WESTPORT, Conn. -- Staples High School senior Eliza Llewellyn will lead the Class of 2014 as valedictorian, school officials recently announced.
Following tradition, Llewellyn will speak at graduation on June 20. Senior Melissa Beretta has been named the 2014 salutatorian. She will speak the night before graduation at the baccalaureate ceremony.
"Llewellyn and Beretta’s diverse stories share common threads," school officials said. "Both seniors seek out academic challenges, and thrive learning new subjects. Both have many interests outside the classroom, and earned leadership positions in a variety of realms. And when the Staples Class of 2014 graduates in June, both will be play important roles in the ceremonies."
Teachers say Llewellyn is an excellent writer, and she earned five Scholastic Gold Key awards in journalism and humor.
“I’m not super-talented,” Llewellyn said. “But I like the change of pace from academic classes.”
Llewellyn is the web managing editor of the school's newspaper and co-editor of the yearbook.
“I learned about cool, obscure things, like the Tech Ed class rocket project, and what it’s like to be in band,” she said. “Now I appreciate more what everyone around me does.”
Llewellyn was junior varsity tennis co-captain last spring and also plays piano. She was surprised to learn her grade point average topped the entire class, school officials said.
“I didn’t aim for it,” Llewellyn said. “There are so many intelligent, hard-working kids at Staples. I don’t think anyone should focus on their GPA. Every course I took, I tried to understand it fully. I wanted to think about what I was learning. I never found studying to be onerous.”
Beretta said she had loved her experience at Staples High School.
"My friends laugh because there is not one class or teacher at Staples I haven’t loved. I wish I had a fifth year of high school. I could take courses I haven’t had a chance to, and retake others. I love Staples," she said.
Beretta is a varsity tennis captain and she has provided tutoring for children for the SATs and ACTs, helping with college searches and teaching life skills.
“It’s all about learning how to be a good person through tennis,” Beretta said.
Beretta also serves a board member of Safe Rides and sings in the a cappella group For the Heart.
“I’m not the best singer by far, but I’ve made great friends and been surrounded by extremely loving and supportive people,” said Beretta. “It’s a way for me to express the side of me that loves to sing and dance.”