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EYE ON EDUCATION: Meet val and sal

Lake Placid High School names top two students in Class of 2018

March 9, 2018
By GRIFFIN KELLY - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Lake Placid High School senior Laurel Miller sat in Principal Dana Wood's office and thought to herself, "Am I in trouble? Did I do something wrong?"

But the reason for her being sent to the principal's office was quite the opposite. She did something right. She did pretty much everything right. As she walked out of the office, fellow senior Graci Daby ran toward Miller and gave her a big hug. Daby and Miller found out they were LPHS's 2018 valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, on Friday, March 2.

The two don't look different from any other high school students. Daby sports a soft-grunge style with ripped jeans, a flannel tied around her waist and black nail polish. Miller can normally been seen carrying around her purple L.L. Bean thermos full of coffee. They both own large smartphones with PopSockets attached to the back. PopSockets are contractible doorknob-looking things that provide better grip and can act as a stand for a cellphone.

Article Photos

Seniors Laurel Miller, left, and Graci Daby were recently named the Lake Placid High School’s 2018 salutatorian and valedictorian, respectively.
(News photo — Griffin Kelly)

School work isn't everything, according to Daby and Miller, and they encourage other students to join clubs and sports.

"I would honestly say get involved," Daby said. "Don't just put all your time into your studies because it's really going to be distracting, and you're going to feel like you've got too much time on your hands."

The two are year-round athletes. Both are captains on the volleyball and basketball teams. Miller plays tennis, and Daby does track and field in the spring. Both are starring in the LPHS's upcoming production of "The Boy Friend." Miller is a member of the science Olympiad. Daby is the social media coordinator for the school newspaper. Miller plays flute in the band. Daby is member of the varsity and drama clubs. Miller holds down two jobs at Where'd You Get that Hat and the Get Twisted ice cream shop. Daby works as a lifeguard in the summer.

They both agreed that the full schedule is a positive aspect in their lives. It keeps them on their toes and helps them regulate their time.

"You learn how to juggle everything," Miller said. "Time management wise, you really have to kick it into gear and know when you have to have things done."

With all the school work, sports, extracurricular activities and jobs in which the two participate, they need fuel to keep going, specifically coffee.

"Every day it's like school, three-to-four hour musical rehearsal, practice, home, sleep, homework go to bed, repeat," Daby said. "There's, like, no time in between to do anything."

However, caffeine is only part of the equation. It's the support from family, friends and teachers that keeps these young ladies on top of their games.

Daby called herself a scatter-brain and said she depends on her parents to remind her of her work.

"My parents are my rock," she said.

Miller said her parents often check on her to make sure she's not working too hard and falling asleep with her head in the books.

"The other thing is having really supportive teachers," Daby said. "Both of us have developed those relationships where we don't feel afraid to go in and talk to them."

Both the girls praised their volleyball coach Donna Moody as a person who taught them to go the extra mile with anything they do in life whether that means completing extra-credit or practicing an instrument for a few more hours.

"I call her my school mom," Daby said.

Moody's first year teaching was actually the year Daby's father graduated from LPHS, and now this is her last year before retirement.

It's not just work, work, work for these girls, though.

"As a general rule," Daby said, "I do not do homework on Saturdays."

When they do have free time, the two spend it doing things that are still educational and intellectually stimulating. Miller likes to watch informational videos on YouTube such as TED Talks and Crash Course. She also likes Thug Notes, a series where comedian Greg Edwards summarizes and analyzes classic works of literature while using plenty of street slang.

Daby likes to write free verse poetry and watch slam poets online.

"My poems are really sad," she said.

In the fall, Daby will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a political science major, and Miller will study International Business at George Washington University in D.C.

Miller didn't even apply anywhere else.

"People ask me, 'How many colleges did you apply to?' And a lot of them always look shocked when I say one," Miller said. "As soon as I saw the message that said, 'congratulations, you've been accepted,' I started crying. I cried for, like, the next two hours."

Along with their graduation speeches, Daby and Miller have to write three speeches: one for the kindergartners, one for the fifth graders and one for the eighth graders. Although these speeches are for Daby and Miller's peers and younger students, the two elicit more maturity, time-management skills and positivity than many people who have already entered college and the workforce.



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