NRHS Valedictorian Named National Merit Scholar

New Rochelle High School Valedictorian Named National Merit Scholar    

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (May 13, 2020) – Abigail Kazakov, New Rochelle High School’s 2020 valedictorian, has received a National Merit Scholarship. The science-minded senior was among 2,500 winners selected from across the country, chosen from a talent pool of 15,000 outstanding finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program.

Kazakov said she was honored to be selected and anxious to apply her love of learning at Stony Brook University’s Scholars for Medicine Program in the fall. Medicine combines her two passions: science and helping people. Kazakov has her eye on an MD in either general medicine or pediatrics and can already imagine what her impact might be. “Every day, you know that you’re making a difference in a family’s life or a person’s life, and every day you’re learning about new treatments and diagnostic methods,” she said.

She credits New Rochelle High School with helping her satisfy her early curiosity. “The wide variety of opportunities and choices offered in classes and extracurricular activities really enriches you and opens your eyes to the different careers that are out there,” she said. “The school offers such a variety of intense advanced courses that make you into a very hard worker.”

Her teachers say that whatever the opportunities, Kazakov came prepared to learn.

“In my eighteen years of teaching, she is among the top five most brilliant students I have ever had,” said Dr. Nazar Rabadi, who taught her in several advanced math classes.

Friendly, caring and generous with her time, she is quick to pull her desk alongside a classmate’s to help with a problem in group projects, Dr. Rabadi said.

“She’s very outgoing and she has a wonderful personality,” he said. “She goes above and beyond what the teacher asks her to do.”

Superintendent Dr. Laura Feijóo saluted Kazakov’s achievement and her contribution to the school.

“We know that Abigail will reach amazing heights and we are proud to know that she will do so with a New Rochelle education as her foundation.”

New Rochelle Board of Education President Amy Moselhi joined in celebrating her achievement.

“On behalf of the Board of Education, we are incredibly proud of your achievement and grateful for your diligent work and willingness to help your classmates. Congratulations!”

This year’s National Merit Scholarship Program began in October 2018 when more than 1.5 million juniors in approximately 21,000 high schools took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, the initial screen of program entrants. Last fall, the highest-scoring participants in each state – a total of 16,000 students, representing less than one percent of the nation’s high school seniors – were named Semifinalists on a state-representational basis. Of those, 15,000 met the academic standard to become finalists.

National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winners announced today are the Finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s graduating high school seniors.

Kazakov, her award in hand, has her eyes on the horizon. “Who knows where medicine will be in fifty years?” she said. “I am very curious to see where this path will take me.”

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