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Friday, August 22, 2014
Class of 2013
A close race at head of Central’s class
Andrew Hackmack/Herald
Jason Shen, center, and Rohan Motwani, right, are the top graduates of Central High School’s class of 2013. They are joined by Superintendent Dr. Bill Heidenreich.

A mere two-hundredths of a point separated Valley Stream Central High School’s top two graduates Chung Wei “Jason” Shen and Rohan Motwani. Shen has been named valedictorian for the class of 2013, and Motwani is the salutatorian.

The pair will head to Ivy League colleges this fall, with Shen committed to Harvard University to study computer science, and Motwani set to attend Cornell University’s Dyson School of Buisness.

Shen said while he was happy to earn the top rank, it was never his priority. “It’s really just a title,” he said of being valedictorian. “It’s not really the full importance of what high school and this whole education process is all about.”

He looks forward to all the educational resources that Harvard has to offer and the chance to be with people who share the same passions. Computers have long been an interest for Shen, who said his major will open up many doors for him in the future as the world becomes increasingly technological.

The college experience will not be new to Shen, who has taken part in a computer program on Saturdays at Columbia University. While his assignments were not graded, he did gain experience and learned new skills. Shen also took advantage of computer programming courses offered at Central.

Motwani will study finance. He expects his career path to take him to New York City, but first is looking forward to experiencing campus life for the next four years upstate and becoming more independent.

He got his first taste of the financial industry as a fifth-grader at Shaw Avenue School by taking part in the Stock Market Game through Quest, District 30’s gifted and talented program. “I’ve always loved numbers and math,” he said.

The pair have participated in numerous extra-curricular activities. Both have played tennis and were part of a varsity squad which captured two consecutive conference championships.

Shen has also played volleyball, served as president of the Math Honor Society and been selected to the National, Language, Science and Tri-M Music honor societies. Through the Eagle Connection, he has tutored students at Memorial Junior High School.

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