Rye Neck High School has named its distinguished seniors Gabriel Miller and Zachary Leontiou as valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, of the Class of 2021. Both students said they were honored to receive the school’s top honors.
Miller said it was rewarding to see all of his hard work and love of learning over the years come to fruition. He attributed his success to the support of his teachers and friends, who have encouraged him to pursue his passions, always believed in him and never stopped cheering him on.
“My experience at Rye Neck has been one of community,” Miller said. “From the moment I entered Rye Neck Schools 13 years ago, I felt a sense of togetherness. Having the fortune of growing up with scores of classmates since kindergarten, seeing each other grow and pursue our varied interests is a unique experience that I am grateful Rye Neck gave me.”
Throughout high school, Miller has participated in an array of extracurricular activities and held a variety of leadership roles, including president of the Student Senate, class treasurer, and co-captain of the Mock Trial and Science Olympiad teams. He is the founder and president of the school’s Mu Alpha Theta chapter, a principal researcher for Action Research for Community Change, and a member of the Library Advisory Board.
Miller will attend Williams College in the fall, where he plans to explore the school’s political economy program.
Leontiou attributed his success to his strong work ethic and drive toward achieving his goals, as well as the support of his family, friends, classmates and teachers. He described Rye Neck as a tight-knit community of kind, generous and unique people, with whom he has forged meaningful relationships.
“Since I was very young, I have possessed a great deal of internal motivation to succeed academically,” Leontiou said. “Over time, I built confidence in my own capabilities which pushed me to work hard on a consistent basis. At this point, the work ethic and drive are established habits and I am grateful that they have culminated in receiving this honor.”
Throughout his high school career, Leontiou has participated in a multitude of activities. He is a member of the Student Senate, baseball team and stage crew for the high school musical. Outside of school, he is a volunteer with the local ambulance corp, tutors students in math, science and social studies, and has completed a genetic research internship at Burke Neurological Institute.
Leontiou will attend Brown University in the fall, where he plans to pursue his passions in biology, psychology and philosophy.