Last week, we congratulated the graduating seniors at Great Neck North and Great Neck South high schools and offered details on the winners of the traditional top awards—Valedictorian, Salutatorian, Barstow, and Scott Moss.
This week, we look at the five new awards, given this year for the first time.
Dennis Dallal Award
North High graduates Jonah Klempner and Julia Wolf are co-recipients of the Dennis Dallal Award for reflecting, in the words of Dina Dallal Khani, his sister, “Dennis’ natural ability to make people around him feel important.” The recipients of this award should be “accepting, compassionate, and kind towards others.” Jonah Klempner was an Advanced Placement Scholar with Honor and an active member of the school’s Chess Club and Team, taking awards on the state and county level and at chess competitions outside of school. He was active in social causes, co-captaining the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island Walk-a-Thon and participating in walks to raise funds for autism, arthritis, and cancer research, among others. During elections, he works to get out the vote. Klempner was a Peer Mentor and a member of DECCA, earning an award on the state level. He was an actor and set crew for school plays. Klempner will attend SUNY-Binghamton University in the fall.
Julia Wolf worked for several social causes, including Adopt-A-Dream, Breast Cancer Walk-a-Thon, Relay for Life, Great American Bake Sale, and Special Olympics. She was captain of the volleyball team, named All-Conference and Most Valuable Player, and won a silver medal in the Pan American Maccabi Game. Wolf captained the softball team and played on the basketball team. She was TV North Club vice president, an Athletic Leadership Club officer, and a member of Peer Drug Awareness, Peer Leadership, Art Club, Model Congress, and Model UN. Wolf plans to attend Purdue University.
Fran Harman Award For Excellence In The Performing Arts
Steven Telsey won the Fran Harman Award for Excellence in the Performing Arts, established in memory of Fran Harman, a gifted director, choreographer, technician, and stage manager who brought out the best in students at South High School for 30 years. “My sister loved the school and the performances,” said Andrea Broveto, Harmon’s sister. “We are honored for her.” Award recipients should pursue a career in the performing arts and exemplify the standards Harman set for herself and others.
Telsey was the winner of the Gershwin (Musical Theater) Award for Best Leading Actor in the New York City region, and earned a Superior Rating and “Best of Fest” for his co-performance of a scene at the New York Educational Theatre Festival. He was a four-year participant, playing major roles, in South High operas, musicals, and plays (encompassing 11 productions), and performed in the One-Act Plays during his sophomore and junior years. He was an assistant director of Is He Dead? (the only production in which he did not perform) and director of a One-Act Play. He was also co-president of Theatre South. Steven sang tenor in an ensemble that performed at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Young Musicians Concert. He was a tenor section leader of Mixed Choir, a leader of Barbershop Quartet, and a member of A Capella and Chamber Choir. Steven will attend Elon University.
Environmental Stewardship Award
This award, given to a student who has demonstrated a passionate interest and commitment to caring for the environment in the Town of North Hempstead, was presented to Elizabeth Chi.
Ryan L. Sims Memorial Award
South High graduates Elizabeth Chi and Cristina Lai are dual recipients of the Ryan L. Sims Memorial Award, given to an outstanding student in science and one in music. Ryan L. Sims was a South High School Class of 2007 graduate who died at the age of 23. At South, he excelled in science and music, playing the saxophone and clarinet, and received the school’s John Philip Sousa Award.
Elizabeth Chi was given the Sims Award for music. She played tenor saxophone in the Symphonic Band at the New York State School Music Association Conference All-State and in the Band at the All-County Music Festival. She was Section Leader in the Jazz Band, and a member of the Pit Orchestra. She is an Advanced Placement Scholar with Honor, having earned perfect scores on her four exams, and a National Merit Finalist. Chi was a Level 5 Silver Medal Winner in the National Spanish Exam. She was active in many clubs, notably serving as president of the Animal Rescue and Environment Awareness Club and founding the Envirothon Club. Chi has interned for two local politicians, and volunteered for the Alley Pond Environmental Center and the North Hempstead Democrats. She will be attending Cornell University in the fall.
Cristina Lai received the Sims Award for science. She was an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction, earning perfect scores on her five exams, and winner of a $2,500 National Merit Scholarship. Lai was a member of the First Place Science Olympiad Team A, a two-time member of second-place teams winning in General Biology at the WAC Lighting Foundation Invitational Science Fair, received Honorable Mention in Microbiology at the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair, and a Rising Scientist Award, presented by the Child Mind Institute. She played piano in an ensemble trio at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Young Musicians Concert. Lai was principal violinist in the Chamber Pit Orchestra and a violinist in the Chamber Orchestra, where she was also secretary. She was a Level 5 Gold Medal Winner in the National Spanish Exam. Cristina was president of the Science Olympiads Club and the Varsity Tennis Team. She was a grade representative on the school’s Shared Decision Making Committee. Cristina will attend Duke University.
North Shore Community Arts Council Certificate in Opera
This certificate, given to a student who has excelled in opera, was given to Steven Telsey.