When life gets difficult for Shannen Peters, Valley Stream Christian Academy’s valedictorian, she has her religion to give her strength.
On April 1, 2005, Peters and her family converted to Christianity after her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her religion, she said, gives her the confidence to face anything.
“Things have been thrown at us and there’s been many obstacles, but because of our religion, we were able to stand strong and we were able to push forward,” she said. “It’s just really important that I continue to push forward. I know God will always be on my side if I continue to trust and believe in him.”
Peters’ mother is now a survivor and one of Peters’ biggest role models. “There are so many good things about her,” she said. “I want to be exactly like her. She sees a future for herself and she continues to go towards the plans for herself. I just want to be like that. I want to set my standards high and then achieve them in the future.”
Studying biology at St. John’s University in the fall is in the near future for Peters, who said she hopes to become a neurologist. For right now, she’s focused on spending her last few days as a high school student.
Her fondest memory of high school has been Chapel Service, where Peters said she is able to comfortably share her love for God, and worship without feeling ashamed. “I know that there’s people around that have the same belief and the same faith,” she said, “and I won’t feel discouraged to say anything or do anything.”
Along with Chapel Service, Peters said she’s going to miss the teachers as well as the small class sizes that Valley Stream Christian Academy offers. The class of 2014 has 14 students graduating. “The teachers are very understanding, they’re very caring and they’re very concerned about us,” she said.
Peters was also involved in mock trial, math extra help, National Honor Society and Prayer Team while attending Valley Stream Christian Academy. In her spare time, Peters said she like to play the piano and the flute, she’s a big fan of gymnastics, cheerleading and dancing, and sometimes sings. One of her biggest hobbies, however, is perhaps the reason she is valedictorian. “I like to study,” she said. “That’s just the type of person I am.”