Lynbrook valedictorian, salutatorian reflect on community spirit, look toward bright futures


As Lynbrook High School class of 2017 valedictorian Thomas Postiglione and salutatorian Hannah Burton reflected back on their time at the school, they both pointed out their memories of community spirit.

“My favorite part about attending high school in Lynbrook was the Class Night festivities and becoming a part of a close-knit community,” Postiglione said.

Burton shared a similar sentiment when pondering her four years at the school. “I love the intimacy of Lynbrook High School,” she said. “Everyone knows everyone and that is what makes [it] such a special place. I also love the traditions held, such as Homecoming, Sports Night and Class Night. At [Lynbrook High School], you truly feel as if you are an integral part of the community.”

Both students excelled during their time at Lynbrook. Postiglione was an AP Scholar with Honor and was the 2015 school winner in the American Mathematics Competition and a 2016 silver medalist in the Al Kalfus Long Island Math Fair. He also served as captain for the school’s team in the 2016 Brookhaven National Laboratory Long Island High School Regional Science Bowl, in which the team placed fourth.

One of Postiglione’s major interests is technology, and he worked as a volunteer for e-Nable, an online community that assembles 3-D printed prosthetic hands for people in need. In addition, he volunteered at MercyFirst, helping to expand the knowledge of robotics and 3-D technologies for struggling Long Islanders. He also was a member of the varsity baseball team.

“I believe that my abilities to succeed at a high level can be attributed to hard work, dedication, and a little bit of luck,” Postiglione said.

Burton has also been very involved in various school activities throughout her time at Lynbrook. She was the school winner in the 2016 American Mathematics Competition, and has participated in the DuPont Challenge Science Essay Competition, the Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Competition, the Long Island Science Congress and the Nassau County Science Competition. She was a member of the Student Government Association for four years, serving as the president from her sophomore year through her senior year. She also excelled athletically, playing for the varsity tennis and track and field teams. She attributes her success to hard work.

“I believe that I finished as the second in my class due to my determination and hard work,” Burton said. “I put my all into all of my assignments, despite the varied levels of difficulty they each possessed. When topics got challenging, I never gave up and continued to study the hardest I could possibly study. In addition, I remained extremely organized, which doesn’t hurt.”

Burton also overcame adversity. She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was in kindergarten. As a result, she has been furthering diabetes research and education and was honored for her involvement in Winthrop University Hospital’s Pediatric Diabetes Program. Burton also volunteers as a Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation youth advocacy leader, was a four-time JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes team leader and mentors children with Type 1 diabetes.

She addressed her battle with the disease and applied it to hardships her classmates may face during her speech at the school’s graduation ceremony on June 23. “I have faced obstacles that no child should have to face,” Burton said. “Managing my blood sugar gets in the way of my schoolwork, my exams, my tennis matches, and most importantly, my shopping trips. But, I have not and will not let this stop me, just as you all should not let your own unique hardships hinder you on the path to success.”

During his speech, Postiglione spoke about moving on from high school and looking toward the future. “So now that we are graduates and everyone’s yearbooks have been signed we are ready to begin the next chapter in our lives,” he said. “There will hugs and there will be tears; there will be farewells and goodbyes, but we will all be moving on together.”

Postiglione said he plans to double major in mechanical engineering and economics at Yale University in Connecticut in the fall. He added that he hopes to one-day work as an investment banker and to get married and have children.

Burton said she plans to major in global and public health sciences at Cornell University in Ithaca and to eventually go on to medical school and specialize in pediatric endocrinology. She added that in the next 10 years, she hopes to get married and start a family — which, she hopes, will include a new puppy.