West Hempstead High School’s valedictorian and salutatorian, Shadman Syed and Lee Boodoo, would no doubt agree with the words of author and entrepreneur Tim Fargo: “Who you are tomorrow begins with what you do today.”
“It’s really empowering, and not what I expected,” Boodoo said of finishing second in the class of 2018. “It’s so humbling because of the hard work I put in and all the clubs I was in, everything just paid off.”
Syed added that he feels more confident. “I know that if I put in the work, I’ll get what I want,” he said. “I think that’ll push me to work harder to reach my goals.”
Syed and Boodoo, both 18, finished with grade point averages of 101.2 and 100.5, respectively, and they both took part in numerous extracurricular activities. Syed was a member of the school’s track team and soccer team and volunteered with the Key Club. He also tutored at the Homework Club and competed in Mathlete competitions.
Boodoo was also a part of Key Club, Mathletes and track — and was a member of the football team, a mentor in the Athletes Helping Athletes program at the school and was involved in the Drama Club.
Both students were members of the National Honor Society, and said that with all their activities, time management was the hardest aspect of their success.
“I got into a routine, and that was the most difficult part,” Boodoo said. “Even after I found my routine, it seemed I never had a break. But doing what I needed got me here.”
Syed had a different approach to managing his time. “I definitely prioritized making sure to get the more difficult things done first and the things that were due sooner first,” he said. “I left the easy things for last.”
Both agreed that the school contributed to their success as students. “I couldn’t have asked for a better grade or school,” Boodoo said. “I know I made the most of my years here, and I’ll always remember the great school spirit.”
Syed and Boodoo are close friends who studied together and encouraged each other. Both plan to pursue degrees in computer science — Boodoo suggested the major to Syed.
“I got Shadman into it, but I want to be a software engineer,” Boodoo said. “Technology and our world is constantly improving, and I want to be a part of that. I want to be the next big thing and bring it to the next level.”
Boodoo added that becoming salutatorian should help him achieve his dream. “The reality is, although I’m [at] the top here,” he said, “when I work out there with others at my level, I’ll know to work harder to get ahead and be the best I can.”
In the fall, Syed will attend Adelphi University, while Boodoo will start classes at New York University. Both hope to continue pushing the limits of their abilities while they see what the world has to offer.