What became a strong competition for the top two spots in Valley Stream North High School’s class of 2013 was finally settled a few months ago, and it will be Michelle Chen and Angelica Caluori who get to make the coveted graduation speeches on Friday.
Chen, the valedictorian, said she is happy to be at the top of the class but it was never her primary goal. “I wasn’t really concerned about this,” she said. “It just happened to come along with all the hard work that I put into high school.”
Caluori remembers being called down to the school’s guidance office while taking a chemistry test. She had a hunch why, so she finished her test and then got the good news that she was named salutatorian. “Our grade became very competitive toward the end of it,” she said. “It was just nice to hear that after all of the hard work that I put in the past few years, that it was recognized with the title.”
In the fall, Chen will head to Cornell University to study pre-medicine. She said she was drawn to the school because it has a nutrition department. Chen wants to be a pediatrician and said she hopes to work in a hospital someday.
She first thought about becoming a doctor during junior year when she took Advanced Placement biology. The combination of an inspirational teacher and an exciting field trip to a DNA lab tipped the scales. She also worked the past two summers at Cancer Genetics, a lab in New Jersey, where she was able to observe and even take part in some procedures.
Chen is one of only 50 incoming freshman at Cornell to be named a Meinig National Scholar. She will get to take part in leadership and mentor programs, and will receive a grant during her junior year for an academic pursuit of her choosing.
Caluori will be going to Baruch College. Between her desire to be in the city, being offered a full-tuition scholarship and the internship possibilities available, the choice was obvious.
She plans to study business. Caluori said she is excited about her freshman schedule, which includes an introduction course that will give her an opportunity to explore many aspects of the business world. From there, she will pick her concentration.