YORKTOWN, N.Y. – No student embodies Yorktown High School’s philosophy of ESTEAM better than Marlee Pincus, salutatorian of the Class of 2018.

Introduced by the new administration, ESTEAM promotes an empathy-based approach to STEAM learning (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math).

On top of her academic success, Marlee also served as co-president of the high school’s Amnesty International club and co-founded the Beat the Hunger club, the latter of which raised awareness about hunger and organized food drives.

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At Cornell University in the fall, Marlee plans to enroll as a biology and society major. According to the school, some of the most critical social concerns facing the world today (food and population, genetic engineering, drug testing, environmental quality) are also “innately biological.”

All of these reasons are why Marlee was selected as the winner of the inaugural ESTEAM Award by Yorktown High School.

Also, at Cornell, Marlee said, she plans to minor in Spanish, about which she is “really passionate.” Two summers ago, she stayed with a host family in Costa Rica. She has also volunteered at Neighbors’ Link in Mount Kisco and participated in a Spanish immersion program at Middlebury College.

Eventually, Marlee would like to attend law school or medical school with the goal of a career in health care, possibly working with a Spanish-speaking clientele.

Marlee said being at the top of the class academically was something for which she never strived.

“It feels really nice because I was never working toward it, I was just doing the best I could,” she said. “So, it’s nice to be rewarded for all the hard work I’ve done and it’s an honor to represent our class. I feel very connected to Yorktown.”

Because of her flexible class schedule, Marlee wasn’t in school on that October morning when the administration called her down to the office. When she arrived, she wasn’t prepared for the news she was about to receive.

“My guidance counselor called me on my cell phone and I was like, ‘Hello?’ She said, ‘We need you to come in as soon as you can,”’ Marlee said. “I threw on my sweatpants, sweatshirt, put my hair in a bun and I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I’m trouble. This is really bad.’ When I got there, the whole administration was there and I looked like a mess.”

At Yorktown, Marlee’s favorite subjects were math and science. She said Mary Froats (math) and Sean Kennedy (history) were among her favorite teachers.

A three-season athlete, Pincus ran cross-country, winter track and spring track and was the race walker for Yorktown High School. Race walking is a long-distance discipline in which walkers must always keep one foot on the ground.

She also served as public relations officer for the Class of 2018, was a peer tutor at the high school’s Writing Center and a teaching assistant for Spanish at the middle school.

At the time of this interview, Marlee said she hadn’t prepared much of her speech beyond the beginning: “Good afternoon…”

“I was going to talk about how we’ve evolved throughout the years, starting with when we came in as freshmen and [Principal Joseph] DeGenarro would always say these four years are going to define who you are, and they really have,” Marlee said.

Though she is excited for what lies ahead, Marlee said she will miss the supportive community at Yorktown High School.