Meet Claire Tao, the North Shore School District’s salutatorian


Claire Tao has been named the salutatorian for the North Shore High School’s Class of 2024, a recognition that celebrates her outstanding academic achievements and commitment to excellence throughout her high school career. Reflecting on her time in the school district, Tao expressed how much she had learned

A resident of Roslyn and a North Shore School District student since the third grade, Tao talked about how the district allowed her to immersed herself in a variety of academic and extracurricular pursuits.

“I would say my favorite classes have been science-related, since I’m very interested in science,” Tao said. “But we have so many great teachers, and I also enjoy taking humanities classes since I like the challenge of that.”

Tao’s academic interests are deeply rooted in science, with Earth science, chemistry, biology, and physics being her favorite subjects. She also expresses a strong affinity for the visual arts, balancing her STEM courses with art and music classes.

Tao’s hard work and dedication have not gone unnoticed. She has been recognized as a National Merit Semifinalist and is a member of the National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta, the National Math Honor Society. Fluent in Mandarin, Tao has also demonstrated her prowess in scientific research, conducting studies at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Her research has focused on glioblastoma and immune system receptors, aligning with her long-term goal of pursuing a career in medicine.

Her achievements extend beyond the classroom. Tao has actively participated in various extracurricular activities, serving as president of the High School Portfolio Club and vice president of the Micro and Anatomy Club. Additionally, she has been a member of the Chamber Orchestra and Mathletes.

“North Shore is just like a very welcoming and friendly community where it’s easy to learn,” she reflected. “I did have some challenges navigating through the coursework, but I had a lot of support and everybody was super nice. I had a really great experience.”

Tao’s commitment to her education and future career is evident in her choice to attend Stony Brook University, where she will be part of the Scholars for Medicine program. This program guarantees her admission to medical school, provided she maintains a certain GPA and meets other requirements. Tao explained that she was excited to get to spend “the next eight years of my life at Stony Brook.”

When asked about her reaction to being named salutatorian, Tao expressed genuine excitement.

“I had an inkling that I might place, but it didn’t really matter whether I was valedictorian or salutatorian,” she said. “I felt honored to be recognized, and my family and friends were all very proud.”

As she prepares for graduation, Tao is looking forward to delivering her salutatorian speech, in which she plans to reflect on her experiences and growth over the past four years.

“I’ll be talking about my science research, my artistic growth, and of course, thanking my parents and grandparents for their support,” she shared. “I want it to be a brief but meaningful speech that’s kind of like a rundown of my journey and appreciation for the North Shore community.”

Principal Eric Contreras congratulated Tao and the valedictorian, Sofia Martini, in a speech when they were announced as the salutatorian and valedictorian. Contreras praised both students as hard-working exemplars of what it means to be a Viking.

“Sofia and Claire are celebrated and respected by everyone. As high schoolers, they already have a spectacular list of storied achievements,” Contreras said. “They are impeccable examples of students who embody our shared values that permeate their work in all their endeavors.”