Living in the moment
Eric Williams: St. John the Baptist High School 2019 Valedictorian

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Living in the moment

Story By: LIZ FINNEGAN
5/30/2019


BAY SHORE—On graduation day, June 1, St. John the Baptist High School senior Eric Williams will take his place on stage as the valedictorian of his class. He said there are mixed emotions about graduating, but is enjoying the last few moments at his school.

In addition to having the highest GPA (104.23 weighted at the end of his junior year), he had an active school career as a member of Student Council, National Honor Society and Global Ambassador’s Club, and he has been a member of the winter track and varsity lacrosse teams.

Although he knew he was pretty close to graduating on top, he was not certain of his placement until recently.

“I was confident I’d be No. 1 or 2 (valedictorian or salutatorian), but it was close. It feels pretty good,” he said.

Williams said that he was able to balance his time and activities while keeping up his grades. “I studied late [at night]. It was stressful at times, but I was persistent. I just kept looking forward, not getting caught up in the moment.

“This is a weird time. I’m excited to go to college, but I’m also sad about leaving St. John’s,” he noted.

Williams credits the friends he’s made at the school and his teachers for the many happy memories there. Of his teachers, he said Ms. Hall (AP English), Mr. Krebs (physics) and his guidance counselor, Ms. Sciaretta, have been his biggest supporters.

Some of his fondest high school memories, though, were spent overseas when he was on a mission trip to Peru and worked in an orphanage. “I loved working with the kids and bonded with the people there,” he said. “It was an eye-opening experience.”

He said over the years his parents have been his most important role models and in particular his father, who is now going through a medical issue. “I look up to my dad the most,” he said. “He’s inspirational.”

Williams said regarding leaving St. John’s that he would miss the close-knit community of the school. However, since he spent his previous years as a student at St. Patrick’s School in Bay Shore, he won’t miss having to wear uniforms. “I wore uniforms 12 years straight,” he remarked with a laugh. “There’s nothing more exciting than to wear regular clothes.”

This fall, Williams will attend Cornell University, majoring in information science. He hopes to one day go into software development. However, before he takes that next step at Cornell, he has one more assignment at St. John’s: his graduation address.

The top grad said he’s been working on his speech and hopes to impart some wisdom to his classmates in the process. “I have two pieces of advice,” he said, noting that one is that each is their own person who can contribute to shaping the world. And regarding the other, he said, “Be true to yourself. What you value will lead to success.”