‘Believe in yourself, even when others don’t'
EAST ISLIP—Victoria Keenan was recently named valedictorian for East Islip High School’s graduating Class of 2019.
Keenan, a lifelong East Islip resident, said the announcement was “unexpected.”
“I never compared myself to other students,” she added. “I’ve always been one to keep my head down and stay out of the spotlight.”
Keenan said playing the violin is a “huge part of [her] life.” She was a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society and played in a concert every year of high school in order to help raise money for the EJ Autism Foundation.
This year’s valedictorian was also the concertmaster (leading violinist) of the pit orchestra for the past four years and was a member of Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, which allowed her to perform at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University.
Keenan also worked with the school newspaper, The Broadcaster, since 10th grade. She began as an editor and eventually worked her way up to writing music-related pieces. The two most memorable were reviews for the high school’s productions of “Aida” and “Miss Saigon” in Keenan’s sophomore and senior years.
Now that high school is over, Keenan said she’s going to miss the music department, which “helped [her] find her way.” She also said she won’t miss a “certain time” in her high school career where she couldn’t find a balance between her studies and downtime.
“I was very driven towards my schoolwork,” she said. “Hopefully, there will be a more healthy balance in college.”
In the fall, Keenan is attending Ithaca College, where she will study music education. “I would love to teach [music] on Long Island after graduation, but I would be honored to teach anywhere.”
East Islip’s top student already has a head start in that regard. She’s given violin lessons in the past and this summer she’s taking on two new students. “I have a music room set aside at home,” she explained.
Keenan said her parents are her biggest role models. “They’ve taught me so much about the kindness in the world,” she said. Keenan also gave a shout-out to her teachers, who she said were “very supportive” during her high school years.
When asked what advice she would give to future students, Keenan said: “Always believe in yourself, even when others don’t.”
Keenan added, “You’re stuck with yourself for life, so you might as well learn to love yourself. As long as you stay strong, you’ll find your way.”
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