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SWRSD Congratulates Top Two Students!

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As a freshman, Shoreham-Wading River High School’s James Minetti set a goal to break a five-minute mile on the track. He didn’t think it was achievable but trained diligently and learned of the value of pushing through pain. His diligence in his high school career has paid off: James has been named Class of 2024 valedictorian. James and fellow senior and salutatorian Lucas Portuese will lead their classmates at commencement on June 21.

James, who has a weighted GPA of 104.42, doesn’t think class rank defines one’s achievements, but is nevertheless honored by the recognition. He was hopeful for the status, believing in his dedication towards a rigorous caseload, which included 13 Advanced Placement and six honors courses. He is a skilled musician as both a pianist and a violist and is a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society. He plays viola in SWR’s Orpheus Ensemble, Ensemble and Chamber Orchestra, as a first chair in the Chamber Orchestra and has been selected to Long Island String Festival Association, New York State Council of Administrators of Music Education and Suffolk County Music Educators’ Association festivals.

James is also a member of the high school’s Brainstormers, Mathletes and National Honor Society, where he was inducted based on his strong academics, leadership skills and volunteer efforts. He has taken seven AP exams and achieved a score of 5 on each one of them. James has also been a member of the varsity cross-country and winter and spring track teams for all four years of high school. He has been named All-Academic and All-League and served as captain in his senior year. 

James has also received many honors including a National Merit Commended Student, a Rensselaer Metal Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement in math and science and Underclassmen Recognition Awards for Excellence in English, Mathematics, Orchestra and Science. He has been named a scholar-athlete and a scholar-musician and he was also honored by the American Mathematics Competition for placing 1st and 2nd in the AMC 12.
James’ community service activities are varied and include practicing and performing for a string quartet at an assisted living home and a veteran home with the Shoreham-Wading River Youth Ensemble, assisting at the Holtsville Ecology Center’s greenhouse as a member of NEXUS and leading elementary school children in running practices and meets as part of the Shoreham-Wading River Community Track program.

James will join the freshman class at the University of Notre Dame where he will major in biochemistry. He looks forward to challenging himself with various science classes and eventually applying to medical school. His six words of wisdom to his classmates and future seniors of Shoreham-Wading River High School are “Don’t just participate – engage and enjoy.”

Salutatorian Lucas Portuese is excited to be recognized for his achievements in high school and is grateful to teachers and others who have guided him in his success. He graduates with a weighted GPA of 103.03. Lucas noted that his selection as an All-State musician performing on double bass has taught him the value of dedication and hard work in achieving his goals. He has taken advantage of many of the high school’s offerings, including 11 AP classes and five honors classes. He is a member of the school’s Brainstormers, Chamber Orchestra, Mathletes, National Honor Society, Orpheus Ensemble and Tri-M Music Honor Society. He plays for the Wildcats tennis and soccer teams. Outside of school, he is a member of the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York. Lucas has been honored with Principal’s List status and awards as a scholar-artist and scholar-musician, as well as undergraduate awards in orchestra, social studies, math and physical education. He has also been honored as part of the All-State Symphonic Band, as an AP Scholar with Distinction, the Long Island String Festival Association orchestra, Suffolk County Music Educators Association orchestra and as an All-League tennis player.

Lucas will leave Shoreham-Wading River High School peers with these wise words, “Your only limit is your mind” before embarking on his undergraduate career at Binghamton University to study computer science.

Date Added: 4/12/2024