Following his passion
Dominic Rich, this year's St. John the Baptist High School salutatorian.

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Following his passion


BAY SHORE—On June 3, Dominic Rich will graduate second in his class at St. John the Baptist High School in West Islip with a GPA of 104.5. “I’m very excited about it,” he said.

And so is his family of achievers. Rich has an older brother that graduated fourth in his class at the same school a few years ago.

While earning a high GPA, Rich managed to keep active in sports and a number of extracurricular activities, such as playing the tenor saxophone in the wind ensemble for a few years. “It got to the point though that I couldn’t fit it into my [sports] schedule, even though I enjoyed it,” he said. Varsity basketball and track took up a lot of his time.

He remains active, however, in the National Honor Society, where he is vice president and is a member of the Catholic Charities Club, where he volunteers to help people with disabilities. He recently volunteered to help at a prom for that population. “It was wonderful,” he noted.

Rich also volunteers at the St. Ann’s Church soup kitchen in Brentwood. While there, he serves more than 100 people every week and he said the work is “very fulfilling.” “The [need] keeps getting bigger and bigger, though.”

Come fall, Rich will attend Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore to major in molecular biology, which is a course track that is considered pre-med. “I do believe I’d like to be a doctor, but one that is more focused on research,” he said.

Rich said he’d like to research various diseases such as Alzheimer’s, which has touched him personally.

“I’ve had family members develop Alzheimer’s [and passed away]. It’s a terrible disease and so underpublicized. I’d like to get more involved in that [work].”

His family ties have been very important to the top grad, where he said he’s drawn support and inspiration from his mom and dad. “My parents are awesome,” said Rich. “They never pushed me, but they encouraged me to push myself and always strive to be better.”

Rich said he would miss his family and friends when he goes away to school. “They’re a big part of my life. And it’ll be a big adjustment living in the city. I might miss the quiet life,” he remarked with a laugh.

Before he heads off to his new life, Rich said he would enjoy a summer of doing what he likes best: being outdoors. “I go to the beach every chance I get.”

But in the meantime, he’s preparing for his salutatorian speech that he’ll deliver to his classmates at graduation.

“It’s such a short time and there are so many things I want to say to them,” he said. “I guess the focus of my speech is being who you are. No matter what you enjoy – pursue it. Follow your passion. It makes all the difference [in life] and you’ll be happy and more productive.”