WILLIAM FLOYD SCHOOLS

Meet the valedictorian, salutatorian for Floyd's class of 2020

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Valedictorian: Nathalia Reis 104.12 (weighted)

Intended college/after high school plans:

After high school, I will be attending Yale University to continue my educational career. Though I am not certain of what exactly I will do there, I’m looking forward to exploring and enjoying a myriad of new experiences and meeting new people. I hope to pursue a major either in ethics, politics, and economics or in English. I hope to find a career that I am truly passionate about that allows me to make a positive change in the world, but as of right now I’m trying to keep an open mind and see what opportunities unfold.

Most influential teacher and impact:

Junior year of high school, I took AP English Language and Composition with Ms. Viveca Nargi and I have never had such an influential experience in my academic career. Through this course, Ms. Nargi challenged me to evaluate why I think what I think and overcome my preconceptions. She showed me the importance of nuance and detail in conveying your ideas through the art of the English language. A single word may seem insignificant, but its connotations can have monumental impacts on how others understand you. Through this course, I learned that language is not simply a way of describing our shared humanity—it is our humanity. Language is not only the way we speak or read, it is the way we feel, the way we act, and the way we live. Outside of class, Ms. Nargi’s extra-help period was always a safe space to talk about anything and everything going on in the world through an open-minded and accepting lens. Ms. Nargi taught me how to express my emotions as a strong woman and I would not be the person I am today if I had not taken her class.

How has your hometown contributed to your success?

The William Floyd community has shown me what it truly means to be strong. In such an incredibly diverse community, we somehow seem to use our differences to bring us together. Throughout all our challenges, from facing Hurricane Sandy to financial hardships to the current impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, our community has consistently come together to overcome the impossible. I am consistently amazed at the incredible support and love that people in my community have for each other and I know that no matter what I do, I always have that William Floyd family behind me to support me. My community has given me the strength to keep going when times get tough and I will carry that with me forever.

How do you want to impact the world in your lifetime?

I hope to find a way to make the world a fairer and more accepting place by giving a voice to those who have not had the opportunities to do so. As a child of immigrants coming from a community that faces such unique challenges, I’ve seen firsthand how the systems we have in place can be less than adequate at solving the problems we face, and I hope to somehow be able to make an impact by changing the way we as a society approach fixing these problems. I want to keep an open mind and help people in the ways they need, not in the way I think they need. I hope that even [with] small actions, like being kind and listening to all opinions, I can start step- by-step making an impact on the world around us.

Salutatorian: Maille Bowerman 103.866 (weighted)

Intended college/after high school plans:

I’m planning on attending the University of Virginia, where I will double major in public policy and chemistry. My goal is to pursue a career in policy consulting regarding environmental issues and infrastructure.

Most influential teacher and impact:

A teacher that stands out along my high school teachers is probably Ms. Viveca Nargi, my 11th-grade AP English Language and Composition teacher. She truly taught me the analytical skills I needed to write better, but also to solve problems in every subject. Her class taught me how to listen and really understand others, and how to open up myself to new experiences and challenges to grow.

How has your hometown contributed to your success?

The William Floyd community has shown me what it means to be dedicated, and more importantly how important it is to help others. This community never fails to look out for those who need it most in the wake of natural disasters, economic downturns, and even pandemics. The love and support our community offers and its dedication to give back has inspired me to do my own community service, and to push myself to succeed so that I can give back in the future.

How do you want to impact the world in your lifetime?

I believe that in order to safeguard our future, politicians need to start working with scientists to create smart, proactive legislation that combats climate change. My goal is to make policies that overhaul our existing infrastructure, protect the communities most at risk, and move toward an energy-conscious, sustainable society.

Correction: The original version of this story had the incorrect GPA for Maille Bowerman.

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