New Paltz High School (NPHS) senior, Lora Johnson, has been named the Class of 2022 valedictorian and Phoebe Eis is their salutatorian.
Valedictorian Lora Johnson
Lora, whose parents are Kathrin and Matthew Johnson, earned a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 100.285. Lora achieved the top honor while balancing involvement in a number of extracurricular activities: playing oboe in the NPHS band and playing both on the varsity soccer team and the varsity track team, where they compete in pole vault.
As an active participant in the Science Research in the High School program through University at Albany, Lora completed three years of research while earning a college credit. Lora knew that they wanted their research to focus on astrobiology, so they decided to focus on haloarchaea, single-celled organisms that, because they can survive multiple extreme environmental conditions, serve as models for the sort of life that might arise on another planet. Lora’s research outcomes contribute to the results of previous studies showing that this organism can be successfully preserved and then extracted from salt crystals, which has implications for both the study of ancient life on Earth, and the search for life elsewhere in the universe. Lora recently presented the results of their ambitious project as the keynote speaker at the Mid-Hudson Girls Rock STEAM Conference at Kingston High School, with the hope it might inspire other young people to pursue original research. Lora has selected Brown University as their destination for future study, and they expect that they will continue to break new ground in astrobiology.
Salutatorian Phoebe Eis
Phoebe, whose parents are Mark and Donna Eis, earned a GPA of 100.226. A member of the National Honor Society, Phoebe has also pursued her passions in journalism, the arts and dance.
For two years, Phoebe served as a writer and editor of The Maroon, the NPHS newspaper. An accomplished artist, she is competing in this year’s Scholastic Regional Art Awards. Dance has been a key form of expression for her since the age of 11 when she began taking classes at the Barefoot Dance Center in West Park, starting with ballet and moving to modern dance. Phoebe is planning to attend Smith College in the fall.
Principal Samuelle Simms expressed her pride over the myriad accomplishments of Lora and Phoebe, exclaiming that “New Paltz High School strives to offer opportunities to support students’ diverse interests, and provide encouragement for them to continue to develop those interests outside school walls. I’m inspired by the examples that Lora and Phoebe set and look forward to following their future successes.”