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Staples High Names Valedictorian, Salutatorian

WESTPORT, Conn. – Staples High School seniors Matt Silver and Carolyn Chen are headed to Princeton University this fall. But before they leave Staples, the recently named valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, have one more feat to accomplish.

As the Class of 2012 Valedictorian, Matt will deliver the valedictory address during commencement on June 19. Carolyn will give a speech during the annual baccalaureate ceremony the night before graduation, school officials announced Tuesday.

But given their academic and personal backgrounds, preparing speeches should be a piece of cake for these two scholars.

Matt, a native of Westport, is a national Scrabble champion who excels in math. He is a four-year member and current captain of the Staples Math Team and has participated in the annual Moody's Mega Math Challenge, an all-day problem-solving event held at the school on a Saturday.

"I love to solve problems," said Matt, a National Merit Scholar finalist. "I'm an inquisitive person. I like analyzing how things work, and seeing how problems get fixed."

A two-time National School Scrabble champion, Matt has shared his knowledge of the game with middle school students as a tutor. He is also a musician, having played violin since fourth-grade, and an athlete; he played tennis up through his junior year.

Outside of school, Matt volunteered with the Harbor Watch program at Earthplace, where he led a group of high school students in testing water quality.

After graduation, Matt will work as a tutor during the summer before heading off to Princeton, where he might major in engineering or applied math.

Carolyn, who came to Westport in the eighth-grade, has also had an active high school career. She is an AP Scholar with Distinction. Her favorite subjects are math and science, but she also considers herself an avid reader.

A gifted musician, Carolyn plays the violin with the New York Youth Symphony every Sunday. As a member of the symphony, she has been afforded the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall on several occasions.

Outside of school and music, Carolyn serves as a junior emergency medical technician with Westport Emergency Medical Service. As a freshman, she took the intensive medical response technician course.

Carolyn said she was inspired to get involved with the EMS after seeing EMTs in action when her grandmother was injured in a bicycling accident. "Medicine is not in my future, but I wanted to be part of a team like that."

She plans to pursue a degree in engineering at Princeton.

The graduation ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. in the Staples High School field house. The baccalaureate ceremony will be held the night before in the Staples auditorium.

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