Taking on life lessons
BAY SHORE—Kevin Souhrada, a fourth-generation Bay Shore resident, will lead his class at graduation next week. The top grad said he wasn’t all that surprised to learn he finished first since he’d been apprised of his standing at the end of last year. “Still, I was very excited,” he said. “And there was a little bit of anxiety about giving the [graduation] speech,” he added.
Souhrada has led a very busy life for a high school student. He is a member of a number of school clubs such as National Honor Society, Tri-M Music Honor Society—where he serves as president—a member of the math and trivia teams, sailing team as well as being captain of the Science Olympiad team.
The valedictorian plays clarinet in the symphonic orchestra, wind ensemble, pit orchestra and is a member of the jazz ensemble known as Tuesday Night Hip Katz, where he plays saxophone. He is also the drum major of the school’s marching band. And he is busy outside of school with Boy Scouts, where he’s achieved the highest rank of Eagle Scout.
During his junior and senior year, Souhrada also managed to do research at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton. He worked on an unpaid internship there last summer and this summer will receive a paid BNL internship.
So how does he manage to keep his grades up with all of the extracurricular activities? “High management was important in everything I was involved in,” he said. “I had a passion for everything, so it was easy to manage because it was all enjoyable to me.”
He said he likes to take it slow in his spare time, though. “I like to hang out with friends and go on long walks. I just like to relax in my free time. No stress.”
Souhrada said he would miss Bay Shore a lot when he attends Cornell University in Ithaca this fall, where he will major in physics and math on the path to eventually earning a Ph.D.
“I’m very upset to be leaving,” he noted. “All four of my grandparents live in Bay Shore. I love [the community] and the school district. I hope to one day be able to come back, but it all depends on where [my career] takes me.
“I’ll miss the people that I’ve had relationships with for so long, the students and teachers. I’ll really miss having those connections,” he added. “But I’m excited for the freedom of college,” he said, noting that he wouldn’t miss the strict structure of high school, despite it being something he understands.
In fact, while feeling a bit better about making that graduation speech, he said he’d use some of what he learned in high school, such as the structure, to share some wisdom with his classmates.
“I’ve been thinking about it a lot,” he said. “There were things that have changed and things that stay the same, such as the importance of being prompt,” he noted while remarking on the school’s motto of “In class on time every day.” He said that it’s important to hold onto all of the lessons learned in school and apply them throughout their adult lives.
“Look at what has been consistent and [carry on] those things we’ve kept for so long.”
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