A recent article in The Valley News, of Fulton, N.Y., features Kristen Kush, the 2008 valedictorian at G. Ray Bodley High School there, who will be attending William Smith College in the fall. While in high school, she played soccer, softball and basketball, played trumpet and was a member of the Joseph Campolieta Chapter of the National Honor Society. The full article appears below.
The Valley News “Fulton’s top two students” Andrew Henderson • June 14, 2008 Members of the senior class at G. Ray Bodley High School in Fulton are preparing to don caps and gowns for graduation June 28. For two of them, graduation brings top academic honors for their four years of hard work. Principal Dennis Dumas recently announced the valedictorian and salutatorian of the graduating class. Kristen Kush, daughter of Stephen Kush and Stephanie Freeman, is the 2008 valedictorian and Kaylee Underkofler, daughter of Lori O’Hanlon and Jay Underkofler, is salutatorian. Miss Kush, a stand-out athlete, will be attending Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva in the fall. She played soccer and softball and plans to play basketball at the NCAA Division III school. Fulton’s top student will not be immediately declaring a major at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. “Math and science—I don’t have a specific major yet,” she said. “It could be in pharmacy eventually.” Playing three sports and participating in other extracurricular activities helped her achieve in the classroom, Miss Kush said. “It structures my time more during the seasons,” she said, noting that becoming valedictorian was not on her list of goals. “I do my work and try to get high grades. It just happened that I got lucky.” She also plays the trumpet and is a member of the Joseph Campolieta Chapter of the National Honor Society. “I am going to miss all my friends, but I am not worried about making new friends,” said Miss Kush, explaining that playing college basketball will help with the transition. Her said her favorite class this year was advanced-placement economics. “It could be useful in every-day life even though I am not going to study it in college,” she said. “It can be applied to real-life situations.” Her favorite teacher throughout her high-school career was Penny Downing, who taught mathematics. “I liked her teaching style and structure—and the class was fun, too,” said Miss Kush. Miss Underkofler will be attending Ithaca College and studying physical therapy and pre-med. “I’ve always been interested in science and health science,” she said. “If I enjoy it, maybe down the road I can open my own physical-therapy business.” A member of the high school’s chapter of the National Honor Society, she was also involved in athletics. She was a member of the girls’ indoor track team and the girls’ lacrosse team. During the off-season, she works at the Hannibal IGA while working only weekends during the sport seasons. “I didn’t think it was possible until this year,” Miss Underkofler said about becoming salutatorian. She acknowledged that she will miss one aspect of high school—her friends. “My favorite memories have been with my friends,” she said. “They definitely made high school.” Just like her classmate, Mrs. Downing was her favorite teacher. She instructed Math Course III, which was Miss Underkofler’s favorite class. “I like math in general,” she said. Miss Underkofler added that biology teacher Jeff Rothrock was a favorite teacher, also. Typically during commencement, the valedictorian and salutatorian give separate speeches. That will not be the case this year. “We are doing things differently this year,” said Miss Underkofler. “We’re joining our speeches.” When asked if it would turn into a stand-up routine, Miss Kush responded, “Hopefully.” Graduation exercises will be held June 28 at 10 a.m. at the Fulton Community Center. Mandatory rehearsal for all graduating seniors participating in the graduation ceremony will be held in the G. Ray Bodley High School auditorium Friday, June 27 at 10 a.m. Caps and gowns and tickets will be issued after rehearsal June 27. Photo: Valedictorian Kush, at right, poses with Kaylee Underkofler, the class salutatorian.