The Saugerties Central School District has announced that Olivia Staby has been named valedictorian of the Class of 2021 and Sophia Kamrass is this year’s salutatorian.
Staby, the daughter of Stephanie Serra and John Staby, both of Saugerties, earned top honors with a GPA of 100.42. During her high school career, she maintained a rigorous academic schedule, including five Advanced Placement (AP) courses and five college courses. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Key Club, Student Government and Student Council. Staby has served as treasurer of the French Club every year since her sophomore year. Staby was also the first student at Saugerties High School to fulfill all of the requirements to earn the New York State Seal of Biliteracy by demonstrating a high level of proficiency in English and Spanish during her junior year.
Throughout high school, Staby has volunteered for the Saugerties Chamber of Commerce and the Teen Tech Tutoring program at the Saugerties Library. She also participates in Youth Leadership at the YWCA and works as a part-time receptionist at Sawyer Motors. This fall, Staby is planning to attend SUNY New Paltz, where she will major in International Business and Education.
Staby looks back fondly at her Saugerties education. “I learned that I must love the earth below my feet and foster a sense of gratitude toward the community that has shaped my dreams and fueled me to venture outward before I follow paths that lead me elsewhere,” she says. “And no matter where I go, I will always nurture a love for Saugerties within me.”
Salutatorian Sophia Kamrass, whose GPA is 100.22, has taken seven AP courses and four college courses over the course of her high school career. She is the daughter of Eileen and Philip Kamrass of Saugerties. Kamrass is a member of the National Honor Society and was a member of the Art Club in previous years. When she is not studying, she enjoys reading, writing and drawing. In addition, she plays the trumpet in the high school band and also takes private lessons to hone her talent further.
The 17-year-old says, “The most important thing I’ve learned over this time is to be forgiving and patient to myself and to others, because nobody remains untouched by the effects of life, let alone the monstrous, all-encompassing effects of COVID.” Kamrass will be attending either Ursinus College, Goucher College or Barnard College in the fall, where she will major in English with an emphasis in writing and foreign language.
Looking back at her high school career, Kamrass says, “Every teacher I’ve ever had has left a lasting impression on me, even if it was a simple life lesson or personal saying, or even if I didn’t agree with them. Considering many perspectives is important, and that’s a lesson you can learn in any class.”