Byram Hills High School proudly announced that the Class of 2023 valedictorian is Samantha Milewicz and the salutatorian is Chloe Bernstein.
“Samantha and Chloe have not only excelled academically but have also made significant contributions to their school community, setting an example for others,” said Principal Christopher Walsh, who announced the top-ranked students on June 14. “The Byram Hills community applauds their outstanding drive, work ethic, and academic excellence.”
The students, who have the highest weighted GPAs, will speak at graduation on June 20.
Samantha plans to attend Stanford University and major in symbolic systems, an interdisciplinary major about the intersection of cognitive science, computer science and linguistics. Being named valedictorian, she said, felt fulfilling.
“This honor is recognition of all the hard work, time, and dedication I have put into achieving academic success,” she said. “This achievement is the product of the continuous support and guidance from every teacher and administrator I have encountered. From my elementary school teachers who answered my endless questions to my current teachers who hold deep conversations with me, I am who I am today because of them.”
Samantha is a 2023 U.S. Presidential Scholar, an honor that recognizes the nation’s top-performing students, and a finalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program.
As part of the Byram Hills Authentic Science Research Program, she conducted award-winning research that could lead to innovative treatments for traumatic brain injuries. Samantha finished eighth and won a $60,000 award in the prestigious Regeneron Science Talent Search and won second place in the translational medical science category at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair.
At Byram Hills, Samantha is a member of the Cum Laude Society, which recognizes outstanding academic excellence, the Mu Alpha Theta mathematics honor society and the World Languages Honor Society, co-president of the National Art Honor Society, editor-in-chief of The Oracle student newspaper, a member of the Principal’s Student Advisory Committee, captain of the math team and president of the eNable Club.
At school, Samantha won the Roger Case Memorial Scholarship, which honors academic achievement and outstanding community service. Last year, she won the Harvard Prize Book Award, given to outstanding juniors for excellence in scholarship and character, and the Byram Hills Award for Potential in Science.
Outside of school, Samantha volunteers with the Armonk Fire Department as a firefighter and emergency medical technician. She won the 2022 St. Vincent’s Hospital Youth Award, which honors high school students for their volunteer service, and the 2023 Youth Service Award from the Westchester County Youth Board and Bureau.
Samantha is also an accomplished photographer. Her work has been recognized in competitions and she has her own photography business.
Samantha said her time in high school has prepared her well for life after graduation.
“Byram Hills has enabled me to explore all academic areas, from the sciences to the arts,” she said. “Through the rigorous coursework I have completed in each discipline, I have become a technical and analytical thinker and am ready to apply that knowledge to college and the real world.”
Her advice for younger students: “Success is a product of passion. The most important thing is to follow and pursue your interests, and that will lead you toward achieving your goals.”
Mr. Walsh said: “Samantha is an incredibly passionate and determined student. I have been fortunate to have her as a member of my Student Advisory Committee for the past four years and I will miss her thoughtfulness and commitment to making our school and community a better place.”
Chloe plans to attend Duke University and major in computational biology and bioinformatics.
“I am incredibly grateful, honored, and fulfilled to have been named the salutatorian of my graduating class,” she said. “After many years of hard work, sacrifice, and commitment to my work, I am thrilled to be acknowledged, especially amongst such an impressive student body.”
As part of the Byram Hills Authentic Science Research Program, Chloe developed novel plastic-degrading enzymes that can help solve the problem of plastic waste in oceans, landfills and recycling facilities.
Her research won numerous awards, including third place in environmental engineering at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair and she qualified to be a poster presenter at the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium by winning first place in medicine and health and third place overall at the Upstate New York JSHS.
Chloe is also a tennis champion. She played on the Varsity Girls Tennis team for five years, serving as captain her senior year.
In the fall, she won the 2022 New York State doubles championship and played first singles to help Byram Hills win the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Division II team championship event. In her junior year, she helped Byram Hills win the inaugural team championship contest and finished third in the state doubles championship.
As a senior, Chloe was named a Con Edison Scholar Athlete and won the $10,000 Irwin “Red” Klein Memorial Scholarship from the Con Edison Westchester Scholastic Sports program. She was also a Lohud Tennis Player of the Year.
At Byram Hills, Chloe is a member of the Cum Laude Society, which recognizes outstanding academic excellence, and a member of the World Languages Honor Society and the Mu Alpha Theta mathematics honor society. She won a senior English award, for outstanding English students, and last year won the Yale University Book Award, given to a junior for outstanding character and intellectual promise with diverse skills and leadership qualities. She was also a chemistry teaching assistant.
Chloe created a nonprofit organization, Breaking Down Plastics, which aims to incentivize the global community to take action against plastic pollution, specifically through biology recycling, a novel plastic treatment strategy.
Chloe said she is ready for her next chapter.
“Byram Hills has equipped me along with the rest of the student body with the tools imperative for success, especially because there is such a strong emphasis on the real-world applications of all of the information we learn within the classroom, whether in the math classroom or a history lecture,” she said.
Chloe said her biggest takeaway from Byram Hills is that “success is not linear and that it is okay to fail.”
Mr. Walsh said: “Chloe has achieved so much both academically and athletically during her time at BHHS. I'm not sure we have ever had a student who combined a state championship with being the salutatorian. Chloe's passion for the things she pursues sets her apart in so many ways.”