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Lynbrook High School val, sal hope to help community in the future

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Though the coronavirus and remote learning impacted their senior years, Lynbrook High School valedictorian Arpie Bakhshian and salutatorian Anna Rath said they were proud to represent their class and excited for the future. 

“I am truly honored to be at the top of the class of 2020,” Bakhshian said, “as there are so many teachers, peers and administrators at Lynbrook High School that have always shined a light toward a better path and pushed me to be the best possible version of myself that I could be. I am surrounded by amazing, smart and talented people every day, and I am very grateful.”

Rath said she was also grateful for her experiences and to represent the class. “I am surrounded by wonderful, intelligent, talented and compassionate peers,” she said, “so I am beyond fortunate and humbled to be recognized as their salutatorian.”

Bakhshian was selected as a nominee in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program and earned the title of Long Island Scholar Artist from the Long Island Arts Alliance. She is also a musician, performing in regional and state music festivals, the school’s chamber and pit orchestras and as concertmaster in the Long Island Youth Orchestra during her time at the school. Her music abilities have led to membership in the school’s Tri-M Music Honor Society.

Additionally, Bakhshian has a passion for science and was involved in the school’s Science Research Program, where she spent the past two summers as an intern conducting independent research at Weill Cornell Medicine in Manhattan. She has attended STEM courses at Brown University, is the founder and president of the school’s Women in STEM program and participated in Science Olympiad. In addition, Bakhshian is a talented tennis player who was captain of the varsity tennis team for singles.

She said her favorite memory of high school was this past March’s Class Night, when the seniors took first place, which ended up being the last day of school in-person because of the virus.

“As a senior class, we put our hearts and souls into a performance that was to be our last, with the support of all the teachers and administrators who have been the backs we can lean on for the last four years,” Bakhshian said. “All our effort and hard work put into that performance and all the performances over the past four years made our victory even sweeter.”

Rath was selected as a finalist in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program. She was part of the school’s Active Citizen Teens Club and has a love for theater. She has been a cast member in school plays and has volunteered at Molloy College’s Madison Theatre. Linguistics is also a major passion of hers, as she serves as the president of the school’s Italian Club and has spent the past two summers at Harvard University taking classes in Italian, Spanish, historical linguistics and theatrical directing.

She fondly recalled a class trip as one of her best experiences at LHS. “One of my favorite memories from my time at LHS is when the very small French class went on a field trip into the city,” she said. “The students and teachers alike were so passionate about the subject and the excitement certainly translated into the excursion.”

Ten years, from now, Bakhshian said, she hopes to have a career in the sciences that will benefit her community, such as health care or research, and Rath said she hoped to have a future in law, with a focus on public health.