The Saugerties Central School District has announced that Amy Hoyt is valedictorian of the Class of 2023 and Palak Patel is salutatorian. “We are extremely proud of Amy and Palak, who have excelled both inside and outside of the classroom and have contributed so much to the Saugerties community,” said Saugerties High School Principal Tim Reid.
Hoyt, the daughter of Keith and Jinyoung Hoyt of Saugerties, leads her class with a weighted grade point average (GPA) of 102.235, which she achieved while juggling a challenging course load and a host of extracurricular activities.
In addition to taking seven Advanced Placement (AP) courses, Hoyt participated in many clubs during her time at Saugerties. In addition to serving as president of the Student Council, she was treasurer of the Key Club, where she helped organize canned-food and warm-clothing drives. She also participated in the Science Club and the Spanish Club, and was inducted into the National Honor Society. She worked part-time as a camp counselor during the summers of her freshman, sophomore and junior years and has worked as a busser at a local restaurant during her senior year.
Hoyt, who has played varsity tennis since Grade 7, has been the team captain for the last three years.
Although Hoyt expresses gratitude for all of her teachers, she has particular praise for Calculus teacher Debra Cacchillo and Computer Science teacher Jennifer Sauer. “They both inspired me to go into the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) field,” she said. “They were both huge supporters and helped me feel more confident in my work.”
Hoyt hasn’t yet decided where she will be attending school this fall, but has received acceptance letters from Northeastern, Boston and Tulane universities. She plans to major in Computer Engineering, with a view towards pursuing a career in research and eventually owning her own company.
Patel, the daughter of Sanjay and Heema Patel of Saugerties, earned her salutatorian status by achieving a weighted GPA of 101.168. In addition to handling a rigorous course load (including six AP classes) and attending the Ulster BOCES New Visions Health program, she has been involved in a range of extracurricular activities. A member of the Key Club, she served as treasurer in Grade 10, vice president in Grade 11 and president in Grade 12. She was inducted into the National Honor Society and serves as the secretary. She is also the treasurer for the Class of 2023. By serving as a student representative during various building leadership team meetings, she has provided a voice to her fellow students.
Outside of school, Patel volunteers with the Youth Voter Corps, a grassroots campaign that helps raise awareness about voting and encourages young people to register to vote. She also played junior varsity Lacrosse in Grades 9 and 10.
Patel credits her parents and brother for her success. “They taught me to become more focused,” she explained, adding, “I’m so thankful to have them in my life.”
Patel says she is excited about entering the medical field and attributes some of this desire to attending the Ulster BOCES New Visions Health program. “I feel prepared to step into a hospital because of the things I’ve experienced through this program,” she revealed. She noted that she has witnessed several real-life surgeries, including a gallbladder removal.
Patel will be attending Siena College in the fall. She will be pursuing the Siena/Albany Medical College Program in Science Humanities and Medicine on a pre-med educational track.