‘Anyone can make a difference’

Posted 6/27/19

Meet East Islip High School's 2019 salutatorian: James Smalley

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‘Anyone can make a difference’


EAST ISLIP—James Smalley has been named salutatorian for East Islip High School’s graduating Class of 2019. 

Smalley, an Islip Terrace resident who has lived in the school district for five years, was on his way to college orientation when he gave this interview. He said he was “very happy” and “proud” to learn that he received the title. 

In addition to his schoolwork, Smalley was a member of the National Honor Society and Science Honor Society. He’s also been playing soccer since he was 4 years old and is a fan of the Premier League, the top level of the English football (soccer) league. His favorite team is Arsenal. 

Smalley is also a member of Exchange Ambulance of the Islips. “I volunteer because I enjoy giving back to the community, but I am also very interested in the applications of science for the good of the community, and so it’s a good blend of both,” he said. 

Now that school is over, Smalley said he’s going to miss the “great friends” he’s made since moving to the district from Centereach in the eighth grade. He’s also looking forward to having “more freedom” in college. 

In the fall, Smalley is attending Northeastern University in Boston, Mass., where he will double major in biochemistry and chemical engineering. 

“I chose the majors because I’ve always been interested in applied sciences and mathematics, and they’re majors that have multiple career pathways for me, whether it’s into the world of health care or a more industrial-type job,” he said. 

“I’m not sure what I want to do yet as my career,” Smalley added. “But I’d like to be in a career where I can use my knowledge to make the world a better place.” 

Smalley cites his dad and coach, Ralph Tubello, as his biggest role models. “[Both] have had profound impacts on me throughout the past four years of high school,” he said, “not just helping me develop my talent on the track, but also teaching me valuable lessons about working hard and about life.” 

Smalley advises future graduates to “do what they love.” 

“I believe anyone can be successful if they find something they’re great at, and anyone can make a difference, whether it’s large or small,” he added.


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