by Nicole Reitz
Mary West and Katelyn Caza, seniors at G. Ray Bodley High school, have earned this year’s title of valedictorian and salutatorian.
The students are good friends and have many things in common, including their hard work ethic and involvement in school and the community.
West’s final grade point average came to 103.092. She thought at the beginning of the school year that she was fourth in the class of 2013, but it wasn’t until she met with her guidance counselor that she found out that she was in fact number one.
West has almost always been an A student, but her over-100 average comes from her advanced placement classes, which are weighted.
Like valedictorians of past years, her favorite subjects are in math and the sciences.
“I like math because its definite and I’ve always been the best at it,” said West.
One of her favorite teachers is Mrs. Ryan, her AP Calculus teacher. “She’s always telling me how much she sees herself in me,” she said. “She has such big goals for all of us and she supports us no matter what.”
West also likes chemistry, so much so that she will be majoring in biochemistry at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the fall.
Last year, she got the Rensselaer Medal from the institute, along with a laptop scholarship.
West was attracted to RPI’s accreditations in engineering and science. It is also located 10 minutes from the state capital, where there are a lot of opportunities in the medical field.
West is the only Class of 2013 senior attending RPI. A lot of her friends will be going to college in the Rochester area, except her longtime best friend, who will be going to The College of St. Rose, minutes from RPI.
Branching out in college is what West considers her biggest challenge ahead. She is used to being around the same group of students from her AP classes. She is thinking of joining an intermural sports team, like ultimate frisbee.
West has already met a girl from Binghamton who she met on Facebook and will be her roommate.
“I’ve never had to share a room before, except with our dog,” said West.
West will enter RPI already having college credits. This year, she is taking AP calculus, biology, and micro/macroeconomics. She hasn’t given much thought yet to her graduation speech, because she is “just trying to survive AP tests right now.”
Recently, West wrote an essay for the Fulton Teachers Association, where she had to describe a specific experience with a teacher. West chose to write about Ms. Child-Dauphin, her AP World History Teacher for two years.
“I think she single handily helped me adjust to high school,” said West.
In middle school, West didn’t have to try for good grades, but started getting bad test scores in ninth grade world history.
“It wasn’t her, she wasn’t failing us, she was giving us everything we needed to succeed, I just wasn’t taking advantage of it,” said West. “The experience taught me a lot in terms of maturity, and facing the rest of my high school career.”
West also has Mr. Morse to thank, who influenced her enough to continue on with the sciences in college.
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