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Meet the Top Grads, WHHS Class of 2020

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While the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the course of senior year for the Class of 2020, the valedictorian and salutatorian of West Hempstead High School reflect positively on their experience and are sending their classmates some insightful words of advice.

Aside from his impressive 100.68 graduating GPA, valedictorian Runako Miot’s high school career was full of achievements in and out of the classroom. He served as a member of the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society, combining his academic accomplishments with leadership and service. He also scored a 5 on his AP English Language exam.

As a member of Students Against Destructive Decisions, Runako was able to confront the risks young people face on a daily basis. He was also a member of the school’s Key Club, which promotes leadership and standing for what is right through service and volunteerism. Continuing his altruism, Runako volunteered for Island Harvest, a food bank servicing those in need on Long Island. He also worked as a counselor for the West Hempstead Police Activity League Judo Club.

Runako reflects positively on his four years at West Hempstead High School, especially the everyday moments he got to experience with his friends and classmates. “My favorite high school memory is when one day after school when I was in ninth grade, my friends and I were hanging outside of the school, taking turns riding my friend’s longboard,” he said. “There were many funny moments during my high school career, and it was definitely an unforgettable time.”

When asked what he would like to say to his fellow graduating classmates, Runako stressed the importance of staying positive and accepting the support of others. “I would like to encourage my fellow classmates to just stay positive and pursue their goals. No matter the situation, there will always be people in their corner supporting them and pushing them forward.”

Runako will be attending Hofstra University in the fall and majoring in biomedical engineering.

Salutatorian Sabrina Manuel is a well-rounded student boasting achievements in and out of the classroom. With a graduating GPA of 99.11, Sabrina has received multiple acknowledgements for her academic excellence, including outstanding achievement in pre-calculus honors, the National Hispanic Recognition Award and being on the Principal’s List every quarter of her high school career. She also served as a member of both the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society.
As a committed member of the West Hempstead High School community, Sabrina was a member of the nationally competing cheerleading team and softball team, SADD, Mathletes, World Language Club and participated in school-sponsored tutoring. Outside of the school environment, she coached cheerleading and worked at summer camp each year.

As a dedicated athlete and friend, Sabrina’s favorite high school memories revolved around her dedication to cheerleading and time spent with her classmates. “My favorite out of school memory was attending nationals for cheerleading in Florida,” she said. “And my favorite in school memory was any class I had where my entire group of friends was in it!”

Sabrina wants to remind her fellow graduating classmates to work hard, but not sweat the small things. “I hope you all are able to do well and succeed in any of your future endeavors,” she said. “Remember to have fun, and not stress over the little, nonimportant things.”

Sabrina will be attending LIU Post in the fall, majoring in fashion merchandising.