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Shaheen Hasan named Class of 2016 Salutatorian

June 14, 2016

ShaheenShaheen Hasan, daughter of Feroz and Saman Hasan of Rotterdam has been named the Class of 2016 Salutatorian. Graduating with a GPA of 98.4 percent, she will be attending SUNY Polytechnic Institute Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, where she will be majoring in Nanoscale Science.

Upon finding out she was going to be salutatorian, she said, “It was amazing to be recognized for my scholastic achievement.”

Shaheen said she has always be interested in science and engineering, but it was a fieldtrip to SUNY Polytech in her sophomore year that sparked in interest in nanotechnology.

I have always loved the science classes and learning about the different areas within that field. I have also greatly enjoyed the engineering classes. They opened my eyes to more opportunities and inspired a passion for the subject in me,” Shaheen said “I feel it is the future of technology and has the potential to help so many people in so many different ways, from medicine to gadgets and even environmental remediation.”

Shaheen said one of the teachers who had a great influence on her was Anthony Cassale, technology coordinator for Project Lead the Way.

“From day one of our Intro to Engineering class, his characteristic humor had me engaged. He opened up a new world that I had never previously considered and showed us how engineering impacts us all in both big and small ways,” she said. “He has always encouraged me to push my limits and find what makes me passionate in life. I credit him with my college decision because he organized that fateful field trip and encouraged us to keep an open mind. For that I am forever grateful.”

Shaheen said she also has a soft spot for English class, and also named High School English teacher Tracy Pontin as another person at Schalmont who influenced her.

“English has also been a favorite of mine, I loved learning how to think critically about the world and gained new perspectives,” she said, adding “Mrs. Pontin has been a significant influence on my life, and I am honored to have gotten to know her both as a teacher and a friend. When I was her student, she helped my writing and critical thinking abilities grow tremendously, and I gained a new appreciation for the lessons literature has to offer. Outside of class she has been a great friend and mentor, helping me with applications and always willing to take some time out of her busy day to talk about books and the latest episode of Game of Thrones.”

Pontin had glowing remarks about Shaheen’s intellect, academic acumen, maturity, steadfastness, and motivation throughout high school.

“Bright, inquisitive, well rounded, and personable she never backs down from a challenge, as evidenced by her impressive high school curriculum during which she challenged herself with an array of honors and advanced placement courses, never turning down an opportunity to take a more challenging class, dig deeper into the material presented to her or take the more arduous path when an easier one was set before her,” Pontin said. “She is as a leader whose voice is one that stands out among her peers, and she often asks questions of others as she seeks to continually learn and broaden her perspective.

“She is the rare find in high school settings, at once an intellectual powerhouse while at the same time approachable and eager to learn from her peers as well as her teachers,” Pontin added. “Shaheen is most curious, and her curiosity is not limited to her academic strengths or interests. Although firmly committed to pursuing the sciences, she has not limited her scope to that narrow path but rather challenged herself by pursuing honors courses in the humanities in addition to the sciences. She is certainly ‘one to watch’ and one from whom we know we can expect great things!”

Shaheen is a member of the Environmental club, Science Honor Society, English Honor Society, Science Olympiad, and the Class of 2016 Student Council. Outside of school, she is a member of the Junior Friends of the Schenectady Public Library. Her hobbies included reading, binge watching, hanging out with family and friends, and playing with her cats.

“Shaheen Hasan is a warm, friendly and personable young woman who is very bright and kind. She has a quiet strength that inspires others and will carry her far in life,” Schalmont Superintendent Carol Pallas said.

Though she has many fond memories of Schalmont, she said one of her favorites date back to elementary school.

“My favorite memories of Schalmont were the kick ball tournaments we used to have in elementary school. It was fun seeing everyone come from the different schools, all in our matching class tie-dye shirts,” she said. “We had a lot of fun, even those like me who were not very good. It was a great way to end the school year.”

Before departing Schalmont, Shaheen offered these words of advice to the underclassmen”

“Try not to take life too seriously and enjoy your time here. In the end, we regret the things we didn't do. Go out there and take chances, make memories, and most importantly have fun. It's not worth it to ruin your day because of a couple points off of a test or some other trivial issue. By all means, try your best in everything you do, but also embrace failure as the lesson it really is and do not dwell on it,” she said. “It took me a long time to realize this, but I am glad that I did.”