Top Roslyn grads balance school, passions

Roslyn High School valedictorian Todd Warshawsky, left, and salutatorian Abigail Flyer, graduate at 3 p.m. Friday, June 23, at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts.

This year’s Roslyn valedictorian and salutatorian showed that high school is more than exams and projects, spending as much time on the field or the stage these past four years as they did in a classroom.

Roslyn High School’s class of 2017 valedictorian Todd Warshawsky

Roslyn High’s valedictorian Todd Warshawsky balanced his time in high school between classes and sports.

Warshawsky ran cross country and track all three seasons for all four years of his high school career, and he often had to overlap some studying and homework with down time between races at his meets.

“It was tough,” he said. “There were definitely some long nights, there were definitely some tests I had to study for at track meets, but I learned to balance time and make sure I get enough sleep when I can. There’s really nothing more you can do.”

In the classroom, Warshawsky most enjoyed his statistics, European history and AP art history classes.

His European history teacher, James Mumma, is known for his difficult courses but also his deep knowledge of the subject and his ability to make the past interesting for those in the present.

“Mr. Mumma did a phenomenal job, more than really any other teacher, of bringing the humanity, the life to the subject and creating an atmosphere that wasn’t purely academic, but one that was almost brought to life,” Warshawsky said. “There was a relationship between material and the people studying it that you don’t often find in a classroom.”

As much of Warshawsky’s time was spent in the classroom as it was with his track coaches, Kristen Hamilton and Mark Valentino. Hamilton was Warshawsky’s assistant coach for one year and head coach the next, and Valentino just finished his first year on the job.

“They’re both extremely dedicated and very knowledgeable and skilled coaches, but I think their dedication and persistence and hard work they’ve put in matches if not exceeds that of the athletes,” Warshawsky said. “That’s definitely responsible for my success, our team’s success and our enjoyment of the sport.”

Warshawsky said he looks forward to the new life experiences of college as he heads to Yale University in the fall.

“I’m looking forward to being able to explore new things, trying new classes, trying new activities, meeting new kinds of people who I haven’t really been exposed to and explore all these new aspects of a broader world,” he said.

Salutatorian Abigail Flyer has nothing but respect for Warshawsky, who edged her out for top of the Class of 2017.

“He’s a really great guy,” Flyer said of Warshawsky. “If it had to be anyone who beat me, I’m glad it’s him.”

Roslyn High School’s class of 2017 salutatorian Abigail Flyer

Heading to Duke University in August to pursue a degree in psychology, Flyer realized her passion for the study of the human mind during an advanced placement class her sophomore year.

“AP psychology was my favorite class I’ve ever taken,” Flyer said. “I got a perfect score on the AP exam, I was one of like four people in the world, which was pretty cool.”

Flyer emphatically thanked her social studies teacher, Michelle Mahepath, for her lessons both in and out of the classroom that she will take with her to Duke and beyond as a young adult.

“She is one of the most phenomenal women I’ve ever met. She changed my outlook on life,” Flyer said. “The best thing I think she encourages in her students is to hold themselves accountable for everything they do. She always says ‘the first person you’ve got to ask is the man in the mirror,’ and that’s really stuck with me. She really taught me that I have to trust myself first before I look to other people for information and wisdom. She’s the most incredible teacher I’ve ever had.”

Flyer was the executive editor of Student Prints, Roslyn High’s annual student literary magazine, and president of the school’s quiz bowl team. Her life’s passion, however, is music.

Flyer spends her down time engulfed in music, whether it’s at home or her second home, School of Rock Roslyn, which she’s attended since she was 8 years old for singing, guitar, bass and drum lessons. She performs her musical talents a few times a year and will continue playing in Durham, North Carolina.

“I’m looking into how to ship all my instruments down there,” Flyer said. “It’s really difficult, but I definitely need them down there with me because I can’t go a day without playing something. I’ve been playing music since I was a little kid, and it’s a really big part of my life. I’m always listening to music or singing or doing something with music.”



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