Middle Country Central School District Announces 2023 Valedictorians and Salutatorians

The Middle Country Central School District recently announced that Lauren Hoppe from Centereach High School and Zarif Rezwan from Newfield High School are the class of 2023 valedictorians, and Derek Zheng from Centereach High School and Leah Landron from Newfield High School are the salutatorians. Throughout the four years in their respective high schools, these students excelled academically, have been active community members, and participated in various extracurricular activities.

“Congratulations to our valedictorians and salutatorians who emulate what our District strives to instill in our students through a well-rounded educational experience. These four students have demonstrated an exemplary commitment to their academics while being role models for their peers as well as for all members of our school community,” said Dr. Roberta Gerold, Superintendent of Middle Country Central School District. “On behalf of the entire Middle Country family, we wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.”

Valedictorian Lauren Hoppe is an exceptional student. She is an AP scholar and will have completed 13 AP courses and two additional college-level courses by graduation this June. Lauren is also a well-rounded individual who is musically gifted. She is a member of the Tri-M Honor Society, competes annually at NYSSMA, and plays in the Centereach High School wind ensemble. She was a member of the school’s pit orchestra in the recent musical, Beauty and the Beast. 

Lauren is an active member of the National Honor Society and Italian Honor Society and is vice president of the student government. Lauren is also a competitive athlete. She is the captain of the women’s soccer team and played varsity for four years. This year, she was recognized as the most valuable player by her team and voted to the All-County team by the coaches in Suffolk County. Lauren has been accepted and will attend Fairfield University in September. She plans to continue her education in the field of nursing with the goal of becoming a nurse anesthetist.

Centereach High School salutatorian Derek Zheng is a talented and gifted student. His academic achievements are laudatory. Derek’s combined SAT score is 1520. Upon graduation, Derek will have completed 11 AP classes as well as six additional college-level courses. He is the vice president of the National Honor Society, the senior class, and the president of the math team. Derek is also r involved in the Science Olympiad and is a member of the Spanish Honor Society, leaders club, environmental club, and history club.

Derek played a major role in the success of Centereach High School’s basketball team serving as captain. He was recognized as an Academic All-County player by the Suffolk Country basketball coaches.  Throughout his high school journey, Derek has shown the same initiative and perseverance in the community as he has in school. He worked as an assistant manager at two local businesses, interned as a medical assistant at the Three Village Asthma and Allergy Center, and as a hobby, he started his own clothing line, Day One Aspirations.  After graduation, Derek plans to study finance and computer science at New York University’s Stern School of Business. Derek ultimately hopes to pursue his MBA at the University of Pennsylvania – Wharton School of Business. 

Newfield High School valedictorian Zarif Rezwan is an inspirational student. He was born in Bangladesh and moved to the United States with his family in the summer before starting eighth grade. He learned how to read and write by watching movies in English. Throughout his high school career, he completed 16 college and AP-level courses. He maintained a weighted average of 103.79. He has the potential to graduate next month with more than 45 college credits.

Outside of the classroom, Zarif is an active member of DECA, and a varsity athlete with the cross-country,  Winter Track, and Spring track and field teams. He is a historian of the National Honor Society and president of the National Technical Honor Society. Zarif also tutors students through ten hours of SAT math prep and is an usher and helper at the Islamic Association of Long Island. All of his hard work inside and outside of the classroom has earned him recognition as a National Merit Scholarship Program finalist, AP Scholar with Distinction, state-level placement in DECA, and cross-country most improved player. Zarif was also the recipient of the Suffolk Zone Physical Education Outstanding Student Award and Selden Masjid’s Youth Leadership and Empowerment Seminar Essay Scholarship. Post graduation, Zarif is off to the University of Southern California. He’ll be majoring in computer science concentrating on computer vision and autonomous driving technology.

Newfield High School salutatorian Leah Landron is a diligent and compassionate student. By the conclusion of her high school journey, she will have completed 14 college and advanced placement level courses. Leah maintains an unweighted average of 99.06 and a weighted average of 103.48. She has the potential to graduate next month with more than 35 college credits. Leah has earned the AP Scholar award. She is a member of the Thespian Honor Society, Tri-M Music Honor Society, Chamber Orchestra, drama club, and school choir. She is also the secretary of the National Art Honor Society and president of the newspaper club. 

In her spare time, Leah enjoys drawing, writing poetry, and playing the ukulele. Her teachers describe her as the ideal student. Leah is headed to Stony Brook in the Fall where she’ll major in chemical engineering with a focus on environmental issues.