Pulaski Senior High School Principal Jay Altobello recently announced Emma van der Heide as Valedictorian and Jacqueline Novak and Annamarie Forestiere as Co-Salutatorians for the class of 2014.
Valedictorian van der Heide, is the daughter of Jill Eccleston and Jan van der Heide. She earned a cumulative grade point average of 99.67 and will attend Harvard University in the fall with an as yet undecided major. She has expressed an interest in biology or linguistics. Her favorite class in school was English, due in part, to her favorite teacher, Mr. Alan Woods. When asked why, she explained, “Mr. Woods encourages discussion and encourages us to look at the human condition rather than focusing on plot lines.”
When asked what she will miss most, she said “a lot of things, mostly my friends.” Her advice to others? “Remember that nobody’s perfect, so do the best you can, and be forgiving.” She has been involved a number of activities at the school including the boys varsity swim team and track team for four years, marching band, jazz band, chorus, drama productions, Envirothon, National Honor Society, and outside of school she has played piano for more than nine years.
Co-salutatorian Novak is the daughter of Ronald and Katherine Novak and earned a 99.328 GPA. She will attend Clarkson University in the fall to study environmental engineering. Her favorite classes at Pulaski High School were English and Science and her favorite teacher was Mr. Woods. “He uses literature to teach us about real life and morals. He encourages us to be ourselves.” She will miss the relationships she has developed with her teachers, her fellow students and the overall sense of community in the school. Her advice to others? “Make the most of every opportunity you are given – Carpe Diem!”
Novak has made the most of her time at the school with involvement in many extra-curricular activities including: student government, Earth Day, prom, pep fest, marching band, and Envirothon to name just a few.
Co-salutatorian Forestiere is the daughter of Paul and Patricia Forestiere and earned a 99.36 GPA. She will attend the University of Rochester in the fall and study Business Administration and Music which she hopes “will lead to my owning my own business or running someone else’s, and if that could be music-related that would be perfect,” she said. Her favorite classes were music theory and economics and Mrs. McCullough was her favorite teacher. “She is a teacher and a friend at the same time,” said Forestiere, adding, “and everything she teaches us is what we can use in real life.”
She has been involved in music, drama and musical productions, marching band, all-county band and chorus, cabaret and java jam to name a few of the music-focused activities. She has also been involved in many civic and community service projects at the school as well.