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Yorktown High's Finest Honored to Address Class

YORKTOWN, N.Y. — Before they head off to Ivy League schools in the fall, Yorktown High School's Class of 2012 valedictorian and salutatorian are looking forward to addressing their classmates Saturday at SUNY Purchase.

Valedictorian Michael Beechert, who will attend Dartmouth College and hopes to start his own business, said he will encourage his fellow seniors "to utilize their newfound liberties to achieve whatever their goals are."

"I am extremely proud to be Yorktown High School valedictorian. I have made a lot of great friends over the years, so it's nice to be given the honor of sending them off to wherever they are going," Beechert said.

Salutatorian Julia Kelly, who will attend Cornell University and major in biology, said she will stress the importance of "maintaining a positive, kind and appreciative attitude moving forward."

"I have had so many wonderful and talented classmates. It's an honor to represent them," Kelly said. "In my speech, I hope to reminisce about the many good times we've shared as a class and convey the idea that all we've experienced has taught us many things and has prepared us for the future."

Beechert was captain of the tennis team, played first trombone in the jazz band and was a member of the full orchestra. He also took part in Columbia University's Science Honors Program on weekends and did an internship with state Sen. Greg Ball.

Kelly played varsity soccer for three years, is a violinist and was secretary of the high school concert orchestra. She spent two summers performing research at New York Medical College and serves as a youth deacon and Sunday school teacher at First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown.

"Both of these students have invested significant time and energy in achieving the highest levels of academic scholarship in the school," said Principal Joseph DeGennaro. "They serve as wonderful role models for other students."

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