Science, singing, running and excelling in
June 6, 2016
Duanesburg’s Class of 2016 valedictorian and salutatorian will make
science the focus of their next four years in school, but with
different end goals in mind. Beyond academics, both students are
passionate about lifelong interests that take them to the stage, the
mats and country roads in winter.
Valedictorian Brendan Tarantino is a third-degree black belt who sings, enjoys science and relishes academic challenge. In the fall, he will keep all of those activities in his life at Cornell University, where he will major in biological sciences.
Tarantino’s career goal is to become a physician, a recent decision inspired by his desire to help people while continuing to challenge himself in school. Tarantino chose Cornell because “It has a good science program and is a school where I can get a good education that has an equally good taekwondo program.”
A Duanesburg student since he was 8, Tarantino began singing in school choir in 6th grade and has been a member of the select choir throughout his high school years. He’s performed in the All County Choir since 8th grade and the Area All-State Choir in 11th and 12th grade.
When asked if he had a favorite type of music to sing, Tarantino said, “It depends upon the piece. It should be something you can connect with as a singer and something that has meaning for you.” It follows then that he does not have a favorite artist or group and instead enjoys “all kinds of music and performers, mostly those in the oldies and classic rock genres.”
In addition to enjoying music and training at Pil Sung Taekwondo in Guilderland, Tarantino works part-time as a lifeguard.
Medical school or a career in prosthetic design are goals of Duanesburg Class of 2016 salutatorian Katherine (Katie) Gregory. A fan of both science and math, she will continue her studies in the fall at Union College, where she will major in bioengineering.
In Duanesburg, Gregory has been active in the school’s Leo Club, choir, select choir and band, where she played the flute. She is also an avid runner, both in school as co-captain of Duanesburg’s winning cross country team and during her free time. Gregory especially enjoys running during colder weather, when it’s easier to breathe. Her favorite running distance is 5K.
When not lacing up her running shoes, Gregory has enjoyed volunteering with the National Honor Society and for the American Cancer Society. She believes that her many experiences as a DCS student will help her in the future. “’To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift’ is my favorite quote and a driving force for me,” she said. “It pushes me to always give everything I’ve got.”
Photo above left: Tarantino passes his third dan test to earn his third-degree black belt. Photo above, right: Katie Gregory (right) and fellow senior Olivia Munson have served as co-captains of the DCS girls cross country team since 10th grade.