MORRISTOWN, NJ - Morristown High School has announced the top two academic achievement awards for the Class of 2018 - Valedictorian and Salutatorian. This year's honors go to Anna Cliche, Valedictorian and Abigail (Abby) Gringeri, Salutatorian.
Cliche is described by her guidance counselor, Kristina Kenny, as someone who is poised, confident, personable and urbane. She plans on studying engineering at Cornell University. Gringeri, also a stellar student, has a natural curiosity and propensity to learn new things from various subject areas, said her counselor, Ellen Cheikes. She will be studying biochemistry at the University of Pennsylvania in the fall.
The young women who were described by their counselors as gifted, accomplished and committed, are looking towards their future but will remember their high school years fondly.
"Mrs. Kemp my calculus and linear algebra teacher had the biggest impact on me in high school," said Cliche. "She propelled my interests in math and inspired me to keep working towards more difficult mathematics courses. Additionally, her trust and understanding throughout the years as I took an accelerated course-load was invaluable to me".
Gringeri 's future was also shaped by a staff member at Morristown High School.
"Dr. Villauer was my chemistry teacher for two years", said Gringeri. "His course and his experience in drug development were major factors in helping me decide that I wanted to pursue a career in biochemical research. I ran track and cross country all four years and Dr. Villhauer was my cross country coach. In both our runs and our course work, he was happy to challenge me and push me to be the strongest I could be. I am incredibly grateful for all the support he has given me. My goal for the future is to pursue biochemical research and ultimately develop medical treatments", said Gringeri. "I want to contribute to a healthier society, as well as make healthcare solutions that are affordable and accessible to all".
In addition to their academics, both scholars take with them fond memories of their time at MHS.
"My fondest memory at MHS was when we went on a French trip to Quebec in the winter", said Cliche. "Every moment of the trip was fun, and, in addition to learning a lot about French-Canadian culture and language, I learned a lot about my friends and teachers".
"Having lunch with my classmates once we finished our AP exams, is my fondest memory", said Gringeri. "The combination of surviving such a daunting test and laughing with classmates who you've become close with over the rigorous past months (never about the Secure AP Exam Content though, obviously...) is a euphoric, relieving feeling.
With their time at MHS winding down, both Cliche and Gringeri believe that students should focus on what truly interests them. Advise to incoming freshman? Both scholars say to spend time doing what interests you.
"High school is a great time for exploring different activities and classes, so you should take full advantage of that. Don't feel pressured to take certain courses solely for your GPA or chase leadership opportunities in activities you don't care about; you will only burn out," said Gringeri.