Kyra McCreery, North Shore High School’s Class of 2020 valedictorian, took the podium at the commencement ceremony while family, faculty, and friends watched with joy and admiration from both North Shore High School and remotely on the live stream telecast.
“How do you encapsulate both the moments of exhilaration and defeat and evoke the wide spectrum of experiences and memories that have defined our time as students at North Shore? Under normal circumstances, it is a challenging endeavor to craft a succinct message that captures the essence of this important time in our lives. Of course, these are not normal circumstances,” McCreery said.
“But the last three and a half months of quarantine have offered me ample opportunity to reflect on my high school experience and consider the unique and truly historic position that the graduating Class of 2020 is into both forge the future and rethink the past. If there is any class capable of transforming the future, the Class of 2020 is it. Over the past few months, I’ve watched my peers devote themselves to helping communities of need. I’ve witnessed this class stand up for racial justice and participate in a monumental national conversation about race. I’ve seen students continue to engage in their passions by spreading art, music, and science to the world. I am truly honored to be a part of this extraordinary group. But, the momentum does not stop now. We have the power to implement change and remedy the problems that plague our present reality.”
Later in her speech, Kyra stated, “Do not forget your roots. We owe the strong foundation that our high school education has provided us with to the phenomenal faculty and staff that truly distinguish this community… The world is on the precipice of change. This will be the generation to both experience that change to its fullest and fuel the momentum further. So as we celebrate this remarkable milestone today, remember that this moment only represents the beginning.”
It is clear from reviewing Kyra McCreery’s extensive list of awards and honors that she has approached every challenge of her high school career with hard work, passion, and dedication.
This is reflected in her numerous accomplishments including a 2020 finalist in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, 2020 National Merit Scholar, 2020 Dr. Bomberick Award for Excellence in Science, 2020 Seal of Biliteracy, 2019 Harvard Book Prize, 2019 Bausch & Lomb Honorary Science Award, 2019 Silver Key Winner at Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate, Vice President of Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society, and President of the World Language Honor Society.
She is also a member of the National Honor Society (with Distinction), National Science Honor Society, Rho Kappa Social Studies Honor Society, and National Art Honor Society.
While her academic accomplishments have been outstanding, McCreery has also participated in a myriad of fulfilling activities including conducted research at Columbia University and completed two research projects on statistical hurricane modeling.
She was the assistant editor-in-chief and science writer for The Viking View, helped develop the Poetry Club, and participated in the IB Buddy Program. In addition, Kyra owned and operated a local pet care business and was a volunteer leader at HorseAbility. She will be attending Yale University.
Everyone at the North Shore Schools is very proud of her many accomplishments and wishes Kyra McCreery only the very best of luck now and in the future.
“In my eyes, recent Friday the thirteenths are more representative of turning points rather than bad luck alone because, boy, have things changed since Friday, March 13th, our last day walking the halls at North Shore,” said Mary Sotiryadis, North Shore High School’s Class of 2020 salutatorian. “Now since that Friday the 13th, I’ve been doing a tremendous amount of thinking, but less about my speech and more about what comes next. It’s heartbreaking that this virus swept through the U.S. and changed the way we live in the blink of an eye. We’ve lost so much, including so many rites of passage that come with being a senior in high school. Right now, it’s okay to be bitter. It’s okay to be upset. It’s okay to be frustrated. We can’t see exactly what the reason behind all of this happening to us was just yet. But, I can assure you, in the future when we look back on the year 2020, we will have gained something from it.”
Sotiryadis concluded by stating that “as our paths diverge, remember to embrace the change that lies ahead and to trust that everything has a purpose. Stay true to yourselves, believe in your capabilities, and know that you are loved and supported… Even though we can’t yet see the outcomes of our successes, I just know that we’re on the way to changing the world for the better. I am so proud to be a part of the Class of 2020. Congratulations everyone. We did it.”
Sotiryadis is also the receiver of many awards and honors at North Shore including a 2020 Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair finalist, 2020 Viking View Award, 2020 English Department Senior Award, 2020 Angelo D’Avino Memorial Scholarship, 2020 Seal of Biliteracy, 2020 National Merit Scholar, 2019 Elmira College Key Award, 2019 World Language Department Award – Italian, and International Baccalaureate Diploma candidate. She is also a member of the National Honor Society (with Distinction), National Science Honor Society, and Rho Kappa Social Studies Honor Society.
In addition, Sotiryadis loves field hockey and was captain of the Varsity Field Hockey Team and an All-Conference Field Hockey player.
But, that’s not all! She has diversified interests and excelled as president of the Mock Trial Team and editor-in-chief of The Viking View. Additionally, Mary achieved numerous awards and community service hours as an executive board member of the Key Club.
She will be attending Boston College and we wish her only the best in her college endeavors.
Lots of luck to both Kyra McCreery and Mary Sotiryadis! We at the North Shore Schools are all so very proud of both students and congratulate them for their dedication, passion, courage, and talent. This is truly only the beginning and we celebrate you and the entire North Shore High School Class of 2020.
Submitted by Shelly Newman on behalf of the North Shore Central School District