Galway High School top 10 students for 2018

Galway High School's top 10 students of the class of 2018. Maya Vanderhorst is the valedictorian and Erik Matthews is the salutatorian. (Photo submitted)

GALWAY — Galway High School Principal Michael R. Miller announced the top 10 students of the class of 2018. Maya Vanderhorst is the valedictorian and Erik Matthews is the salutatorian.

Maya Vanderhorst

Maya Vanderhorst, daughter of Stacy and Kurt Vanderhorst of Galway, is the valedictorian for the class of 2018.

Vanderhorst is president and secretary of the Student Senate, secretary of the class of 2018, and secretary and treasurer of the Robotics Club.

A member of the Society of Women Engineers, Vanderhorst was a 2017 Project Fibonacci Scholar for students in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM). Vanderhorst was a Scholar Athlete for four years and was named to the 2015 and 2016 Western Athletic Conference All-Star Team for soccer. She was a 4-year member of the varsity soccer team, 4-year member of varsity track and field team, and one-year member of the varsity basketball team.

In addition, she is a member of the National Honor Society, mentor of a second-grader, blood drive coordinator, member of the Leo Club, and employee of Bob’s Trees and Ben and Jerry’s Catering.

Vanderhorst will attend the Rochester Institute of Technology in the fall, where she plans to study biomedical engineering.

Erik Matthews

Erik Matthews, son of Maria and Jay Matthews of Ballston Lake, has been named salutatorian of the class of 2018.

Matthews is president of the National Honor Society, vice president of the class of 2018, secretary of Student Senate, treasurer of concert band, a 4-year member and 2-year captain of the varsity Soccer team, and a 2-year member and captain of the Varsity Basketball team.

Some of his most prestigious accolades include News Channel 13 Athlete of the Week, Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Academic All Star, Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Presidential Service Award, Adirondack Area School Boards Association Community Service Scholarship Recipient, Western Athletic Conference MVP for soccer, and Times Union Boys Soccer All Star. He also enjoys running varsity track and field, performing with the Galway High Drama Club, playing percussion in both the concert and marching bands, anchoring on Galway Television, and writing for Eagles Media Center.

Outside of school, Matthews is a junior staff leader and Area 5 president for the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Seminar, Boys State of America participant, Lions Club and food pantry volunteer, Harmony Corners chicken barbecue volunteer, and an active member at St. Mary’s Church in Galway.

At church, Matthews is an altar server, youth ministry volunteer, and teacher of third grade faith formation.

He also works on his family’s fruit farm.

Matthews plans to attend Daemen College in the fall to continue his academic and athletic career. He will be playing Division II soccer and pursuing a doctoral degree in physical therapy.

Brandon Wight

Brandon Wight is the son of Rhonda and Kevin Wight of Ballston Spa.

He earned the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Medal for Math and Science and maintained academic scholar status throughout his high school career.

Wight ran varsity cross-country and varsity track and field and was a member of the Robotics Team.

He volunteered at the Galway Food Pantry and worked at Bob’s Trees and the Cock and Bull Restaurant.

Wight plans to study computer engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology in the fall.

Zarah Chaverri

Zarah Chaverri is the daughter of Tammy and Rafael Chaverri of Amsterdam.

She earned the Bausch & Lomb Award, maintained academic scholar status throughout her high school career, and was named to the National Society of High School Scholars. Chaverri was chief editor of the Galway Yearbook Club, secretary of S.A.D.D., and a member of the National Honor Society. Her artwork has been displayed in the National Bottle Museum Gallery, Front Street Deli, and Saratoga County Fair. Her photographs have been published in the Talent Unlimited Literary and Art Journal, and her logo and brochure design were chosen by Adirondack Save-A-Stray.

Chaverri volunteered at the Galway Holiday Gift Shop, Galway Public Library, Scholastic Book Fair, Things of My Very Own in Schenectady, Bob’s Trees, S.A.D.D. fundraisers, and Galway High School Drama productions.

Chaverri will attend New Hampshire Institute of Art in the fall to major in photography and minor in business. Her goal is to be a professional artist.

Griffen Gannon

Griffen Gannon is the daughter of Robin Gannon of Galway and Thomas Gannon of Stillwater.

Gannon received the Capital Area School Development Association Scholastic Achievement Award, the George Eastman Young Leaders Award, and the Lion’s Club Citizenship Award.

She was named to the WAC All-Star First Team for varsity soccer for three consecutive years.

Gannon was president of the class of 2018 for four years and treasurer of Student Senate for two years. She is a 4-year member of the varsity soccer team, 2-year member of the varsity track team, 1-year member of the varsity basketball team, and 1-year member of the Ski Club. She is also involved in the National Honor Society, Best Buddies Club, and Future Farmers of America. She also worked for N.E. Classic Abstracting throughout high school.

Gannon will attend Villanova University in the fall to pursue a career in the medical field.

Molly Ryan

Molly Ryan is the daughter of Sharon Holbrook-Ryan of Ballston Lake and Matthew Ryan of Scotia.

She is the sergeant at arms of the class of 2018, vice president of Concert Band, anchor of Galway Television, and co-editor of Eagles Media Center, where she has been writing for three years.

Ryan plays trumpet in the Jazz Band and is a member of National Honor Society, the Masterminds Team, and S.A.D.D. She participated in All-County Band and the Galway High Drama productions of Lucky Stiff and Cinderella. Ryan is a member of the Saratoga County 4-H, where she volunteers for bake sales and the Saratoga County Fair.

Ryan plans to continue her education at the University of New Haven in Connecticut, where she will participate in the honors program, marching band, and major in forensic science.

Jake Restivo

Jake Restivo is the son of Carl and Mildred Restivo of West Charlton.

Restivo is the founder and president of Galway’s Best Buddies Chapter, one of his proudest achievements while attending Galway High School. He is president of the high school band, in which he plays percussion, and a member of the National Honor Society, Class Office, GTV, and Student Senate.

Outside of the classroom, Restivo excelled as a three-sport athlete in soccer, basketball and track and field. He was captain of the varsity soccer team, two-time First Team All-Star, and a Second Team All Star. In varsity track and field, he was a multiple time WAC League and Sectional Champion in the 100m, 4x100m, 4x400m, long jump, triple jump, and high jump. He also holds the school record in the 100m and the 4x400m. He competed in state qualifiers every year since freshman year.

During the summer, Restivo is a lifeguard at the Schenectady Jewish Community Center.

Restivo plans to attend Binghamton University in the fall to study biology or neuroscience while also competing in Division 1 track and field. After undergrad, Jake plans to get a master’s degree and become a physician assistant.

Leah Vanderhorst

Leah Vanderhorst is the daughter of Stacy and Kurt Vanderhorst of Galway.

Vanderhorst earned the Elmira Key Award and was an academic scholar for all four years of high school. She is treasurer of the class of 2018, treasurer of National Honor Society, and member of Student Senate, Lion’s Club, Best Buddies, and BUGS.

She was a member of the varsity soccer and varsity track teams.

Vanderhorst worked at Ben and Jerry’s and performed volunteer work throughout her high school career.

Vanderhorst will attend Quinnipiac University in the fall to major in biomedical sciences on the pre-med track.

Jasmine Rose

Jasmine Rose is the daughter of Angela Palmateer of Galway and Sam Rose of Ballston Spa.

Rose earned the Outstanding Business Education Student Award from the Business and Marketing Educators’ Association of the Capital District. She was an E-Way intern and has been working in a supervisory position since her sophomore year of high school.

Rose will attend the University at Albany in the fall to pursue a business degree. She hopes to open her own business one day.

Graham Willbrant

Graham Willbrant is the son of Amy and Alan Willbrant of Amsterdam.

He earned the Xerox Award and is the president of the Robotics Club and a representative for the class of 2018. Willbrant is a member of the National Honor Society and varsity baseball team.

He is employed at Panera Bread and volunteers at his church and with the West Charlton Fire Department pancake breakfast. He is also a 10-year member of the 4-H Club.

Willbrant will attend Rochester Institute of Technology in the fall to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering. He would like to work with a firm that produces clean energy.


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