Student Spotlight: Isabella Castagnetti announced as Class of 2019 valedictorian

June 17, 2019

By Somaia Hassan

Excelling in sports and schoolwork, Isabella Castagnetti, who earned a 1420 on her SAT and has a 4.483 GPA, is ranked first in her class and will be speaking at graduation on June 19 as the Class of 2019 valedictorian. Administrators announced the finalized class rank on June 14. 

Castagnetti said she was able to balance sports, school and a social life by managing her time wisely.

“Fitting everything on my plate came from being productive with what little time I had and not feeding into procrastination, which was insanely difficult at times,” said Castagnetti, a three-sport athlete who was the goalie on the soccer team and pole vaulted for the indoor and outdoor track and field teams.

She said the time and effort required to achieve her goals sometimes took a toll on her well-being.

“A major consequence of this was not making sleep a priority. While I was able to complete what I was taxing my body and mind with by putting sleep on the backburner, I lost the quality of my work by doing this,” Castagnetti said. “However, I have learned that my physical and mental health are the keys to my success, and by better prioritizing my time to include things like sleep and down time, [I] improved both my performance and my time management skills.”

“It’s almost as though you enter high school, blink four times and, all of a sudden, it’s time to graduate and embark on the next chapter of your life.”

Castagnetti said her parents have been her greatest supporters because they have pushed her to do her best and stay true to her character.

“No matter what I set my mind to, my parents are always there to support my endeavors and drive me to success. Something they always tell me, though grammatically incorrect, is ‘You be you.’ Basically, this just means that as long as you put forth your best effort, nothing can go wrong,” Castagnetti said. “While this phrase is a mere three words, it has motivated me throughout the years and has kept me going in times where I was struggling.”

During her sophomore year, Castagnetti committed to playing soccer at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts. Therefore, she has had years to envision life after high school. However, Castagnetti said it is still difficult to say goodbye to LHS.

“While I am excited to face a new frontier and meet new people, my close friends will always have a special place in my heart, and I will miss seeing them day to day like I do at LHS,” Castagnetti said.

She said the message she would like to convey to incoming freshmen is to make the most of their high school experiences.

“It is important to focus on schoolwork [because] freshman year does matter in terms of your GPA. It is also important to have fun…. It can’t hurt to go out for that sport, join that club [and] go to that dance,” Castagnetti said.   

  She said while the minutes sometimes seemed to pass slowly, the months and years she spent at LHS flew by.

“It’s almost as though you enter high school, blink four times and, all of a sudden, it’s time to graduate and embark on the next chapter of your life,” Castagnetti said.

Math teacher Mr. Carucci, who taught Castagnetti in his Advanced Placement Statistics class during her junior year, described her as an exceptional student who displays relentless effort and desire to succeed.

“[She] is one of the most dedicated, hardworking, selfless and caring students I have ever had,” Carucci said.

He said Castagnetti is the type of student all teachers want to have in their classes.

“She always has her work done and puts in 110 percent on every assignment. She isn’t afraid to ask questions if she needs help. She’ll crack a joke and help keep the classroom environment relaxed. She helps other students that aren’t understanding the content,” Carucci said.

He said he is especially impressed by Castagnetti’s ability to excel in both academics and sports.

“Valedictorian, 4s and 5s on a number of AP exams and a D1 soccer scholarship. It is basically unheard of,” Carucci said.

Senior Gabriella Schnur said she will forever support Castagnetti, whom she describes as one of her closest friends.

“I am beyond ecstatic for Izzy to be valedictorian, and I believe that she deserves it the most. I was so happy for her when I found out that she would be our class’ valedictorian,” Schnur said.

She said Castagnetti is not only a great scholar and athlete but also a trustworthy and loyal companion.

“I know I can always go to her for anything, and she will always be there for me,” Schnur said.

Schnur said she is confident Castagnetti will continue to triumph in the years ahead.

“After graduation, I see her doing amazing things in her life. I see her being the most successful out of all of us because of her great determination and drive to be the best,” said Schnur.

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