Mamaroneck High School announced that Andrew Katzenstein will be the valedictorian for the class of 2009, and Nifer Fasman will be salutatorian. The two, who have maintained the highest and second highest grade point averages in the senior class, were told of their honors at a surprise meeting with MHS Principal Dr. Mark Orfinger and their guidance counselors.
“Do you know why you’re here?” asked Dr. Orfinger when presenting Andrew and Nifer with the news. “We feel truly honored and proud to have you here at our school.”
As for the next chapter in their lives, Andrew, who has a passion for music and plays the saxophone in the MHS school and jazz bands, is still deciding among three possible schools he will attend in the fall. Nifer, an avid fencer at MHS, plans to attend MIT.
“Andrew’s love of learning and music define him,” said the valedictorian’s guidance counselor, Bob Sweeney. “He pursues his goals and passion with purposeful intensity and embraces every learning opportunity that comes his way with a sense of enjoyment and kid in the candy shop enthusiasm. Andrew is among the strongest and smartest I have encountered in several years.”
According to Mr. Sweeney, Andrew Katzenstein shows a balanced strength in every academic area and has taken the most rigorous academic program possible. In addition to the academics, he has amassed a number of honors for his musical accomplishments, including a position as 1st Alto Saxophone in the Westchester All-County Jazz Band and awards for outstanding musicianship at the Berklee College of Music High School Jazz Festival.
Nifer Fasman was recently selected as one of three MHS students from Westchester and Putnam counties to compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. She and her classmates will travel May 10 – 16th to Reno for the week-long prestigious competition with 1500 other budding scientists from more than 50 countries worldwide.
“Jennifer [known as Nifer] is an exceptional student. While she’s concerned about her grades, learning and knowledge always come first,” said her guidance counselor, Marcus Siotkas. “I’ve always been impressed with her ambition and need to pursue things to the max, combined with her impeccable old-school manners. Additionally, she has a wonderful ability to develop relationships with people of all ages and is always considerate of others.”
Andrew and Nifer will deliver speeches at this year’s graduation on June 23.
Debbie Manetta is the Director of Public Information with the Mamaroneck School District.