The Kingston City School District (KCSD) has announced that Mary Zou is the valedictorian for the Class of 2023 and Eleanor O’Dwyer is the salutatorian.
Zou, the daughter of Xi Qiang Zou and Li Yun Lin of Hurley, leads her class with a weighted grade point average (GPA) of 103.7. Her senior classes include Advanced Placement (AP) Macroeconomics, AP US Government/Politics, AP English Literature, AP Computer Science, AP Mechanical Physics, AP Calculus BC and College Spanish. In addition, she plays the clarinet in Wind and Jazz Ensembles.
Music has been a major theme of Zou’s experience in the district. As one of the drum majors for the Kingston High School (KHS) marching band this past fall, she conducted the band’s field show in the New York State Field Band Championships, where the band achieved its highest-ever score in the annual competition. She has also earned a New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) certificate for her solo performance. Zou credits KHS band director Steven Garner with helping her to cultivate her musical talents through his guidance and encouragement.
Zou has regularly challenged herself with an array of STEM-related activities, including Science Olympiad, where she and a teammate placed first in rocks and minerals, and the KHS Mathematics Team, which excelled in the Dutchess-Ulster-Sullivan-Orange Math Championship.
Zou is headed to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in Cambridge, Massachusetts, this fall, where she is planning to focus on computer science and business analysis. She intends to continue incorporating music and her clarinet practice into her life when and where she can. She advises students embarking on post-graduate planning to “Start early — don’t wait for your senior year!”
O’Dwyer, the daughter of Sean O’Dwyer and Miriam Cooper of Kingston, earned her rank as salutatorian by achieving a weighted GPA of 102.49. Her senior classes include AP Macroeconomics, AP U.S. Government/Politics, AP English Literature, AP Computer Science Principles, and College French. While tackling this rigorous roster of classes, she accomplished the significant feat of becoming a National Merit Scholar semifinalist. While O’Dwyer has excelled in all courses of study at KCSD, she surprised herself by how much she enjoyed her economics classes — so much so that she plans to major in it in college.
O’Dwyer will attend Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, this fall. This summer O’Dwyer, who has been accepted as a Thrive Scholar, will be traveling to Chicago to participate in a six-week college readiness program. O’Dwyer’s guidance for KHS students currently contemplating their academic journey after graduation is to “Do your research, but don’t stress too much!”
“We are proud to recognize Mary and Eleanor for their hard work, discipline and determination that lead to this tremendous achievement,” said KHS principal Kirk Reinhardt.”