The school year is almost over, which means Massapequa High School will be saying goodbye to its class of 2019 at the end of the month. These seniors will soon be heading off to universities across the U.S. and beyond. The classes top two students, Nino Baghashvili and Ariana Fang, will be representing the Chiefs at Ivy League schools Harvard University and Brown University, respectively, come the fall.
Baghashvili, who was named valedictorian after earning a 101.53 weighted GPA in her time at the high school, chose to go to Harvard for economics.
“When I went to Harvard, it was just a surreal feeling,” said Baghashvili. “It was such a great area and the community is so great. The thing that struck me when I was there is that everyone said ‘whatever you want to do, whatever you want to explore, there’s someone here that is the best in the world in the field.’ To be able to learn from such people would be such a humbling and rewarding experience.”
Baghasvili had many top achievements in her time at the school, including being named National Merit finalist, National AP Scholar, all-county track and third place in Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) state and international qualifier. She is the president of both the French Honor Society and the Science Research Club. Outside of school, she worked at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center as an intern.
“The class that has meant the most to me was French,” said Baghashvili. “I’ve been developing the same skills since seventh grade. It’s become such a tight knit community. We just have so much fun and I love learning about different cultures and going to different places.”
After earning a 101.19 weighted GPA, Fang was named salutatorian at the high school. She will be attending Brown as part of the university’s liberal medical education program.
“I’m really excited about Brown because it’s a very collaborative experience,” said Fang. “As you hear the story of other kids, it’s not competitive. It’s not toxic. Kids are helping each other all the time and asking nothing back in return. So they’re the same academic caliber as other schools without the toxicity.”
Fang has also had her fair share of achievements. She was named a National Merit semifinalist as well as a Long Island Science and Engineering Fair honorable mention. She is the captain of the Mock Trial team and was a Nassau County semifinalist in mock trial competition. In addition, she has served as a Science Olympiad captain, Research Club secretary and Chinese Club diplomat. She has also volunteered her time at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bethpage. Among her many experiences at the school, being apart of the Mock Trial team is one of the things Fang will remember most.
“They are like family to me,” said Fang. “Last year, we went to states and I was a witness on the team. This year, I moved up to being a lawyer and I did the opening for one of the sides. It was great being a co-captain and playing a huge role in that. It made me realize that, while I love medicine, I also want to pursue law as an interest as well.”
For these two scholars, their time in the Massapequa Public School District will never be forgotten.
“It really starts in elementary school,” said Baghashvili. “I came here in fourth grade without knowing English. I’ve gotten to know so many people who have helped share my experience. At the end of the day, I don’t think I’m going to remember everything I learned in high school, but I am going to remember the people and the memories I made.”
“I’ll definitely remember all the help my teachers have given me throughout the years,” said Fang. “Not just in the classroom, but also outside just to aid me and make my life easier. It reminded me that there is so much outside of the high school waiting for me.”
Massapequa High School will hold its graduation on Monday, June 24.