By Dan Murphy
Congratulations to the Class of 2022, and the Valedictorians and Salutatorians that worked so hard to get to this point of success. Yonkers Rising and YonkersTimes.com is proud to once again feature each of the Val’s and Sal’s from each high school in Yonkers.
We start with YMA, Yonkers Montessori Academy, and Valedictorian Allesandro Cocking, and Salutatorian Dotun Obasa. Allesandro will graduate with a with a 100.69 weighted grade point average. His favorite teachers at YMA are Calculus teacher Richard Harman, Economics-Government teacher Brian Coyle and US History teacher Michael Devlin.
Allesandro’s favorite subjects are Math and History. “Mr. Harman makes Calculus a lot of fun. He took us to Puerto Rico (YMA senior trip). I don’t know how he does it but he makes it interesting and has a way of getting everyone involved. And I have always been interested in History, specifically US History in the 20th Century.”
Allesandro has taken 11 college link courses, and is Captain of the YMA Soccer Team. He also works for the Eastchester Emergency Medical Service as a first responder. “One of my friends lives in Eastchester and started working for their EMS. I started out as a volunteer and now I’m working on the ambulance.”
Cocking applied for, and was accepted at Baruch College, Iona College, Fordham University, Manhattan College, and Pace University. He has decided to attend Baruch College, as a recipient of the Macaulay Honors Scholarship. “It’s a great college and its the best financial decision for me. I won’t be paying through the scholarship.”
Allesandro wants to graduate from college with a major in finance, and then hopes to become a Yonkers firefighter. “One of my family friends is a fire fighter and I know that I would be miserable sitting behind a desk.”
Allesandro said, “I had a lot of good influences,” that helped him achieve his academic success. My parents and my family helped me and pushed me. And my teachers and my friends have supported me. I’m a pretty good test taker,”
Advice for a future Val-Sal? “It’s important to be good to others, and get along with your teachers, and become a part of the school community. It helps you acheive more. I loved my time at YMA. I had thought about leaving and attending a private school but I’m glad I stayed here. It’s a tight knit community.”
YMA Salutatorian Dotun Obasa will graduate with a 99 GPA. His favorite subject is Math and his favorite teacher is Mrs.Morgunova, Pre-Calculus.”The way she teaches Pre-Calc and math makes it very interesting. When I ask her a question she explains it in a way that I understand. She has an interesting perspective on math and how it can be used in life.”
Dotun has taken 12 college link courses, and served as an Altar Person at St. Bartholomew’s church in Yonkers.
Obasa applied to four colleges and will be attending Pace university in Dobbs Ferry in the fall. “My sister went to Pace and she did well. It is a good choice for me to attend.
Dotun plans on studying computer science at Pace. “I enjoy gaming, and making games and apps and websites and hope to learn more. I have some coding experience and I want to do more.”
Both Val and Sal are comfortable staying at home, and neither wanted to go away to college. But both had different feelings about learning from home during COVID.
“I hated remote learning,” said Allesandro.”When the hybrid option came back I couldn’t wait. I had difficulty learning at home. I’m a hands on learner, and its easier for me to see the teacher and watch my classmates interact. I think all of us were more shy at home on remote. There were fewer questions asked.”
Dotun said, “I honestly felt more comfortable at home and was in my comfort zone. I was absorbing the same amount of information and got used to it quickly” Both had laptops to learn from, without issue during COVID.
Obasa said about YMA, “I have been in this school my entire student life. I am familiar with the design and layout of every classroom. One of my siblings went somewhere else, but I’m glad I stayed at YMA.”
Dotun’s teachers and family helped him achieve academic greatness. “They pushed me and assisted me and were always there when I had a question. I had a persistence that helped me with my grades. I can’t say there is a method other than to focus on making progress and asking a question if you don’t understand.”
“If I could leave behind a piece of future advice for students, it would be start planning for college as early as possible. You don’t have to decide on a major right away.”