Meet the Class of 2024’s valedictorian and salutatorian


The grade point averages have been tabulated, and Freeport High School has a new valedictorian and salutatorian for 2024. They are Jeremy Dominguez and Etienne Sasenarine, respectively, who spoke with the Herald about what it takes to achieve these distinctions, and what they each have planned for their future academic careers and beyond.

Sasenarine’s family moved to the Freeport school district from Toronto when he was in fifth grade. The child of Guyanese immigrants, he was made aware of the importance of success when he was young.

“I think that something that’s really instilled in my family is hard work,” said Sasenarine, whose mother is an accountant and whose father works in construction. “And I try my best to accomplish that in everything that I do.”

Sasenarine said his favorite subject is math. “I’ve always loved to participate in math-related clubs, like Mathletes,” he said. “I like the problem-solving nature of math, where you can use different formulas and different concepts that will help you solve a problem. I really enjoy that.”

Dominguez, too, enjoys such challenges. His favorite class is physics, which he said features “a lot of problem solving … it’s really enjoyable to be able to solve physics problems and be able to understand these fundamental theories.”

Dominguez is also a child of immigrants — his parents are from Peru — and he said that his motivation to succeed comes from them, and “that factor of hard work.”

“Since both my parents are immigrants,” he said, “they’ve always told me to do well in school, to get into a good college — because that’s not an opportunity they had.”

While excelling in academics, both Dominguez and Sasenarine have made time for a variety of extracurricular activities. Dominguez plays the viola, and is a member of Freeport High’s orchestra.

“We’ve gone to plenty of places to perform in front of people,” he said, and I really enjoyed doing that.”

Sasenarine is partial to robotics. “I did robotics for all my years of high school,” he said. “I even did it in middle school. Robotics has helped me express my side of engineering and computer science, where I get to build and program a robot. It also lets me express my competitive side, where we get to go and compete in different competitions.”

Asked about his family’s reaction to the news that he had been named the top graduating senior, Dominguez recounted, “We all celebrated. It was really heartwarming … especially since I have an older brother who also did well, so my parents are proud to have, like, really intelligent sons.”

Sasenarine said that his parents, as well, expressed their pride in his accomplishment.

The two offered tips on their study habits, for those who might want to emulate them.

“The best thing I’ve found to do while studying is to just throw my phone across my bed,” Dominguez said, “because whenever you have your phone on your desk, it’s really tempting to look at it. So just to place it somewhere else has really helped me to focus.”

Sasenarine said that for him, the key was time management, with well-timed breaks to give himself the chance to relax before moving on to the next unit or subject.

Dominguez’s first-choice colleges are Columbia and Cornell, where, at either one, he hopes to study mechanical engineering, while Sasenarine would love to study computer science at Princeton or Yale.

Both scholars, as it happens, have the same favorite teacher at Freeport High: Dr. Robert Capalbo, who teaches AP physics, has had a significant impact on their academic journeys, they said. Both noted how rigorously Capalbo had prepared them not only for the AP exam but also, they expected, for college.

“He’s given me great study habits that I’ve effectively incorporated into my daily routine,” Sasenarine said.

Asked what it was about Freeport High that made it a unique place to develop as a student, Dominguez mentioned how much he enjoyed and found opportunities to express himself in the music and science departments.

“Those are what I’m really passionate about,” he said. “And I can give thanks to Freeport High School for that.”

Sasenarine agreed, mentioning the wide range of AP courses as well as extracurricular activities. “Freeport offers so many opportunities to express yourself in whatever you’re passionate for,” he said.

“We are extremely proud of both Jeremy and Etienne and all they have achieved,” district Superintendent Kishore Kuncham said. “As they move into the next phase of their lives, I am confident they will continue to excel and lead by example.”