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Rondout Valley High School Names Valedictorian and Salutatorian

Rondout Valley High School (RVHS) is proud to announce that Olivia Waruch, with a grade point average (GPA) of 100.65, is the valedictorian of the Class of 2024, and Merryn Arms, with a GPA of 100.57, is this year’s salutatorian. 

The daughter of Jonathan and Jennifer Waruch of Accord, Olivia will be attending Hamilton College in the fall. She plans to major in Environmental Studies, and to compete on the school’s Field Hockey and Track and Field teams.

Olivia will graduate with 31 overall credits, which are composed of honors, advanced placement, and collegiate courses. She has completed 24 credits through SUNY Ulster by taking college-level courses offered at RVHS. Olivia has done exceptionally well on all of her New York State Regents exams, which will enable her to graduate with an Honors Regents Diploma, with Advanced Designation, with Mastery in Math.

Olivia is a member of the National Honor Society as well as a senior class representative for the Student Congress. During her senior year, she was named captain of the Field Hockey team and was part of the leadership team for Track and Field. Outside of school, Olivia works at Stone House Tavern in Accord as a hostess and busser.

Olivia is in the process of earning the prestigious New York State Seal of Biliteracy designation in Spanish. This is awarded to students who have studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages by their high school graduation. In addition, she was named a Mid-Hudson Athletic League Scholar Athlete and a Section IX Most Valuable Player, and was selected for the National Field Hockey Coaches Association All-Region and Senior Impact teams. 

Olivia is grateful to her parents for always urging her to work hard and to do her best. She also credits her brother for serving as a role model. “Athletic-wise, my brother has been really inspiring being that he’s a collegiate athlete,” she said. “Watching him inspired me to want to compete in college.” 
Olivia also expressed her appreciation for Social Studies teacher John Soi for creating an inviting and friendly atmosphere in his classrooms, and Math teacher Lisa Schoonmaker, who gave her lots of encouragement. As she moves on to the next chapters of her academic and athletic careers, she will, she said, never forget the thrill of playing with her teammates in three regional Field Hockey games in her home stadium.

She offered the following advice to underclassmen: “Find something you’re passionate about and become dedicated and consistent with it,” she said. “It helps you meet new people and create new interests.” 

Salutatorian Merryn is the daughter of Julianna and Bryant Arms of Accord. Merryn will graduate with 26.5 overall credits, which are composed of honors, advanced placement, and collegiate courses. She has completed 18 credits through SUNY Ulster by taking college-level courses offered at RVHS. Due to her impressive scores on the New York State Regents exams, she will graduate with an Honors Regents Diploma, with Advanced Designation, with Mastery in Math and Mastery in Science.

Merryn is the secretary of the Student Congress, a member of the National Honor Society, president of the World Languages Club, a member of the Science Olympiad team, and a peer leader for the Newcomers Uplifted program. In addition, she competes on the school’s Track and Field team, and is in the process of earning the Seal of Seal of Biliteracy designation in Spanish. Outside of school, Merryn is working towards getting her private pilot license by taking flight aviation lessons in Ellenville.

When asked who her biggest role models are, she mentioned her parents and her sister. Her most memorable teacher, she said, is Spanish teacher Victoria Robertson. “She’s a really good person and very supportive,” she explained. Merryn’s favorite memories of high school were of the last days of school her freshman, sophomore, and junior years, when everyone gathered outside for a countdown that was projected on the scoreboard.

As the salutatorian, Merryn offered the following advice: “Don’t be afraid to branch out to try new stuff out of your comfort zone,” she said. “Also, surround yourself with other people that are passionate about similar things as you because that keeps you motivated. I’ve learned that who you surround yourself with is very important.” 

RVHS Principal Jessica Torok radiates with pride as she applauds these remarkable students. “Olivia and Merryn embody the essence of kindness, talent, and intellect, making them truly exceptional young scholars,” she said. “We are immensely proud of both Olivia and Merryn, and have no doubt that they will continue to shine brightly as they embark on their next adventures. Congrats and Go Ganders!”