In the fall, when Kyra McCreery of Sea Cliff was told she would be North Shore High School’s valedictorian for the class of 2020, she was immediately excited.

“It was so gratifying to hear that my work over the past four years has paid off,” McCreery said. “It was a great feeling to know I’d accomplished something this significant.”

The senior says she had a “phenomenal experience at North Shore High School.”

“I really attribute that to my teachers,” McCreery said. “I’ve forged some really great relationships with them and they’ve really motivated me to succeed.”

She credits teachers like science research instructor Molly Mordecai with helping her pursue her foremost passion, science. She has spent the past two summers interning at Columbia University while researching hurricane modeling in a project that made her a finalist in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, and is currently writing a paper on the project with Mordecai.

“I’ve been working on a research paper with my mentor, and that will hopefully be published later this year,” McCreery said.

In addition to her work with the school’s science research program, McCreery wrote stories on science for her school’s newspaper, and is a member of her school’s Spanish and math honor societies. Outside of school, she volunteers with HorseAbility, an equestrian riding therapy program based in Old Westbury.

“I’ve done it for four years, and that’s really been a great part of my high school experience,” McCreery said.

The next part of McCreery’s journey will be found in New Haven, Connecticut, as she prepares to study chemistry and data science technology at Yale University.

“I wasn’t originally planning to apply to Yale until early this fall, but I had a phenomenal experience on campus on the day that I visited, and everything about the school really appealed to me,” McCreery said. “It’ll really just be a great experience.”

Whether she’ll be able to go on campus in the fall remains up in the air, though.

“[Yale is] definitely committing to some kind of learning process next year, whether it’s online or a hybrid of online and on-campus, it’s not really clear yet and I don’t think it will be for a couple more months,” McCreery said. “I do hope that there’s some portion of the year where we can go back on campus.”

As for McCreery’s own high school graduation, she says that the school is looking into ways to involve students and their immediate families in a “different place than graduation is normally held.” North Shore School District Superintendent Peter Giarrizzo said in statements issued to the school’s website that the district would be graduating the class of 2020 on June 11 in a “socially distant” fashion, with details being reserved for families. The superintendent also said that the status on returning in the fall is unknown.

Nevertheless, whether North Shore students return to their schools or must stay at home, McCreery’s advice on academic success still stands.

“It’s so important to form relationships with your teachers,” McCreery said. “I’d also encourage students to get involved with any activities you can, and not to overextend yourself. Use what you have to find what you’re passionate about, find something that clicks with you and makes you happy.”

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