Caroline Meehan, valedictorian
Caroline Meehan finished at the top of East Islip’s Class of 2020 with a 109.22 weighted GPA. She plans on attending Northeastern University in the …
Caroline Meehan finished at the top of East Islip’s Class of 2020 with a 109.22 weighted GPA. She plans on attending Northeastern University in the upcoming academic year and intends to study mechanical engineering.
Meehan said she has always been interested in math and science and chose a major relevant to those subjects. She added that art can be incorporated into mechanical engineering alongside its technical aspects.
In addition to her brother attending Northwestern University, Meehan chose the school because she appreciates the atmosphere and also made note of its considerable reputation for academics. Another reason she picked Northeastern was because of its running club and the large running community. Meehan ran cross country and track for East Islip throughout high school. In her senior year, she was appointed captain of both the cross country and track teams.
“It has definitely been a big way that I have spent my time over the past four years. Between schoolwork and running, that is how I spend most of my time. Even now during quarantine, it is something that helps me clear my head and feel active and get out of the house,” said Meehan.
Meehan plays the violin and was chosen for New York State Council of Administrators of Music Education’s festival in her junior and senior years. Throughout high school, she has also been selected to perform in the Long Island String Festival as well as the Suffolk County Music Educators Association Festival. Meehan is the concertmaster and president of the symphony orchestra, as well as the president of the Tri-M Honor Society. She also participated in pit and chamber orchestras.
Meehan mentioned two individuals in the district who have had a large influence on her success: Firstly, Coach Reynolds, her coach for cross country as well as spring and winter track, who has been a significant piece in Meehan’s support system.
“He always offered unwavering support, whether I had a bad race or a great race,” Meehan said. “Just being excited for me that I went out there and put in the effort that I could.”
The second person she noted was Mr. Figliozzi, her art teacher for multiple years during high school. With art, Meehan concentrated on drawing musical instruments in different and more creative ways.
“He wanted me to incorporate my other interests into art, which is really great,” Meehan said. “I knew that I didn’t want to go into art specifically, but he helped me realize I can still incorporate art in what I do.”
Justine Rizzo is the Class of 2020 salutatorian for East Islip, with a 107.94 weighted GPA. She anticipates attending the University of Delaware in the fall and plans on studying chemical engineering in the honors program at the school.
Rizzo said she chose the university based on its esteemed chemical engineering program, and she chose her major because of her interest in math and science.
She is a co-president of the National Honor Society and considers this role to be one that will benefit her in her professional career.
“That taught me a lot about leadership and organization skills with other people,” Rizzo said. “Me and my other co-president would run all the meetings, so we would have to play a big part in all the various events we did to service the community.”
When asked about notable individuals in her support system, Rizzo mentioned her parents.
“They were always there to help me with everything,” she said. “They gave me a lot of independence to really focus on my schoolwork to help me achieve being [the] salutatorian, and I am grateful for them for that.”
Rizzo said that after receiving a degree in chemical engineering, she intends to use it productively and make something good out of it.
“I chose that because it is very broad, and you have opportunities to create new things and improve already-existing things,” she said.