHale, Adames’ teacher. “From the get go she was unbelievably exceptional, extremely intelligent, very hard working, very humble, but also full of life, full of interest in things she wants to do. She had lots of friends. She is just the total package.”

On the side, Adames participates in honor societies and played lacrosse for two years. For fun, Adames enjoys biking, yoga and being a good friend. “Ariana is such a good friend and everyone loves her,” Samantha Clarke, a friend of Adames, said. “I am so proud of her and MIT is lucky to have her.”

When asked what advice Adames would give to an eighth-grade student heading to high school, Adames suggested trying everything. “Don’t be afraid to break out of your shell and try new things,” she said. “It may seem overwhelming, all these people and this school, but there is definitely always going to be a place to find yourself.”

Now Adames prepares for prom, where she will be wearing a beaded Jovani dress. Over the summer, she plans on working as a lifeguard and possibly traveling.