Sophia Solimando named Class of 2024 Orange-Ulster BOCES CTE valedictorian; Emma Pollock named OUB CTE salutatorian

Sophia and Emma

Congratulations to Sophia Solimando, who has been named valedictorian of the Orange-Ulster BOCES CTE Class of 2024; and to Emma Pollock, who is OUB CTEC’s  salutatorian!

This is the first time Minisink Valley has the distinction of having both the CTE valedictorian and salutatorian in the same graduating class. This year, over 900 students will graduate from the many CTE programs offered at Orange-Ulster BOCES.

sophiaMeet Sophia Solimando, OUB CTE valedictorian

I will attend and plan to major in: I will be attending Pennsylvania College of Technology in the fall and I will be studying engineering design technology.

Activities/clubs/sports:  In high school I have participated in girls varsity golf in the spring. I am also a member of the National honors society and National Technical honors society in CTEC. In school I play the trumpet in band and I have participated in many different outside school events such as All County and NYSSMA. Outside of school I am a part of the Women’s Auxiliary Post 1607. As a member I have participated in multiple events that raise money for veterans and that support the community. Another activity I participated is skiing in the winter and for the past  two years I have been a junior ski instructor.

Awards/recognitions: I am lucky enough to have received some awards and recognition. In the band program I have been awarded the most outstanding 9th, 10th, and 11th grader. During my 10th grade year, I was awarded the Spirit of Success Award by the Orange County Youth Bureau. Also, in 10th grade I received two certificates of recognition for playing taps at a 9/11 Memorial and Veterans Memorial.

Favorite 13-year school career memory and specific CTEC memory: My favorite memory from school has to be the band trip to Disney. I had been looking forward to that trip since I started in band. I am so lucky to have been able to go on the trip and it was so much fun! We also got to do a workshop with Disney which was so cool because we got to see how they record music in a professional setting, it is one of my favorite memories for sure.  My favorite CTEC memory is when I designed and 3D printed puzzle cube games. After I printed them all my friends tried to solve them and it was very fun watching them figure out how to solve the puzzle.

How has OUB CTE prepared me for college and beyond? BOCES has prepared me for college in many ways. It has taught me how to manage my time and get my work done efficiently. I learned how to ask questions to my teacher and collaborate with my classmates to figure out a problem or work on a project. I also got the chance to lead a class project which will help me with future jobs.

Advice for others: My advice for others is to get a good handle on how to manage your time and learn to also take breaks. Procrastination might seem fine but when that deadline comes up out of nowhere the work needs to be done. The hard work always pays off because after an assignment is done then you truly get to relax.

In 15 years, this is what I hope my life will be like: In 15 years I hope that I will have achieved my goal of becoming an engineer and I wish to have a job designing accessibility products for the disabled community.

Thank you to: Thank you to my parents, sister, doctors and nurses. I would like the especially thank all my school nurses because they have done so much for me since I was little. They took care of me when I was away from my parents and they never hesitated to help. My parents are the biggest contributors, of course, because they have been there for me all the steps of the way. They have always helped me to stay healthy, take me to appointments and get me involved in things such as community service.

What else do you want to share that you feel is important? I feel that it’s important for people to know that nothing is impossible. If there seems to be many setbacks or things that don’t go the way they wish that it’s all part of the plan. If you have persistence and the will to do something you can achieve it.

emma pollackMeet Emma Pollock, OUB CTE salutatorian

I will attend and plan to major in: I will be attending the University of New Haven and will be majoring in Medical Laboratory Sciences.

Activities/clubs/sports: I have run Varsity Cross Country (two-year team captain), Varsity Indoor Track, and Varsity Outdoor Track. I am a part of National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, Key Club, and Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA).

Awards/recognitions: I have received High Honor Roll in all four years of High School and both years of CTEC. I received the Student of the Month Award for the month of September in CTEC. I have also received Volunteer of the Year at my Temple (Temple Beth Shalom).

Favorite 13-year school career memory and specific CTE memory: My favorite memory from school would be my Grandma and Mom coming into elementary school each year to bring in latkes for Hanukkah. My favorite memories from CTEC would be the opportunity to go to clinical and work with real patients in Hematology/Oncology, Family Practice and Urgent Care.

How has OUB CTE prepared me for college and beyond? OUB CTE has prepared me for college by giving me the basic knowledge of healthcare that I can take with me and expand. This is experience has been such a big stepping stone to my career goals.

In 15 years, this is what I hope my life will be like: In 15 years, I see myself having a job that I love going to each day. I hope to be happy, healthy, and proud of my accomplishments.

Advice for others: My advice for others is to not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone because you never know what could happen for you.

Thank you to: Thank you to my Mom and Dad for always being my biggest supporters and always showing up to support me at my school events and meets. Thank you to my sister Olivia for always being here for me and being an amazing sister and friend. Thank you to my family for the endless support I have received from everyone. Thank you to all my teachers for preparing me to continue my education. Thank you to Coach Sucich for always encouraging me to be the best version of myself.