New Paltz High School names valedictorian and salutatorian

New Paltz High School valedictorian Claire Deen Taylor and salutatorian Elijah Tamarchenko.

New Paltz Central School District Superintendent Maria Rice and high school principal Barbara Clinton have announced that Claire Deen Taylor has been named the 2019 valedictorian of New Paltz High School (NPHS). Elijah Tamarchenko is this year’s salutatorian. 

Claire, the daughter of Jason Taylor and Stella Deen, earned top honors with a GPA of 100.723. She maintained a rigorous course schedule all four years that included Advanced Placement (AP) classes in European History, American History, Computer Science, Chemistry, English Language and Composition, English Literature and Composition, Comparative Government and Politics, Macroeconomics, Calculus AB, Calculus BC and Physics. She also took college Spanish for the last three years through a dual enrollment program offered by SUNY New Paltz. 


Deen Taylor is a member of the National Honor Society and the Engineer Club. She has participated in Mathletes all throughout high school and this year she served as the club president. Additionally, she plays French horn in both the SUNY New Paltz Orchestra and SUNY Ulster Wind Ensemble. This year, she advanced to States in Mathletes and All-States with French horn. She also runs on the school’s track and cross-country teams.  

While she is planning on majoring in Environmental Science, Claire is undecided about which college she will be attending this fall. 

“I am honored to be valedictorian. New Paltz offered so many enjoyable classes and great teachers that I will never forget,” says Deen Taylor. 

Salutatorian Elijah, son of Julia and Andrey Tamarchenko, has a GPA of 100.011. During his time at NPHS he has taken 14 AP classes and this year he took a Multivariable Calculus course online through Johns Hopkins University. 

He is currently a member of the National Honor Society and the president of Science Olympiad. Elijah participated on the school’s soccer and Nordic ski teams throughout high school and served as captain both junior and senior year. He is a finalist for both the National Merit Commended Scholarship and the Elks Foundation Most Valuable Student Award.

This fall, Tamarchenko will be studying Economics and Psychology with a focus on Behavioral Economics at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. 

“I’m glad that at New Paltz High School we didn’t have to worry about grades as much as we would have had to at other schools. I was able to enjoy other interests such as Psychology and outside activities, while still being salutatorian,” says Tamarchenko. 

Principal Clinton is proud of this year’s valedictorian and salutatorian. “These two students have excelled in so many different aspects of high school,” she says. “From good grades to club participation and athletics, Claire and Elijah have given it their all.”