Floral Park Memorial High School’s top two students said they were steered down a career path by stories their parents told them.
For valedictorian Sammy Huang, it was stories his mother, a nurse, told him about patients, he said.
“She really inspired me to pursue a career in the medical field,” Huang said.
Huang will attend St. John’s University and was accepted into the six-year pharmacy program, but he said he plans on possibly switching to clinical lab science and attending medical school.
Salutatorian Italia Gorski will attend the College of William and Mary to study history – a passion of hers from the time she was a little girl, she said.
“My dad used to tell me fun stories from history. I’ve grown up with it,” Gorski said. “I was raised on a steady diet of historical fiction.”
Now that she’s older and can read nonfiction, Gorksi said she loves to read about why and how things happened.
Gorski said she’s looking forward to going to college because her campus is right next to Colonial Williamsburg, home to much of the action in Gorski’s favorite era in history.
Gorski said she likes the Colonial era because between all the fighting, Gorski said, there was “a lot of room for interesting people that defy all expectations.”
She’s also looking forward to going to a college which has one of the highest percentages of students interested in what she is, she said.
Gorski is no stranger to the campus that will become home in the fall; she took a history class there for two summers.
She also enjoyed her AP European History and AP World History classes while at Floral Park Memorial.
Her dream is to become a history professor and teach material to “students that would actually like to learn it,” as opposed to the high school level where “many students are just there because they’re required to be.”
In addition to her classes, Gorski was the president of book club and played baritone horn in the school’s marching band and piano in the school’s jazz band.
Huang was also a musician for the school.
He played in the school’s orchestra for three years and a select chamber group for two.
Huang said he’s excited about college, but a little nervous to “welcome this newfound independence.”
Reach reporter Rebecca Klar by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 516-307-1045, ext. 204, or follow her on Twitter @rebeccaklar_.