Highland High School’s top ten students announced

Highland High School valedictorian Arianna Ranalli and salutatorian Dean Riley.

Highland High School (HHS) has announced its top ten students, including the valedictorian and salutatorian, for the Class of 2018. These students are not only the best and brightest when it comes to academics, but they have also left their marks in sports, extracurricular activities and volunteerism.

At the top of the list is valedictorian Arianna Ranalli, who leads her class with a 102.66 GPA. She is the daughter of Barry and Teresa Ranalli of Highland. 


In addition to concentrating on her classwork, Ranalli excels in leadership and sports. She is currently the vice president of the Interact Club, president of the Mathletes and co-president of the French Honor Society. She is also a member of the Science Olympiad, National Honor Society and Tri-M Music Honor Society.

When she is not studying, Ranalli can be found playing soccer, basketball or lacrosse for Highland. She played each of those sports for the past four years, serving as co-captain of the lacrosse team for the last three years. She was one of two HHS students named a Mid-Hudson Athletic League Scholar Athlete.

After tossing her cap into the air with her fellow Husky graduates, Ranalli plans to go to Northeastern University in Massachusetts to study mechanical engineering. Her dream job is to do something with robotics. She said she sees herself designing mechanical prosthetics for those in need.

Looking back on the last four years, Ranalli said, “I’m glad I had the opportunity to take challenging courses.” Her schedule throughout her high school career included taking many AP and college courses. While attending high school, Ranalli simultaneously worked on obtaining an associate’s degree from SUNY Ulster. “I’m so happy that I was able to take advantage of the Early College Program at Highland and get my associate’s degree,” she enthused. 

Like Ranalli, Dean Riley knows a lot about managing time efficiently and balancing multiple duties. Riley earned the title of salutatorian with a GPA of 101.62.

Riley is the son of Timothy and Patricia Riley of Highland. He is the co-president of the Interact Club, co-president of the National Honor Society, president of Model UN, president of Student Council, and treasurer of the French Honor Society. He is also a member of the Mathletes and the Fed Challenge and is the student representative to the Board of Education.

In May, the Highland Rotary Club bestowed Riley with the Service Above Self Award. The New York Attorney General’s Office also presented him with the Triple C Award, which is given to outstanding students who represent courage, character and commitment. Riley also attended the Early College Program and will receive an associate’s degree from SUNY Ulster. 

This fall, Riley is planning to attend American University in Washington, DC, where he will major in business administration with a minor in political science. His dream job is to become a CEO of a not-for-profit organization.

Riley says he has learned a lot at HHS, especially through all the different organizations and clubs he has belonged to over the years. “I’ve really gotten to know the Highland community. I’ve met a lot of different people — people who have an integral part in keeping our community so vibrant,” he noted. He added that by joining clubs, he was able to meet people with similar interests, learn real-world skills and give back through volunteerism. 

Along with announcing the valedictorian and salutatorian, HHS also recognized the following high-achieving academic students to round out the top ten achievers: Kev Marleau, Shawn Jackson, Michelle Ling, Dylan Saffir, Kimberly Segura, Emily Peterson, Alecia Wilk and Kerri Lockhart.