Don’t be defined by a number
Connetquot High School's 2018 salutatorian, Giavanna Prucha

Courtesy photo

Don’t be defined by a number


BOHEMIA—Giavanna Prucha has been named Connetquot High School’s salutatorian for the Class of 2018. Prucha said she was “in utter shock” when her principal told her the news. “I thanked him and my guidance counselor before bursting into tears,” she added.

Prucha participates in a new school club called Science Olympiad, which she also helped to found. She described the club as “an opportunity for students with a passion for science to learn, create, and demonstrate their abilities in a healthy competition environment,” adding that she and other students spent hours after school and on weekends building things like towers, hovercrafts, small cars, and other tools that would be graded and tested during specific events in competition with schools across Long Island. 

“I was fortunate enough to earn a medal in the hovercraft event this year, and place well in other events like anatomy and chemistry,” she said. 

In addition, Prucha has been a member of the Community Ambulance Company’s Youth Squad for four years. She says the organization has provided her with the opportunity to learn from paramedics and emergency medical personnel the basics of patient care, and receive first aid and CPR certification. “I look forward to becoming a full-time member of the company in the near future and receiving my EMT-B certification,” she added. 

Prucha also likes reading and doing anything outdoors. “Work and school take up most of my time, so being able to relax and spend time with my friends is also important to me,” she said. 

In the fall, Prucha will be attending Syracuse University, where she will double major in biochemistry and biomedical engineering. She also hopes to pursue a minor in religious studies. “From a young age, when my mother fell ill, I felt it was my moral duty to aid in her treatment and recovery, or at least help others with the same diagnosis in the future,” Prucha said. “My commitment to medicine began at that time, and while oncology is not my intended path at the moment, biology and chemistry are the foundations of medicine and research, and as a whole, encompasses my passion. Without science, both natural and physical, my work in research would be nonexistent. Starting from the smallest unit of matter to produce cells and organisms and human bodies has fascinated me since fifth grade, and I cannot wait to further explore the beauty of science for the rest of my life.”

Prucha is currently focused on going to medical school and becoming a trauma surgeon. However, her work with researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory has peaked her interest in becoming a research scientist. “We shall wait and see,” Prucha said. 

Connetquot’s salutatorian says, above all else, she will miss her teachers after graduation, adding that there have been several who have given her endless support, despite some personal setbacks. “They remind me every day of my potential and my strength as a student and as an individual,” she said. “Without them, I would not be where I am today.” 

On the other hand, Prucha also says she will not miss the immaturity of students and the “horrendous” traffic that leads into school in the morning. “I am a patient person, but not at 6:30 in the morning,” she added. 

Prucha said she doesn’t have any particular role models, as she prefers to “[strive] for personal goals.” She does, however, admire a number of “very strong women,” including Eleanor Roosevelt, Marie Curie, Rosalind Franklin and Elizabeth Blackwell, who “all changed the pace of society during their time in one way or another, and I hope to be as powerful, steadfast and gracious as each of them.”

When asked what advice she would give to future graduates, Prucha said, “You are not defined by a number; no numerical measurement can determine who you are as an individual, only you can do that.” She also said, “the recipe for success is time and failure; there is no race to the finish line and there is no such thing as perfect.”