salutatorian, Benjamin Toll, has made a mark on his school in many ways.
Not only is he a top student who is graduating with a 100.4 weighted grade point average, but he has also pursued a variety of interests with gusto.
In addition to five AP classes that the 18-year old has completed this year, he is a serious pianist, an artist, and studies both Aikido (a Japanese martial art) and the Japanese language.
“It feels like I find a new interest every month,” Benjamin said.
He explained that when he started high school, he was very active with the debate team and then in the past few years began to focus on science.
The 17-year old Cortlandt Manor resident spent two summers at the University of Michigan Medical Center researching gastroenterology and was the recipient of a Student Research Fellowship Award.
“Recently, I've enjoyed biology and art,” he said. “I used information from my biology class to inform my drawings, and I drew concepts to study for my biology tests.”
Ben’s affinity for painting and drawing is well known at the school—he has even developed a “signature” drawing that is a comic doodle sketch of a snail—something that began back in first grade when he had a pet snail.
His French teacher refers to them as his “escargots” and they have nearly come to replace his name on assignments and can bee seen on many of his projects and school work.
His work in AP Studio Art and his service as vice president of the National Art Honor Society reflect this passion for art as well as for community service—along with other members of the school, Ben raised money for Japan after the Fukushima disaster.
In the fall, Ben will attend the University of Michigan and is interested in a career involving international relations with Japan, including plans to study abroad at the University of Tokyo.
The salutatorian credits many good teachers and his very supportive parents and friends with helping him achieve such success over the past four years.
His personal advice, however, is to “try and make your classes interest you.”
“When I'm assigned a research paper, I always spin the assigned topic into something I want to write about and that way, I forget how hard I'm working and writing the paper becomes fun,” he added.
“Be pro-active in your education and take advantage of all the opportunities you high school as to offer.”
HHHS Graduation ceremonies take place on Sunday, June 24 at SUNY Purchase.