South Side High School recognizes its top scholars

Muscarella, Reardon, Bracco to deliver graduation speeches


Three South Side High School seniors will represent the Class of 2024 at the graduation ceremony in June.

“This year’s valedictorian of the Class of 2024 is a true class act,” Patrick Walsh, principal of South Side High School told the school board at its March 21 meeting. “He’s polite, self-motivated, passionate, athletic, and respectful to his classmates, coaches and teachers. We have witnessed first-hand his work ethic and commitment to excellence in all that he does.”

Michael Muscarella was named valedictorian of the Class of 2024 for his hard work and determination, which administrators say, reflects what they hope to see from their scholar-athletes.

He is an International Baccalaureate diploma candidate, president of the DECA Club, captain of the varsity lacrosse team, a tenor saxophone player and is heavily involved in several service-based organizations in the school and community.

Muscarella is also a member of the world language, math, science and Tri-M honor societies. He played defensive end for the Nassau County champion football team and is one of 21 DECA Club students who recently qualified for the upcoming International Career Development Conference in Anaheim, California at the end of April.

Lucy Reardon was named salutatorian for the Class of 2024 for her academic performance and leadership qualities.

“Teachers rely on her for insightful answers and thought-provoking questions,” Walsh said. “She also isn’t afraid to lend a hand as evidenced by her work as a tutor for middle school students.”

Reardon displays an incredible understanding of leadership and time management. She successfully handles her school work, plays three varsity sports, works part-time jobs, and volunteers with Camp Anchor and the Backyard Players and Friends. She is also class president and a member of the DECA Club, Best Buddies, Spanish Club, Debate Club, and Model UN.

In addition to her many roles, she played an integral part in planning homecoming, the junior gala and Prom fundraisers.

“I still remember last year’s Junior carnival, which was one of the most unbelievable events we hosted in a while,” Walsh said. “While we are sad to see this student graduate, we are all confident that she is exiting our school having made a lasting impact on so many of our programs and our staff.”

This year’s graduation will also feature a presentation to National Merit Scholarship finalist Sophia Bracco.

“Academically this student is unparalleled, having opted to take the most challenging courses that we offer here at our school,” Walsh said. “One of her teachers commented, ‘It’s like having a teaching assistant in the room. She posts notes, reminds everyone of deadlines, asks the questions others are afraid to ask, and creates answer sheets for class activities.”

The National Merit Scholarship program is an academic competition that was created in 1955. Each year, only 15,000 students nationwide are recognized, based on their scores on the PSATs as well as other academics and school-related activities. Out of the 15,000 finalists, about half will be awarded with National Merit Scholarships based on their abilities, skills and accomplishments.

Fascinated by science,  Bracco traveled more than two hours every day last summer to conduct research at Stony Brook University’s Garcia Center for Polymers at Engineered Interfaces. Working with two of her classmates, they studied a substance known as partially reduced graphene oxide and its reaction to hydrogen peroxide, to see if it would enhance the speed of blood clotting.

As a result of their efforts, all three students were selected by the Material Research Society to present their findings in front of faculty from some of the nation’s top colleges at the society’s fall meeting and exhibition in Boston, last November.

In addition to her outstanding academic performance, Bracco serves as senior class treasurer and is an active participant in theater, quiz bowl and the intergenerational sharing conference.

“We’re super proud of you and we can’t wait to see what comes next,” Rockville Centre schools Superintendent Matthew Gaven said. “We’re truly honored to have you as a part of our family.”

Gaven congratulated Muscarella, Reardon and Bracco for their accomplishments over the last four years, and acknowledged their parents for their unwavering support to provide their students with the tools needed to succeed now and in the future.

“We are so proud of these three exceptional South Side High School students,” Walsh stated following the presentation. “Their hard work and perseverance over their time at this high school has paid off for them and they deserve every bit of this recognition. I am so happy for them and their families.”