Elmont Memorial has a top three


Arselan Nadeem


GPA: 101.90

AP Courses: 10

College: Cornell


Major: Biological sciences

Bijin Biju Koshy


GPA: 100.44

AP Courses: 7

College: Stony Brook University

Major: Biology

Zainab Soetan


GPA: 100.44

AP Courses: 5

College: Brown


Major: Engineering

What is your best memory of senior year?

Nadeem: My best memory of senior year is the last day of classes where we are getting our yearbooks signed. It was a joyous time but it also made me think about all of the wonderful people I’ve met and the lasting friendships that I’ve made throughout high school.

Koshy: My best memory of senior year is the gathering with the whole Class of 2014 outside for the group picture.

Soetan: My best memory of senior year has to be the Senior Dinner, because all of my friends, including the ones who don’t really get involved in school, came out the dance and eat while dressed to the nines.

What career do you intend to pursue?

Nadeem: My desired career is to be a neurosurgeon.

Koshy: I hope to become a doctor in the future.

Soetan: I would like to be a chemical engineer when I am older.

Who is your biggest role model?

Nadeem: My biggest role model is my father.

Koshy: My biggest role models are my parents.

Soetan: My biggest role model is my father, who has gone through so much to make sure that my brothers and I are always at our best. He grew up differently than I did, so it is nice seeing how his background has influence his life and his behavior.

What are your extracurricular activities and clubs?

Nadeem: The clubs that I’m in include National Honor Society, Math Honor Society, Science Honor Society, Rho Kappa Social Studies Honor Society, FBLA, Key Club, Lacrosse, and Mathletes.

Koshy: I am involved in National Senior Honor Society, National Science Honor Society (Secretary), and Mu Alpha Theta.

Soetan: I was part of the yearbook staff and National Honor Society, and I am the Vice President of Mu Alpha Theta (Math Honor Society).

What, in your opinion, is the key to success?

Nadeem: The key to success is tenacity. We must constantly pursue our life goals despite any adversity and challenges that may await us. It is important to remain determined and be persistent in your endeavor to reach success.

Koshy: My key to success are my teachers, friends and my counselor at Elmont Memorial High School.

Soetan: In my opinion, the key to success is passion. When you are passionate about something, even when it seems difficult, you will continue to work hard to get better. Once you have a goal in mind, you have to work, or else you will get nowhere.

What, in your opinion, is your biggest strength?

Nadeem: One of my biggest strengths is problem solving. Throughout my high school career, I have had to traverse many obstacles and find ways to accomplish my goals.

Koshy: My biggest strength is to face obstacles without losing courage.

Soetan: In my opinion, my biggest strength is my determination. When I want something, I will do whatever I can to get it. Even when it does not work out. I know I tried my best. When it does work out, I have the satisfaction of knowing that I tried and I conquered.

What is the biggest challenge you had to deal with en route to such a distinctive honor?

Nadeem: The biggest challenge I had to deal with is time management. I’ve had to juggle academics, volunteer work, extracurricular activities, sports, as well as spending time with my family. That has proven to not be an easy feat.

Koshy: The biggest challenges I had to face were my speaking trouble and my inexperience with the education system.

Soetan: The biggest challenge I face was learning how to ask for help when I really needed it, instead wasting time trying to solve a problem I had no idea how to solve.

What was your reaction to finding out?

Nadeem: When I first found out, I was overfilled with joy that I had achieved such an honor. Looking back, I had always known inside that I would be the Valedictorian based on my academic prowess and determination.

Koshy: I was profoundly surprised find this out as I did not expect to get this honor, not even one percentage.

Soetan: When I found out I was salutatorian, I was so excited I couldn't even talk. When I told my dad, he started yelling.

What are your hobbies?

Nadeem: My hobbies include reading, listening to music, playing the flute, and playing sports.

Koshy: My hobbies are drawing, collecting coins, watching foreign movies.

Soetan: Outside of school, I enjoy reading and baking for my family and friends.

Do you have any siblings?

Nadeem: I have three siblings: two younger brothers and a younger sister.

Koshy: I have a younger brother. My brother, Jibin, studies at Elmont too and is in 8th grade.

Soetan: I have two younger brothers: one in 8th grade and another in 11th grade.

What volunteer work have you done?

Nadeem: I have volunteered with several service organizations in my school as well as volunteering for Habitat for Humanity and the Ronald McDonald House.

Koshy: I volunteered as a teen volunteer at the Elmont Public Library in 11th grade and 12th grade.

Soetan: Some of the volunteer work I’ve done are building a house for Habitat for Humanity and volunteering for Summer Streets in Manhattan.