By Lisa Capobianco
With graduation less than a month away, Southington High School has announced the top three students in the Class of 2014.
For seniors Alex Queen, Dan Connolly and Alexis Dziubek, graduating at the top of their senior class means that four years of hard work and dedication paid off. Southington High School has named Alex Queen valedictorian and Dan Connolly salutatorian, out of over 400 students. Alexis Dziubek has been named class essayist. Graduation will take place Thursday, June 19.
“It was an accomplishment,” said Queen, who has played on the high school’s varsity soccer team since his sophomore year. “It’s an honor.”
“It’s such an honor,” said Dziubek, who will make a speech at graduation.
Throughout their four years of high school, the top three students found time to balance their school work with their involvement in extracurricular activities and other interests. Connolly, who plans to pursue a career in mechanical engineering at Duke University, played soccer and volleyball all four years of high school. He has also served as the vice president of the National Honor Society and is part of the high school’s engineering program, Project Lead the Way.
“I enjoy having things to do,” said Connolly, who has also worked as an umpire for the Southington North Little League and was named captain for the senior season of the volleyball team.
Dziubek, who plans to pursue a career in molecular biology at the University of Connecticut, said she has also acquired time management skills between juggling her homework and school involvement. As a member of the Key Club, Dziubek has served as treasurer, not only taking care of dues but also helping with the organization of events, such as the annual Halloween party that welcomes elementary school students. When reflecting on her graduation speech, Dziubek said her essay will focus on the message, “Keep learning.”
“Even if we fail, we can learn from it,” said Dziubek, who has been a Girl Scout since 2001 and a member of the YMCA Senior Leaders Club.
Queen, who will attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) this fall, not only made time in his schedule to play soccer, but has also played basketball while serving as secretary of the National Honor Society. Outside school, Queen has given back to the community, serving as a volunteer for Camp Sloper and working on local charitable and humanitarian projects during his involvement in the United Way of Southington Youth Committee. When reflecting on his high school accomplishments, Queen said his parents planted his seeds of success.
“They always supported me and encouraged me to do the best I can,” said Queen, who completed an internship with Attorney Anthony Sheffy last summer.
Looking back on their high school years, the top three students said they will never forget the interactions they had with their friends, classmates and staff members.
“You can always find someone down the hall you never met before,” said Connolly, adding that he looks forward to even more opportunities in college. “You can have so many different experiences to learn and grow from.”
By Lisa Capobianco