Rebecca Weir and Jesse Siegel will graduate this month from Coginchaug High School having earned special distinction among the Class of 2012: Weir has been named valedictorian while Siegel is the class' salutatorian.
This fall, Weir is headed to Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, after leading her class with a 4.28 GPA. She is a member of the National Honor Society, served as captain of the outdoor track and volleyball teams, and was named winner of the National Merit Scholarship.
Weir also recently earned the prestigious Connecticut High School Coaches' Association Scholar Athlete, an award given to just four student athletes statewide.
Siegel has maintained a 4.21 GPA and will attend Brown University in Providence, RI, this fall. He is class vice president, a member of the National Honor Society, and earned the Bausch + Lomb Honorary Science Award.
Siegel was also a member of Habitat for Humanity and and won the Gettysburg College Book Award.
Patch caught up with the pair this week for our "Top of the Class" interview:
Patch: Who has inspired you?
Siegel: I would say my parents. My parents have always, from the very beginning, instilled in me the values that getting a good education is the most important thing. They've always taught me to work hard. They never put any pressure on me but I always knew it was their expectation that I would always do my best at school and work hard. They made me want to work hard.
Weir: Definitely my parents, especially in not pressuring me and letting what I do come from myself, and keeping that balance.
Patch: What's your favorite thing about Coginchaug?
Siegel: The small grade size. More recently I've come to appreciate how we really are a very close knit group. These are kids that I've been with pretty much my whole life. I feel like we have a more special connection than kids who were just together for four years in high school.'
Weir: I really appreciate the opportunities that each one of us has because we're all in such a small school. I can do multiple things, I can do track and music.
Patch: What are you most looking forward to in College?
Weir: I'm looking forward to the classes. I've had some great classes here, but there's always more and I'm looking forward to [studying] liberal arts.
Siegel: After growing up in Durham, I think going to school with kids from all over the world I'm really going to be able to expand my perspective and I'm going to be able to meet and become friends with kids who've grown up in totally different circumstances than I have and I think it will be interesting.
Patch: What will you miss most?
Weir: I'm going to miss the underclassmen, on the track team.
Siegel: I'll definitely miss my friends here. I'll miss the Coginchaug school spirit sporting events, the basketball student section, that kind of thing. Also the Durham Fair, but I'll be back for that.
Weir: (laughs) I love the Durham Fair. It'll be the first year that I'm not working for the full four days.
Patch: What's your dream job?
Siegel: I'm thinking of going into the medical field, I'm thinking maybe an Orthopedic surgeon. I've got a long time to explore new things.
Weir: At this point I'm going in decided. I'm looking at academia, so maybe professor. At this point I want to find somewhere that I can come home exhausted everyday but still feel like I'm doing something.