SPRING VALLEY, N.Y. - When asked to describe himself with one word, Edenis Agustin thought for a moment before answering: “balanced.”
It might be the best way to describe the Spring Valley High School valedictorian when considering everything he was involved in as a Tiger: a three-year starter at cornerback for the varsity football team, a member of each honors society, a Key Club member, and part of the school’s Thespian Troupe 721 working concessions and selling tickets, all while maintaining an average of approximately 102 percent.
Augustin was honored for his achievements last week by the Rockland County Haiti Relief organization, alongside Ramapo High School Valedictorian Keesha Predestin. A Haitian-American, Augustin’s parents moved him and his younger brother to the United States when he was just 2 years old.
He admits that both of his parents are big reasons as to why he excelled in the classroom and will head to the University of Pittsburgh on a full scholarship in the fall. An emphasis was always placed on education.
His father was a school teacher, principal, and counselor back in Haiti. From a young age, Augustin and all of his siblings found themselves at the same kids table the family has kept, learning basic math skills and writing.
“He made sure I made the most of my opportunities here, especially because he gave up a lot to come here with my mom and my brother,” Augustin said. He added that his mother also ensured his grades remained stellar when he decided to play football in middle school.
In the classroom Augustin's favorite subjects were Calculus and Chemistry because of their real-life application but he plans to major in Psychology at Pitt and hopes to attend medical school to become a psychiatrist.
His interest in the mind and how it works stems from real-life application when he helped a friend through a difficult personal situation as a sophomore at the same time he took AP Psychology.
And while he is looking forward to the freedom that will be afforded to him in college, Augustin said he'll miss the people and diversity of Spring Valley High School, where you can walk down a hallway and hear four or five different languages.
Augustin takes a lot of pride in not just his accomplishments but those of his fellow students, like the 2016 Metro Award claimed by the Thespian Troupe Stage Crew for the performance of "Aida," which sold out all three nights. Or the seven students who signed letters of intent to play a sport in college next year.
“It’s just a different interaction you get here that I probably wouldn’t have gotten in a different school or a different district,” he said.
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