Perry, Freund take top honors at Wheatley

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Wheatley School class of 2014 honors students Lauren Perry and Jacob Freund have divergent career goals, but have shared some common interests in high school.

Perry wrote an anonymous advice column with her twin sister, Jessica, for the Wheatley Wildcat newspaper over the past year and Freund edited it. They said they both enjoyed working on the newspaper.

“It was a pretty good column,” said Freund, who was Wildcat editor-in-chief as a senior. “I thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone’s work.”

Perry is in the Spanish National Honor Society and Freund is a member of the Foreign Language Honor Society. They both spent two weeks on a school trip in Spain attending classes in high schools there and getting a taste of Mediterranean culture staying in students’ homes.

“It was an incredible trip. It was eye opening,” Freund said.

Wheatley’s honor students are also both accomplished musicians: Perry has played flute in the Wheatley band and Freund has played tenor in the Wheatley Jazz Band. And they both enjoy the solace that music can offer.

“I definitely find music to be very important. It’s a way to relax and vent emotions,” Perry said.

“It’s a way of expressing yourself without words or actions,” Freund said.

Perry’s academic passion is in science, while Freund primary interest is politics.

Perry was an semifinalist in the annual Intel Science Talent Search in her senior year for a breast cancer research project she worked on at Boston University last summer. Perry was also president of Wheatley’s Cancer Awareness Research and Education Club, which stages events to raise funds for cancer research.

She will be enrolled in a molecular life sciences program at the University of Pennsylvania in the fall with a goal of attending medical school or doing research for a pharmaceutical company.

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She was also recognized was a U.S. Presidential Scholars Program semifinalist, although she had no awareness of the program when she was notified she was eligible to apply for it.

“At first I had no clue what it was. But I was proud of that award,” Perry said.

Approximately 560 high school students are selected as semifinalists each year based on general academic achievement, including their SAT scores.

“I’m proud of what I’ve achieved because I’ve been working hard my entire life,” she said. “But I just worked hard because I wanted to.”

While focusing on her own studies in high school, Perry was a peer tutor, partnering with younger students to help them with their course work since 9th grade.

“I just love being able to help other students succeed in their classes and get the help they need,” she said.

Perry is also active in Temple Beth Sholom in Roslyn, where she reads Torah on high holy days and assists in teaching first graders.

“It’s a lot of fun. I love sharing my love of Judaism with little children,” she said.

Perry is also a student athlete, competing on the women’s varsity soccer squad and the fencing team at Wheatley.

Freund figured on a future as a pitcher until he tore a ligament in his pitching elbow in eighth grade. But he persevered as an athlete, joining the Wheatley varsity tennis team and becoming team captain in his senior year.

He will be majoring in political science and international relations at Brown University in the fall, with the intention of attending law school.

Freund was president of Mock Trial this year – his favorite activity – and was lead attorney on the Wheatley Mock Trial State Tournament Team since 9th grade.

He was also active in Model UN competitions through the World Affairs Club, participating in Model UN conferences at MIT, Cornell and Johns Hopkins over the past three years.

“It definitely piques my interest in international relations and politics. It helped me to understand the U.S.’s standing in the international community,” Freund said.

Working as an intern in Chicago during the summer of 2012 for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign confirmed his interest in politics. While working as an intern, he had an opportunity to discuss campaign strategy with presidential advisor David Axlerod.

“I got a good sense of how a campaign is run from the grassroots up,” Freund said.

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