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A Joyous Occasion For Massapequa’s Top-Ranked Seniors

Pictured: Massapequa High School Class of 2024 valedictorian Victoria Chu and salutatorian Ava Mininni were congratulated by Principal Barbara Lowell, guidance counselors Jeanine Steinmetz and Colleen Parkes, and Superintendent Dr. William Brennan.

Photos courtesy of the Massapequa School District

It was a celebratory moment for Massapequa High School seniors Victoria Chu and Ava Mininni when they learned they are the top-ranked graduates in the Class of 2024. Victoria is the valedictorian with a weighted grade point average of 101.362, and Ava is the salutatorian with a GPA of 100.94.

Victoria said that finding out from Principal Barbara Lowell was a surreal moment, but the greatest joy for her was telling her parents.

“My family, they’ve always said I have a lot going for me and I wanted to live up to those expectations,” she said. “I wanted to make them proud.”

Ava, who has also received tremendous support from her parents, added, “It was very reassuring. I was happy to know that my hard work has paid off.”

The pair have been very active in student life at the high school. Victoria is vice president of the Dog Rescue Club and a member of Breaking Borders, Chiefs Challenge, the Chinese Club, Science Olympiad and the National and Chinese honor societies. She volunteers in the school library and has attended a Chinese school, Tzu Chi, for the past eight years to better learn the language and culture.

Ava is secretary of Chiefs Challenge and a member Best Buddies, the French Club, Students Against Destructive Decisions and the National and French honor societies. She is also president of REACH, a club she founded that hosts collection drives for pediatric units at local hospitals. Outside of school, she volunteers with the Massapequa Takes Action Coalition and the YES Community Counseling Center’s youth program.

Victoria, who started at East Lake Elementary School, said her favorite classes have included anatomy, Mandarin Chinese and pre-calculus. Teachers that have left an indelible mark on her are Christopher Diehl, Dr. Paul Hesleitner, Brian Luca, Donald Ogurick and Natalie Pedisich.

After high school, she wants to study biomedical engineering, possibly on a pre-medicine track. Describing herself as a creative person, Victoria wants to work to find solutions to help people with disabilities. She will graduate with an Advanced Placement Capstone diploma in June.

Ava’s Massapequa education began at Unqua Elementary School. In high school, she has enjoyed all of her French and science classes, and her favorite teachers included Mr. Diehl and Dr. Hesleitner as well as Kathleen Frontino, Dana Robbins and Gheisha Rodriguez. Her expected college major is biology, as she aspires to become a physician’s assistant, specializing in pediatrics.

The pair are very appreciative for the opportunities they’ve been afforded in Massapequa, both in academics and extracurricular activities. Victoria, who did remote learning in ninth grade during the pandemic, said it was the ability to get involved that helped her reacclimate to school. She added that going to school amongst a very welcoming and supportive student body made it an easy transition back.

Ava also credited Massapequa’s teachers for always going out of their way to support their students.

“There is a strong sense of community here at the high school,” she said. “Teachers want you to succeed and they’re willing to help you in any way they can.”

Ms. Lowell congratulated the two seniors for their achievement and noted the positive example they set every day.

“The faculty and staff at Massapequa High School are very proud of Victoria and Ava,” Ms. Lowell said. “They are role models for not only the senior class, but for all students here. They’ve worked hard to achieve these designations and we wish the best for them in the future.”

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