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Gutherman and Tatela Earn Top Spots for Class of 2023

Valedictorian Zoe Gutherman and Salutatorian Andrew Tatela by elephant statueCongratulations to Valedictorian Zoe Gutherman and Salutatorian Andrew Tatela. The top two students for the Somers High School Class of 2023 credit their amazing teachers, a robust program of study at Somers High School, a supportive community, and hard work for their academic success and top student designation. 

Gutherman points to the Science Research Program as a huge contributor to her academic success due to the many skills she learned as a participant. “The independent nature of the course forced me to improve my time management as well as giving and receiving support to and from my peers,” she said. “It also helped me realize my passion for learning about and helping the environment.”

Gutherman’s research project won second place at the Westchester Science & Engineering Fair. She used satellite imaging data to investigate how land surface temperatures vary across different land covers in New York State. She has plans to attend college in the northeast and study environmental science.

In addition to Science Research, Gutherman’s Somers High School activities include the Girls Tennis team where she joined as a varsity player in eighth grade, the Environmental Club and the Astronomy Club. She also has been a volunteer for several years at the Northern Westchester Community Center.

Tatela was a Commended Student this year in the National Merit Scholarship Program. He is a lover of all things music and wears many musical hats at Somers High School. He is a member of the jazz band, band, choir, chamber choirs, and drama club. He also plays guitar and sings in his own band, Puppets for Hire, which recently opened for the world-famous Spin Doctors. 

Tatela's future plans include college and while he has no “dream college,” Tatela said he could see himself at Brown University in a math or science-related major. “However, I'll try not to limit myself in college,” he said. “I'd like to continue to be a well-rounded learner and explore many disciplines."

As the top two students at Somers High School, each has words of wisdom for their fellow underclassmen.

“My advice for underclassmen would be to find something that you’re passionate about and work hard toward it,” Gutherman said. “During such a turbulent time in your life, having a go-to interest provides a good outlet for the inevitable high school stress.”

Tatela advised fellow students to try new things and find their niche. “I didn't know I liked theater until I was pressured to try it,” he said. “High school will be that much better if you discover a new interest and find a group of people that you connect with.”