The valedictorians and salutatorians for the John L. Miller–Great Neck North High School and William A. Shine–Great Neck South High School Class of 2017 were featured in last week’s Great Neck Record. Other significant graduation awards include the annual Barstow and Scott Moss, as well as two new awards, the George B. Motchkavitz Scholarship and PAL Senior Award. Read about these awards and this year’s recipients.
The coveted Frederic Duclos Barstow Award was established in 1962 by prominent Great Neck residents Françoise and William Barstow, after whom Barstow Road is named, in memory of their only son who died of pneumonia at age 35. The Barstow Award is presented annually to two students at each high school, who are in the top 10 percent of their class and are “outstanding in leadership, citizenship, scholarship and service.” Each recipient receives a monetary prize.
North High School’s valedictorian and salutatorian are traditionally their school’s Barstow Award winners. They are Valedictorian Zachary Lee and Salutatorian Joseph Taied, who were featured in last week’s paper. South High’s Barstow Award winners are Jabin Pu and Shrinath Viswanathan.
Pu was an Advanced Placement Scholar and a member of several sports teams, including Cross Country, Swimming and Winter & Spring Track. She was a member of Community Action Committee, Indoor Climbing Club and Yoga Club. Pu will attend The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science & Art.
Viswanathan was an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction and a National Merit Scholarship Commended Student. He was president of the Student Body and Future Educators of America, vice president of DECA and treasurer of The Cure. Viswanathan was a member of the Junior Varsity and Varsity Tennis teams, and a two-year participant in the Columbia University Science Honors Program. He will attend Carnegie Mellon University.
Scott Moss Memorial Award
The Scott Moss Award was established in 1977, in memory of this outstanding South High student who died of cancer. The award is given to the graduating senior who exemplifies the “service, concern, interest and ability of Scott Moss.” This year’s recipient of South High School’s Scott D. Moss Memorial Award is Haley Raphael.
Raphael was an Advanced Placement Scholar with Honor and a National Merit Scholarship Program Commended Student. She was active in Tennis, Robotics, DECA, Student Government and TV Production. Raphael was also co-editor-in-chief of The Southerner, the school newspaper. She will be attending Duke University in the fall.
George B. Motchkavitz Scholarship
The George B. Motchkavitz Scholarship, a new award at South High School this year, was established in memory of George Motchkavitz, a lifelong Great Neck resident and member of the Great Neck Alert Fire Company for more than 70 years, where he served as chief, president and trustee. This award, which will be given annually until 2027, the year that would have been Motchkavitz’s 100th birthday, is presented to the senior who has taken business/technology classes and who has demonstrated positive service to both South High and to the local community. The first recipient of the George B. Motchkavitz Scholarship is Nicole Kuzler.
Kuzler was a member of Academic Outreach Club and Robotics. She participated in Junior Varsity Basketball and Varsity Softball. Outside of school, she was a member of Travel Softball for Team Xtreme and CYO Girls Basketball. Kuzler was also a member of the National Society of High School Scholars. She will be attending Stevens Institute of Technology, where she will be studying engineering and plans to play softball.
PAL Senior Award
The PAL Senior Award, also new at South High, is given to a senior in good standing with the school who has a record of community service either with local youth or the elderly, or is involved in any public-service program or school-service club. The recipient of this award is Danielle Del Ponte.
Del Ponte was an active participant in AWARE (All Ways Are Really Exceptional) Club and Midnight Run. She played Junior Varsity and Varsity Basketball, Varsity Lacrosse and Varsity Soccer. Del Ponte also played on a travel soccer team and assisted the Great Neck Spirits Special Olympics Basketball Team. She will attend the State University of New York at Cortland.
Read the complete graduation speeches from the Great Neck North Class of 2017: Yunyi (Anita) Zhang and Zachary Lee, and from Great Neck South: Rachel Brenner, Isabella Harnick, Benjamin Newman, Joshua Putter, Shrinath Viswanathan and Melody Yang.
Learn about the 2017 valedictorians and salutatorians here.