Photo by Rachel Steinberger: “Salutatorian Olivia Pollack and Valedictorian Steven Rome look back”
Valedictorian and salutatorian balance academic excellence with wealth of activities
Valedictorian Steven Rome and Salutatorian Olivia Pollack found success both inside and outside of the classroom during their four years at Mamaroneck High School.
Rome, who plans to major in one of the humanities at Yale University, has always been passionate about social studies and English. His interest stemmed from a love of writing, whether it was creative or analytical, and in-class discussions and debates. In addition, Rome credited the ability of the humanities to “make you think deeply about who we are as a society and who we are as individuals,” and his AP US Government and Politics class with Mr. Liberti for inspiring him to take political science courses in college.
Alex Haft, who wrote an essay praising Rome, credited Rome’s success to his tendency to “treat everything he does and everyone he meets with unbelievable respect,” and the fact that “for every bit as smart as [he] is, he’s equally humble.” Haft also stated that Rome is someone who doesn’t take his “intellect for granted” and “genuinely wants to learn.”
Rome’s love of learning was reflected by many of his extracurricular activities, which coincided with his academic interests. These activities included a two-year run as Editor-In-Chief of the Globe, and membership in Model Congress for four years. In Model Congress, Rome enjoyed attending conferences with other schools, and the thought provoking debates that took place. He also liked meeting and collaborating with other people, a common thread that extended to his interest in sports.Rome played soccer and baseball recreationally, and basketball both recreationally and in the Westchester Jewish Basketball League. He was also involved outside the lines: umpiring baseball, participating in the Sports Management and Debate Club, and occasionally announcing high school sporting events for LMCTV.
One of Rome’s favorite high school memories was when he traveled to New Hampshire with the AP US History and Government class to cover the New Hampshire primaries. He was able to ask candidates questions and interview attendees, resulting in a “truly authentic educational experience.” Rome also enjoyed working with “an incredible group of MHS teachers and fellow seniors” to produce content, and a personal highlight of his was working in the spin room at the Republican debate with fellow senior Hannah Kahn. Rome credited Mr. Liberti, who Rome couldn’t “thank enough,” for the amount of work he did to make the trip happen.
Another highlight of Rome’s included the Lincoln Trial in 11th grade. This took place in one of his favorite classes, AP US history with Ms. Scudder, where he also enjoyed the interesting curriculum and i n – c l a s s discussions. English 11H with Ms. Elmoznino and AP Literature with Mr. Bosch were also a couple of Rome’s favorite courses, since he had the opportunity to read and analyze amazing books while also writing fun, creative pieces. Rome credits “[his] teachers, Ms. Clain, and everyone else who helped [him]” for making “MHS such a special place,” and thanks his parents for “all their support and love along the way.”
Salutatorian Olivia Pollack also maximized her time at MHS. One of the activities she took part in was playing the viola, which she started in 3rd grade. As an MHS student, Pollack was a member of both the Symphony Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra, which she credits her dedication to with the school district’s strong music program. Pollack’s involvement with the Symphony Orchestra gave her one of her favorite memories at the
high school, attending the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) and winning the highest honor, gold with distinction. Pollack remarked that “it was exhilarating to showcase pieces that we had practiced for the entire year,” and that winning the award was “a special culminating experience for us as part of the MHS Orchestra.”
A favorite aspect of the orchestra, and all extracurricular activities, for Pollack was “the interpersonal connections formed.” In the orchestra she enjoyed “working with wonderful instructors and strengthen[ing] friendships that she will always treasure,” and the “camaraderie of being with others who share a common interest in music.”
In another one of Pollack’s principal activities, the Chatsworth Tutoring Club, she enjoyed being with the students, who had a “refreshing perspective on the world,” and was “gratified to witness their academic progress.” In the club, her main activity was helping the children with their homework, and she hopes to continue doing similar work in college. Melanie Katz, who was, along with Pollack, copresident of the club, stated that Pollack succeeds because “she always takes her time and doesn’t rush through anything,” while always having been “extremely responsible and smart.” Katz even recalled that “adults would be the ones to ask [Pollack] for directions and [that] she would plan out all the details for their vacations to Disney World.”
Pollack, who will be attending Columbia University in the fall, is uncertain in what she will major in, but is “confident that Columbia’s Core Curriculum will give [her] broad exposure to different fields of study that will help [her] clarify [her] area of concentration.” A couple of subjects that Pollack intends to study in college include American studies and biological sciences. She was drawn to American studies because of AP US History, which she enjoyed because it “emphasized the larger picture in various historical eras,” which allowed her to “appreciate how the past sheds light on the present, making [her] a more informed, engaged citizen.”
Pollack’s other area of interest, biological sciences, was inspired by her mother’s profession, genetic counseling, which has “shown [her] how the application of [biological] sciences can approve the human condition.” In addition, Pollack has been drawn to the subject area because of her enjoyment of biology and chemistry. Pollack named AP Chemistry as her favorite class in high school. Pollack credited “Mr. Seck’s enthusiasm and genuine interest in his students,” identifying him as a “teacher [she] will never forget.”
Both Valedictorian Steven Rome and Salutatorian Olivia Pollack have excelled in all of their endeavors during their four years at MHS. Their academic accomplishments and extensive extracurricular activities have made them well-rounded students who have certainly left their mark at MHS.
By Jack Mollin