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At the top of the Class of 2016  
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Congratulations to the Class of 2016 valedictorian and salutatorian!


Watervliet's top graduates share a common theme. They both identify the support of family and friends as a key ingredient to their recipe for success and they believe that their participation in the Character Ed/No Place for Hate program has taught them many valuable life lessons. Meet Lauren Zakrzewski , valedictorian of the Class of 2016, and Lydia Anderson, salutatorian.

Lauren Zakrzewski, Valedictorian

picture of WHS valedictorian

Graduating with a 97 grade point average, Lauren plans to study chemistry at either Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute or the University of Michigan in the fall.

During her high school career, Lauren has been a member of Environmental Club, Character Education/No Place for Hate, Masterminds, National Honor Society and National Junior Honor Society, Student Council, Delta Force and band. A student athlete, she has run both varsity cross country and varsity indoor track and played modified, junior varsity and varsity softball and previously played modified soccer.

The awards and scholarships Lauren has received include the following: the Rensselaer Medal; 2015 Society of Women Engineers Certificate of Merit; Capital Zone New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Leadership Award, the Athletic Leadership, Sportsmanship and Ethics Award, as well as the Coaches Award for Indoor Track (2014, 2015) and was Most Valuable Player (MVP) of Indoor Track in 2013.

She is the daughter of Jason Zakrzewski and Nicolle Lennox; her sister, Alexis, graduated from WHS in 2014.

Q & A with Lauren

Q. What has been your key to success?

I have always had people in my life who were very encouraging. I have also made it one of my goals to remain organized through school to be able to complete every assignment on time or earlier.

Q. What extracurricular programs at WJSHS have benefited you, most and why?

National Honor Society and Character Education benefited me the most because they taught me to be active in helping my community. Along with them, all of the sports I have been involved in have helped me build good character, make friends and have fun while at school.

Q. Any words of inspiration or advice to share with students entering their high school years in Sept. 2016 ?

All of the work that comes with each class may seem tough, but if you stay organized and committed to doing your work, always handing it in on time, then high school will seem pretty simple.

Lydia Anderson, Salutatorian

picture of salutatorian

Lydia is graduating with a grade point average of 94 and plans to attend Hartwick College in Central New York to study pre-law.

Lydia  is a member of the National Honor Society, Character Education/No Place for Hate and Student Council. She also serves as a Class Officer, played varsity soccer and previously volunteered for the city's Youth Court.

The awards and scholarships Lydia  has received include the following: National Academy of Future Physicians & Medical Scientists Award of Excellence, Scholar Athlete Award and the Oyaron Scholarship from Hartwick College. She is a graduate of the Watervliet Youth Court training program and was named a Kid of Character.

Lydia  is the daughter of Stephen Anderson and Greta Gilchrist. She has two sisters, Nora and Julia Anderson.

Q & A with Lydia

Q. What has been your key to success?

A supportive family. Determination to be better every day and be more than anyone has ever expected of me. I want to prove people wrong. I strive to be proud of myself.

Q. What extracurricular programs at WJSHS have benefited you, most and why?

No Place for Hate because it has shown me the importance of caring for others. The club sheds light on the hardships everyone endures that we may not be aware of. I love feeling like I am making a big impact on the future of this school by teaching my peers how to stop hate.

Q. Any words of inspiration or advice to share with students entering their high school years in Sept. 2016 ?

Being smart and trying your best does not make you a nerd. It makes you 10 times better than those who will call you names. Worry about yourself and your own success because life is so much more than high school.


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