LAKE PLACID - It's a great achievement to be at the head of one's class, and the two top members of the Lake Placid High School Class of 2013 were recently named.
This year's number one and two students for the Class of 2013: Valedictorian Margaret "Maggie" Rose-McCandlish and Salutatorian Haley Brandes. Each had a similar message to pass along - you can accomplish whatever you set out to with hard work.
Valedictorian is the academic title for the student who delivers the closing or farewell statement at a graduation ceremony and is usually the student with the highest ranking among his or her graduating class. Salutatorian is the term for the second highest graduate of the class and only the valedictorian is ranked higher. The News met with the pair last week to discuss the honor they have achieved.
Pictured are Lake Placid High School Valedictorian Margaret “Maggie” Rose-McCandlish, left, and Salutatorian Haley Brandes.
Photo/Richard Rosentreter/Lake Placid News
"For me being named valedictorian is an honor of course, and it's validation for the hard work that I've had and done for the past four years, so I appreciate it," Rose-McCandlish told the News. "I feel like it's sort of a thank you from the school ... I also feel like it also represents the expectations the school has for me in the future, because now I represent the school and my class. "I am very excited that I get to represent our class and give our farewell address especially because we are a very, very close class and I want to convey that," she added. "We've always been the sort of class that lifts each other up instead of dragging each other down that ... we urge each other to do better."
The honor had another special meaning for Rose-McCandlish.
"I also take after my grandmother, so that makes me very excited. She was also the valedictorian of her class, and we're very close," she said.
Rose-McCandlish said her message to the senior class on graduation day will be simple: "I'm letting my class know that the skills that we made in terms of studying and stuff like that are secondary as far as the skills we've learned to take care of each other, help each other and help each other succeed."
Brandes was equally pleased with being at the top level of her class, adding that she was relieved to be able to reach such a high distinction with a heavy work load during her senior year.
"To me being salutatorian is a great honor and it shows me how hard I've worked, and it's something to show for all the hard work.," she told the News.
Brandes told the News about her reaction to being named the second top student this year.
"I was relieved, I was in a very tough program called New Visions that's run through B.O.C.E.S. It's a great experience, but a lot of work," she said. "So I was relieved I was still able to make the grade and achieve being salutatorian."
"I was also very excited and very happy," Brandes said, adding that her speech on graduation day will reflect how achievement is connected to hard work. "It shows me that hard work does account for something and if you do work hard you can do whatever you want to do. For my speech, that is what I am mainly going to stress."
Lake Placid High School graduation ceremonies will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, June 21 at the Oval, weather permitting. A reception sponsored by the Class of 2015 will follow. In addition to Rose-McCandlish and Brandes, speaking at graduation will be author, Dr. Douglas R. Skopp, professor emeritus and college historian of SUNY Plattsburgh. A shuttle bus will be available to transport guests from parking areas at the Thomas Shipman Youth Center and the Faculty and Staff Parking lot on Cummings Road. Handicapped parking will be available on the Oval for the outdoor ceremony.
Members of the graduating class are invited to attend the Alumni Banquet on at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 22 at the Lake Placid Crowne Plaza at no charge. The banquet celebrates the reunions for graduating years ending in "3" and "8." Reservations are required. For more information, contact Richard Retrosi, LPHS interim principal at 523-2474.
The top students
Valedictorian Margaret Rose-McCandlish is the daughter of Meg McCandlish and Kelly Rose lives in Wilmington and has two younger sisters, Sara and Anne. She plans on attending Middlebury College in the fall and majoring in psychology. Her future plans include studying to be a clinical psychologist and traveling.
Maggie has been the president of the Lake Placid chapter of the National Honor Society, and participated in two Adirondack Youth Climate Summits with the Environmental Club. She also enjoyed attending the High School Writing Retreat at Paul Smith's College. Maggie's interest in helping younger students find joy in learning and literature led her to design her senior project around reading literature with eighth graders. She is a motivated and passionate learner, dedicating much of her time to helping others.
Salutatorian Haley Brandes is the daughter of Brian and Alicia Brandes, and big sister to Alex, Colin and Matthew, and has lived in Lake Placid her entire life. She has been an active member in the community, volunteering as a coach and referee for the soccer and basketball programs of the Lake Placid Youth Athletic Association, lecturing for St. Agnes Church, and donating her time at many community races and events.
Throughout high school, Haley was a three sport athlete playing soccer, basketball and softball. She also participated in annual spring musicals, band, chorus, and Women's Ensemble, and was a member of National Honor Society (treasurer), Lambda Pi Math Honors Society and Varsity Club. This year, Haley was in the New Visions program at Adirondack Medical Center, an accelerated curriculum for high school seniors interested in pursuing a career in the medical field. In the fall, Haley will be attending Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in its Doctor of Pharmacy program.