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John Jay High School has named Sophie Lee as Valedictorian and Gregory Kaplan as Salutatorian for their 2017 graduating class.
“Congratulations to these two exceptional young people. They have woven the arts and service, as well as scholarship, into their lives in an impressive way,” said John Jay High School Principal Steven Siciliano.
Lee is a National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalist and recipient of the University of Pennsylvania Book Award in her junior year. In addition, she is an accomplished musician, having performed at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall as one of the winners of the 2016 New York Piano Festival. Lee also sings and plays violin with the children's choir at St. Mary of the Assumption Roman Catholic Church in Katonah. Last year, she was a volunteer piano teacher at Songcatchers, Inc., a New Rochelle organization that offers music instruction to disadvantaged youth.
Kaplan is a National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalist and member of the National Honor Society who also received the Yale University Book Award as well as the Latin Award in his junior year. He has received scholar-athlete awards for both cross country and track and field in each season of his high school career, and he plays alto saxophone in the John Jay High School Jazz Band. Kaplan has been a tutor with Reach Out John Jay and volunteered at the Dorothy Day Hospitality House in Danbury, Connecticut, this past summer, serving people who were in need of a hot meal.
For both students, learning is part of the creative process.
“Ever since I was little, I've loved writing stories, playing my instruments, and drawing, as well as being absorbed into the worlds of amazing writers and artists. Having the space and the time to explore these passions in school, especially with the guidance of a teacher to help me improve, is something really valuable,” said Lee.
Kaplan added, “We learn to think so that we may learn even more, and we should celebrate our knowledge and inspiration in artistic, creative ways.”