Seaford High School is sending two successful Class of 2019 seniors into the college world in the fall.
Valedictorian Lauren King and salutatorian Eric Schneider have both accomplished a lot during their high school careers.
As the valedictorian, King has the highest grade point average of all the students in the senior class, at 103.8. In her four years at Seaford, King has taken 11 Advanced Placement (A.P.) courses, including English literature, U.S. history and biology.
“I would definitely say that I am pretty involved here at Seaford High School,” she said.
King is a part of every band offered at the high school, including pit orchestra, pep band, jazz band, symphonic band and concert band. She is also the president and captain of the robotics team as well as the captain of the field hockey team. She has also been a part of the Mathletes team, mock trial and the key club.
“The one that I find most dear to my heart is definitely robotics,” she said. She said she joined the team as a freshman and was the only girl, and one of three other ninth-graders.
She also volunteers with FIRST Robotics — an international organization with programs for kindergarteners through 12th-graders—, where she helps out at competitions. She also volunteers as an assistant coach with the St. William the Abbot Sharks swim team. Additionally, she is a lifeguard and swim instructor for the Town of Southampton, as well as an avid surfer.
King said it can get a little bit crazy balancing her academics with extracurricular activities. “But you just find random times anywhere, in the middle of doing anything, to do the homework, study for the tests and try to get all that work done,” she said, “but then also be super involved in extracurriculars.”
“For me personally, I find that having a very tight schedule, a very busy schedule, it gets me to do things more effectively and faster but also better,” she said. “I think that’s definitely helped me throughout high school and will likely help me when I go to college as well.”
Next year, King will attend Rensselear Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, to study nuclear engineering. Last summer, she interned at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, where she worked in the organization’s national nuclear data center. She studied radioisotopes in positron emission tomography imaging for cancer treatment.
“I did find that to be super-interesting, of course very challenging, but it was a very interesting experience,” she said. “I think, personally, career-wise I’d probably like to follow a similar path to that.”
King said she genuinely did not know she would be the valedictorian. “I know that might sound a bit cliché, but I really didn’t think it was going to be me,” she said. “There’s so many talented people in our grade that I thought it could be any of us. So when I did find out it was me, I was absolutely ecstatic. I was so excited!”
Schneider agreed with King, saying he also did not expect to be the salutatorian. He said 25 students with the top grade-point average in the senior class are sent a letter in the mail naming them on this list. “I remember talking with a lot of my friends — a lot of people who I thought would have been it,” he said. “It’s ironic, because that night I came home to the mail and was like ‘oh my top 25 thing,’ and it said salutatorian. That was a huge surprise.”
Schneider has a grade point average of 103.08. He has been his class president every year since ninth grade. “I’ve helped with pep rallies, spirit week, homecoming [and] I’ll be helping with prom [and] graduation,” he said. “So I’m definitely involved with the grade itself.”
Schneider is the general chair of Model Congress, the school’s debate club. He is also a freshman mentor and the treasurer of the drama club. He also runs on the cross country and track teams. “It’s fun getting involved in everything,” he said.
Additionally, he volunteers as the captain of the Seaford Fire Department Explorer program — a junior firefighting program — and he volunteers at St. William the Abbot church, in Seaford.
Schneider said out of all of his in-school extracurricular involvements, he loves being the president of the class the best of all. “I just like getting involved with everyone,” he said.
Schneider also has taken 11 A.P. courses since his freshman year, such as environmental science, A.P. Capstone Research and literature. “Being in a lot of the accelerated classes, all of the advanced classes, like Lauren, you’re kind of stuck with the same 20 people in all your classes,” he said. “So being the president of the class, you’re able to talk to people who take other classes [and] like other things than you, and you talk to your entire grade.”
Schneider said being in the accelerated classes is not as hard as it seems. He prefers to see them not as challenges, but because he enjoys the subject matter. “I like taking the accelerated classes, not because I like putting it on my transcript, but more because it’s more interesting,” he said.
In the fall, Schneider will attend Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus in Manhattan to study international affairs. As a junior, he will begin a pre-law track in order to attend law school after he graduates. He said he might also go into the Peace Corps in between graduating college and starting law school. He interned for Congressman Peter King as well as Jeffrey Pravato, the mayor of Massapequa Park.