Keep moving forward
RONKONKOMA—Dylan Macejko has been named valedictorian for Connetquot High School’s graduating Class of 2019.
Macejko, a lifelong Ronkonkoma resident, said being given the title was a truly “surreal experience.
“I felt more than honored when they told me,” he said. “It’s one of those things that you strive for but seems unlikely, especially with all of my hardworking classmates. So to hear that it was actually me, I almost couldn’t believe it.”
Macejko is a five-year member of his school’s varsity swimming and diving team, and 10-year member of the Connetquot Swim Club. He has participated in the Jones Beach Junior Lifeguard Training and Competition teams and works as an Islip Town lifeguard during the summer. Macejko is also a member of Athletes Helping Athletes, National Honor Society and the World Language Honor Society.
“I enjoy participating in all the clubs mentioned, but what I feel is most important about them is that they all provide me with the ability to give back to the community,” he said. “Whether it be through fundraisers for charity or teaching young children about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, these clubs allow me to leave a positive impact on the society around me that is greater than myself.”
In his spare time, Macejko enjoys playing video games and riding his bike around the neighborhood.
With very little time left before graduation, Macejko said he’s going to miss the friendships he’s made during his school days. “My friends have always been there to support me, and while I know I will stay in contact with them, it definitely is going to be a change to adapt to,” he said.
On the other hand, Macejko won’t miss the “fixed schedule” of high school. “I’m excited to be able to create my own schedule of classes that best suits my needs,” he adds.
In the fall, Macejko is scheduled to attend Binghamton University, where he will study computer science.
Macejko said he became “hooked” on taking programming classes throughout high school. “To be able to code any game you like and learn the inner workings of the mind of a computer is definitely very fascinating to me,” Macejko said, adding that he may pursue a career in cybersecurity after college.
The valedictorian cites his swim coaches and “swim family” as his biggest role models. “They have provided me with a large variety of lessons throughout my time with them, and I now will be able to put them to good use in my college experiences,” he said. “I have always admired their hard work ethic, both in the pool and out, and I have always strived to put that same work ethic forwards myself.”
When asked what advice he would give to future graduates, Macejko said: “Always keep moving forward.
“There are going to be times when the road may get rough or there are obstacles that you must overcome,” he added. “These obstacles are never impossible and you will be able to get around them. However, it is important that you don’t recur on the decision you made by asking yourself if you had made the right one. Instead, learn from the experience that you just had and look into the future because new opportunities are available for you to take there, not in the past.”
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