SHRUB OAK, N.Y. - Lakeland High School salutatorian Timothy Callery is thankful for the support he received during his time in Yorktown, but he’s ready for the next chapter to begin. In the fall, Timothy will take his love of business, economics and history to Villanova University.

Just 18 years old, Timothy has already left his mark on the Yorktown community. A member of Boy Scouts of America Troop 174, he attained the rank of Eagle Scout earlier this month by completing a service project. For his project, he built a book exchange station outside of the John C. Hart Memorial Library. In essence, community members can freely drop off and take books at this box that is roughly the size of a birdhouse.

“I always liked the library as a kid,” Timothy said. “You can take a book and leave a book.”

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Timothy wouldn’t associate his actions with the phrase “giving back” because, he said, it implies a debt and a transactional value. Instead, he told his classmates on Saturday, they should simply strive to “give.”

“Whenever you do good in the real world, do not think that you have a debt to society that can simply be repaid, but instead always do good throughout your life out of love for your neighbors, and a true desire to see your world better because of your actions,” Timothy said during his commencement speech.

“If we all stop thinking that there is a limit to the good we can do for others, we will all make Lakeland High School, our town of Yorktown, and our nation proud,” he continued. “We will all succeed in making the world a better place to live in.”

Though Timothy earned the second-highest marks among the Class of 2018, it was never a goal of his to be named salutatorian or valedictorian. A history buff, Timothy said he was simply enjoying one of his favorite subjects.

“My favorite subject was always history, so I always tried hard in history,” Timothy said. “I always had the work ethic to try hard in school. It’s something that I cared about.”

He cited two of his history teachers, Edward Merriam and William Trucillo, as major reasons for his success. He thanked them for “pushing me across the finish line.” With encouragement from Merriam, he created an after-school political discussion club. Timothy also spent four years on the Lakeland High School Debate Team.

His love of business and economics developed during his senior year while taking an AP macroeconomics class taught by Michael Schaper. Though he initially wanted to be a history teacher, Timothy has decided to change course and study economics at Villanova.

Timothy said he will miss his friends and teachers from Lakeland High School, but is excited for the college learning experience. Living away from home for the first time, Timothy is also excited to make new friends and have more independence. He said the friendly spirit at Villanova enticed him to enroll in the school.

Timothy said he will look back fondly on his time in Yorktown and is especially encouraged by the community’s giving spirit.

“I think Yorktown, in a lot of ways, is an exceptional town,” Timothy said. “Our schools are great. There are so many different ways people get involved, whether it’s the church, the Leos. The people around here really care about what happens. People live, serve and work in the community. I always thought this was a great town to grow up in.”