New Paltz names valedictorian and salutatorian

New Paltz valedictorian Grace Morrissey (left) and salutatorian Oliver Goland pose for a photo in the high school library.

New Paltz Superintendent Maria Rice and high school principal Barbara Clinton have announced that Grace Morrissey has been named the 2018 valedictorian of New Paltz High School (NPHS) and Oliver Goland is this year’s salutatorian. Morrissey earned top honors with a GPA of 100.78. Her academic successes include maintaining a rigorous course schedule that included five Advanced Placement (AP) classes. Other classes in which she has excelled include English, French and business electives. She is a member of the National Honor Society and is also the current student representative for the New Paltz Board of Education. Morrissey is the vice president of the French Club and has been an attorney for two of the three years that she has been a member of the Mock Trial Team. The 17–year-old has played varsity tennis throughout high school and this year she served as co-captain and she has been a member of the varsity golf team for two years. Morrissey volunteers as religious education office manager at St. Joseph’s Church in New Paltz.

While she is planning on majoring in economics and minoring in French. She plans on attending the College of the Holy Cross. “I am so honored to be the valedictorian, and I think that receiving this achievement really proves how important having grit and a good work ethic is to success,” says Morrissey. 


She is the daughter of Katherine and Joe Morrissey. 

Salutatorian Oliver Goland, whose GPA is 100.44, has been a member of the National Honor Society, Science Olympiad, Student Government and Mathletes, where he served as this year’s club co-president. He is a National Merit Commended Scholar Finalist. 

Goland is the section leader of the NPHS jazz, marching and concert bands. He has been a member of the State University of New York at New Paltz’s Youth Symphony for the past five years and was principal trumpet during his sophomore and junior years. Additionally, he received a perfect score on his NYSSMA All-State solo, and was chosen for the All-State Symphonic Band as a junior. Goland was a Scholar-Athlete for both the cross-country running and tennis teams during his time at NPHS. 

In addition to his participation in school activities, Goland has worked as an intern at Stony Brook University at the Center for Thermal Spray Research and he has spent approximately 80 hours volunteering to maintain trails for the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. He also volunteers his time as a citizen scientist at the Mohonk Preserve. 

Goland is currently undecided where he will enroll in the fall, but is considering Stony Brook University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Cornell University and Johns Hopkins University. He will pursue a career in the bioengineering or chemical engineering industries, or as a biomedical engineer. 

 As for his achievements and recognitions, Goland is quite modest. “It just goes to show what you can accomplish if you set goals for yourself and put your nose to the grindstone.”

His parents are Lisa and David Goland.