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The seniors who have been named valedictorian and salutatorian of the Mahopac High School Class of 2022 are not only highly driven, academically successful students, but they also each intend to use their talents to make the world a better place.
Matteo Perillo, who was named valedictorian, plans to tackle climate change, and Kaylie Ann Hammond, who was named salutatorian, hopes to help people who suffer from traumatic brain injuries.
“They are remarkable students and caring people,” said Mahopac High School Principal Dr. Matthew Lawrence. “We are so proud of them, and I’m sure their families and friends are, too.”
Perillo, who is president of the school’s Environmental Club as well as a member of the National, Italian and Science Honor Societies, plans to study renewable energy engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.
“I’ve always been interested in the environment and I always liked science and math,” Matteo said. “So, this is a way that I can help the environment while doing something I like.”
A well-rounded student, Matteo earned All-League for cross country and plays trumpet in several school bands.
“What makes Matteo most proud is his work on a project through our Science Research Program,” Mahopac High School Guidance Counselor Anna Boyle said. “Students in the program are required to partner with a mentor in the research field and, although it was a challenge due to the pandemic, Matteo was able to start a project looking into perovskites which is a material used in research for experimental solar cells and determining how new additives can increase their stability thereby making it cheaper and less wasteful.”
Hammond is interested in rehabilitative engineering, which involves creating technological solutions to physical or cognitive problems. She plans to study biomedical engineering at Vanderbilt University because it has the research facilities for the kind of work she hopes to do.
“In the future, I want to help people with brain injuries,” she said. “Vanderbilt has all the programs and the research facilities for the things I want to do.”
“Although she has always had a passion for science, two major events in her life have influenced her interest in the field,” Guidance Counselor Anna Boyle said. “One was when her uncle was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury after a serious car accident. The other was when her sister was diagnosed with a brain lesion at four years old which also required invasive brain surgery and numerous medical visits and hospital stays over the next several years.”
Hammond is an AP Scholar, Scholar Athlete and member of four academic Honor Societies. She is also captain of her gymnastics and tennis teams and serves as treasurer in student government.
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