Graduation is on the horizon for General Douglas MacArthur High School, and at the top of its class of 2023, school officials named Mia Frattura valedictorian and Ana Compton salutatorian.
The weighted grade-point average of the two exceptional students was extremely close — Frattura earned the top spot with a 103.9, while Compton came in second with 103.68.
“I always wanted to have this achievement,” Frattura said. “I’ve been working towards it since freshman year. But I stayed away from just looking at numerical grades and always thought about what I was learning instead.”
Frattura, who is from Wantagh, went to Gardiner’s Avenue Elementary School and then Jonas E. Salk Middle School. Compton also attended both of those schools before attending MacArthur.
Compton said she did not set out to become a high-ranking senior, and instead just focused on her studies.
“I wasn’t really thinking about it at all,” Compton said. “I was just hitting the books, working hard, and they told me, and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s nice.’”
Both Frattura and Compton have strong extracurricular backgrounds in addition to their academic performance. Frattura is MacArthur’s president of the National Honor Society, a co-president of the Science Olympiad team and vice president of the Math Honor Society. She is also a drum major for the marching band, a peer leader and a soccer player. And perhaps her most impressive extracurricular achievement is the research she did during summers in high school.
“In summer of ninth grade, and the 10th grade as well, I worked with a professor at Hofstra,” Frattura said. “We researched historical climatology, which takes the humanities into environmental science. We analyzed a 19th century diary written by a railroad conductor who documented his one-month trip from Philadelphia to California and noted the weather. Our research was published in a peer review journal. I was able to showcase it at the Harvard Club in Manhattan, in a competition called the Journal of Young Explorers Meta.”
Compton is also a member of the National Honor Society and the Math Honor Society, and is MacArthur’s treasurer of Tri-M Music Honor Society. She is also in “MacAppella,” MacArthur’s a capella singing group, and has performed in many plays at the school as well, including “Little Women.”
Compton partook in research at Stony Brook University in the summer of 2022 with a focus on physics. She also participated in the Toshiba Exploravision’s national competition, which implored students to find hypothetical solutions to gun violence using technology they had created.
“I won honorable mention in that,” Compton said. “My project was to reduce gun violence using radio frequency identification technology, which would detect guns when people are walking in and out of doors and set off a silent alarm that would alert police.”
Compton also was a part of Medical Marvels, with a similar angle about reducing gun violence. Both Compton and Frattura placed third in the New York State Chemagination competition.
Both students are considered well-rounded scholars, with some of their favorite classes falling in humanities and STEM. Their favorite teachers at the school include David Friedman and Matthew Zausin, who were their science research advisors. They also singled out Eric Tompkins and George Donovan, both of the science department, as among their favorites. In addition, they included among their list of favorites Jill Roddini and Carisa Wellenreuther, who teach English, Lisa Levenberg, who teaches music, and Laura McCue of the history department.
Frattura said she plans to attend UCLA in the fall, majoring in chemistry.
She then intends to go to law school when she finishes her bachelor’s degree, and wants to become a patent attorney.
Compton will attend University of Pittsburgh, where she will study mechanical engineering, adding that she is not sure if she wants to go into the “industry side or the research side.”
School administrators praised the hard work put forth by both Frattura and Compton.
“These two spectacular young ladies have epitomized all the mandatory traits and attributes that are necessary for success throughout their high school years,” Joseph Sheehan, principal of MacArthur, said. “It has truly been an honor and a privilege to have worked with them, and I wish them all the very best of luck as they embark upon their future endeavors.”