By Giselle Grassi
The Class of 2017 is truly a special one, as seen from their outstanding homecoming performance, their involvement in our school community and their kind gestures in our hallways here at Oyster Bay High School. Every student in the class has excelled tremendously throughout his or her years here at Oyster Bay, but two particular Baymen have raised the expectations that we all have for Valedictorian and Salutatorian, and their names are Jack Casey and Jed Kaiser.
Oyster Bay High School’s Class of 2017 Salutatorian is the aspiring doctor, Jed Kaiser. Along with an impressive GPA of 110.39, Jed is involved in every possible club and team, and he has revolutionized the expectations of what an A+ scholar and classmate should be. After sitting down with Jed and asking various questions about his time at OBHS and what he plans to do in his future, one could clearly notice Jed’s intelligence, kindness and dedication to not only his academics, but our school community as well.
The staple question of ‘who was the teacher who impacted you the most?’ resulted in Jed listing numerous educators, but the MOST impactful was Ms. Badean. “When I first entered 10th grade AP biology, I never even considered pursuing a medical career in the future, but when I took her class, she sort of showed me that I had a natural aptitude and affinity for biology, and it showed me how much I love biology and the sciences,” says Jed.
This later led to Jed’s nomination to the National Youth Leadership Forum in Medicine at the University of Chicago, which confirmed Jed’s love for medicine that he will carry on to Cornell University in the fall. In the future, Jed plans to study pre-med at Cornell and then he hopes to continue his education through medical school in order to become a doctor, but he doesn’t know what his specialty will be yet.
Jed’s biggest accomplishment besides being named salutatorian, which is something that he holds very close to his heart, is his award for a High Achieving Science Student as only 1 of 12 from Nassau County.
After asking what Jed’s secret key to success is, he said, “When it came to my academics, it was definitely to challenge myself because even though you should only take on as much as you can handle, I definitely spread myself thin, possibly a little too thin.” After doubling up in the most rigorous math and science courses, Jed’s schedule was the definition of rigorous, but it obviously worked well for him. He says that he knew that if he just applied himself that he could handle it, and in the end, it was because of those choices to challenge himself that he believes he is the Class of 2017s salutatorian.
Saying that Jed participated in a few clubs would be the understatement of the century. Jed was the President of the Interact club for two years, the Vice President of the International Club, the Secretary of Student Council and National Honor Society, and Opinion Editor for The Harbour Voice. Jed was also a member of various other clubs too. Some of these included Mathletes, Yearbook, and various honor societies. In addition, he was also the team captain of our tennis team here at Oyster Bay and is now an EMT outside of school.
As Jed prepares to leave OBHS, he recommends that underclassmen “do everything and give everything 100% and to at least try to challenge yourself with classes, leadership roles and community service positions. Not because it gets you into college, but simply because it makes you a better person overall.”
Jed leaves OBHS hoping to have left the message that you can still participate in extracurricular activities while being extremely dedicated to your academics and doing good deeds in our community. He also hopes that students remain linked with Oyster Bay, even when they get older, because coming from such a close-knit community as ours really contributes to our development.
Jack Casey is not your ordinary recipient of the prestigious title of Valedictorian. Similar to Jed, he is one of the top students whom OBHS has rightfully chosen to represent our school and all that it stands for. Along with Jack’s 110.42 GPA, he has all of the qualities that add up to a true Valedictorian. After a first encounter with Jack, one can tell just how intelligent, mature, generous, considerate and well-rounded he is. After learning more about his journey to the top of the class, I could clearly see how he has become the person he is today.
Jack is an aspiring biomedical-engineer who will be attending Binghamton University in the fall; he will pursue engineering at the Watson School of Engineering. He will be taking part in a research program called the Freshman Research Immersion Program where he will study Acoustic Analysis, but eventually he hopes to work in New York City at a biotech firm where he will probably produce organs with 3D printing methods and prosthetics. That might sound like a lot for your ordinary high school senior, or even a college student, to think about, but not Jack Casey.
When asked what his favorite part of OBHS was, Jack said, “There is such a wide range of opportunities that are easily accessible, and the size of the community here is so small that you can have great relationships between students and teachers.”
Speaking of teachers, Jack had one very special teacher in mind whom he chose as his most influential educator. Jack said that the teacher who has impacted him the most is “Mr. Knapp because he is so wise and so great, and he has so much insight on what he teaches. He is so passionate about what he is saying and teaching that it has inspired me to work even harder.” Jack had Mr. Knapp as a teacher in 10th grade for Algebra 2/Trigonometry and again for Calculus BC. Jack says that “[Mr. Knapp] has guided me on the path of going into the field of math and science.”
Jack’s key to success is “to make sacrifices because you have to limit yourself to the amount of fun you can have if you want to be in the position of working hard and getting good grades.” Jack explained that for him, it was a natural instinct to work hard and limit himself; he also added that his parents were influential to his success. He explained that another component to his success was “to just stay determined and have the will power, the determination and the foresight of what you want to become.” For Jack, that meant becoming Valedictorian.
Jack participated in many clubs like The Harbour Voice, Agapae, and Yearbook, among others, which helped show that he had an interest in a wide variety of things. He also participated in running at a varsity level, as well as baseball. He is also a lifeguard and swimming instructor. Jack explained his reasoning for being so involved with clubs and sports when he said, “If I was just a student, there would be nothing special about me, and I wanted to show that I could do anything I want if I put my mind to it.”
Some of Jack’s biggest accomplishments include his science awards that were given to him because he exemplified excellence in science. This was proven when he shadowed at the Cold Spring Harbor DNA Laboratories on his free time. Another one of his accomplishments was how he was able to improve his writing at OBHS. After reviewing his writing portfolio, which included assignments from the last four years, he was able to really see an improvement in his own work, which is an accomplishment in itself.
To the underclassmen, Jack recommends “to visualize yourself 10 years from now because you have to stay committed, and you have to keep yourself organized and prioritize what is important to you. If getting into a good college is what you really desire, then go for it, but you have to remember to stay committed to it.” He also says not to stress about everything too much because these are the best times of your life, and there is no point in doing something that you hate in the future when you could be pursuing your passion instead.
After Jack leaves Oyster Bay High School, he hopes that he will be remembered for his contributions to our school community and being a part of creating the 2017 Yearbook because being “able to bring everyone’s memories together and make that one uniform, physical copy of your time at OBHS is something that is definitely worth being memorable.”
The way that Jack has treated others is another mark that he hopes to leave on OBHS because he helped direct underclassmen through tutoring and advising, and in turn, they acted the same way towards their peers. Jack believes that other people in our school community have noticed this as well, and now others are leaving a more social mark on our school, which is all for the better.