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Carmel High Names Valedictorian, Salutatorian for Class of 2023

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Carmel High School proudly announced senior Christian Yom as valedictorian and senior Kyle Grgecic as salutatorian for the Class of 2023. Not only are Yom and Grgecic the top students of their graduating class, but long-time friends.

“It was a huge surprise in the best way,” Yom said of finding out he had earned the valedictorian honor. “When I walked through the office door to see all the smiling guidance counselors and administrators, a cookie-filled table and Kyle looking very happy, I was relieved. The news made my day.”

For Grgecic, the joyful moment also came with a special connection:

“When Ms. Weisel proceeded to tell me that I was the salutatorian, I was ecstatic,” he said. “I put a lot of effort into my schoolwork, and it is nice to see that hard work pays off. It was also a cool full-circle moment as Ms. Weisel was my elementary school principal and then was the person to tell me I was salutatorian.”

While still in the height of application and admissions decision season, Yom is planning to pursue a major in music composition with a secondary major or minor in liberal arts to “both inspire my music and keep exploring interests.”

His dream career is one that involves creating music: “I want to be involved with composition, whether it be a professor, or a composer with a career solely from commissions.”

Grgecic plans to major in media studies or journalism. “My absolute dream job is to become a news anchor at a major network like CNN or NBC,” he said.

Both students boast a résumé full of accolades, achievements and performances.

Yom has dedicated most of his time recently to a musical piece he is writing for orchestra and his piano performance. The same day that he learned he had been named valedictorian, Yom was also notified that he had advanced to the nationals round in a composition competition.

He was also named a 2022 commended student for the National Merit Scholarship Program, putting him in the top 50,000 students nationwide, for his scores on the PSAT/ National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test as a junior.

Grgecic has graced both local and district stages for as long as he can remember. As a junior he found a role among the Carmel High School cast of Mamma Mia and is one of the student directors for the Drama Club’s Fall 2022 performance of Puffs. Grgecic was also named a 2022 commended student for the National Merit Scholarship Program.

A passion for music runs deep for both Yom and Grgecic, who are founding members of a local non-profit organization, Instruments Inspire. The organization, led by a group of high school students with a lifelong passion for music, aims to spread equitable access to music education to underfunded music programs throughout the tri-state area. Among its activities are free local music education programs for children as well as an instrument drive to distribute donated instruments to music students in need.

Both Yom and Grgecic have fond memories from their time in Carmel Central School District.

One of Yom’s favorite memories from his school days is playing Star Wars in the elementary school gym. “Those days were always the best,” he said.

Grgecic offered a more recent memory: watching the Carmel High School football team win the State Championship game last year. “Cheering on my classmates from the bleachers in Syracuse with my closest friends was a wonderful experience, and I’m so glad we were all given the opportunity to see our team claim the state title.”

For both Yom and Grgecic, they will take these memories with them when they graduate in June and leave behind poignant words of wisdom for their peers:

“Use high school to step out of your comfort zone,” said Yom. “I would have never found the things that make me most happy if I had stayed complacent. Whether it be writing music or even starting to dabble in poetry. So, take the opportunities, even if it seems daunting at first. Try a new thing.”

Grgecic offered advice rooted in one of his favorite lyrics from a Fiona Apple song: “Go out and sit on the lawn and do nothing, because it’s just what you must do, and nobody does it anymore.” The advice is to serve as a reminder to his peers to not go through life doing things to impress others without taking care of themselves.

“Though I do find it important to work hard, I was only able to succeed in high school because I knew when it was time to work hard and when it was time to rest,” said Grgecic. “Everyone is different, and everyone needs to find their own balance between work and personal time.”


This is a press release provided by the organization. It has been lightly edited and is being published by Examiner Media as a public service.


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