In sports, it’s sometimes called a hat trick, or it’s a three-peat. For Rachel Lawrence’s family, it’s a legacy.
Whatever you call it, it’s certainly impressive.
When she takes to the podium on Saturday evening to give the farewell address to her classmates at the 2012 graduation ceremony, it will be the third year in a row that someone from Lawrence’s family has graduated as class valedictorian.
In 2011, her cousin, Samantha Cootner, gave the valedictorian address. Cootner went on to attend Brandeis University. In 2010, it was her brother David Lawrence, who is currently at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
It doesn’t end there.
“Ironically her mother was also Valedictorian when she graduated,” said Comsewogue school principal Joseph Coniglione.
Rachel's mother Cindy Horowitz graduated from Comsewogue in 1984 as valedictorian and went on to attend the University of Buffalo as an undergraduate and and received her MBA from Hofstra University. She’s currently the associate director and chief of operations helping to launch the new Museum of Mathematics in New York City, the first of its kind in North America.
Lawrence attributes her family’s success in academics to a good work ethic of her parents. Her father, Kevin, is an electrical engineer.
“I guess it comes down to the values of our family from a very young age to work at academics,” she said.
Lawrence said she was taught to have a dedication to studying.
“My family history instilled in me a value for learning,” she said.
He achievements, she says, are a reflection of that.
In the fall, she will attend Yale, and although she’s not 100 percent sure she thinks she will study biology and science. As for a future career, like most her age, she’s not sure but she has ideas.
“I’d like to do scientific research and I haven’t ruled out medical school,” Lawrence said.
In high school she spent time doing two research projects that got her interested in the sciences. One was with a math professor at New York University.
“I learned so much and had such a good time with it,” she said.
The other was an internship at Brookhaven National Lab where she was able to work with a physicist on a particle physics research project using data from the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider.
She loved the atmosphere at the lab said that she was inspired by the people there “collaborating together to figure out these mysteries.”
When she first heard that she was picked to be the Valedictorian for Comsewogue she was excited. On Saturday, Lawrence’s speech will be about what it means to graduate from high school as a metaphor for life as a journey.
“But not in a cliché,” she said. “It’s about what graduation means for students.”
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