Class of 2018 Valedictorian: Victoria Gatopoulos


Victoria Gatopoulos, who is ranked number one in her class, will be attending Georgetown University in the fall.

Safa Hassan, Staff Writer

Senior Victoria Gatopoulos has been named valedictorian of Becton Regional High School’s Class of 2018.

Victoria found inspiration to do well in high school from the words of one of her former peers, Jamie Scangarella, who was the salutatorian of the Class of 2016 when she was just a sophomore. The Becton graduate told her that where one goes to high school does not really matter and to just be the best possible version of yourself because success will surely follow.

The honor student’s biggest struggle was finding time during high school. She held a job throughout all four years, along with volunteering at a local library, participating in the Theatre Arts Club, Debate League, Italian Club and National Honor Society, and on top of it all, having to complete homework each night.

Her favorite class all throughout her high school career was English because she felt like there was no wrong answer. “Everything was subject to interpretation, and I think that’s very reflective of society. There is so much gray area in the world and in English, so being able to justify my answer made me feel empowered and prepared for the real world,” said Victoria.

On the one hand, the September Student of the Month does not have any regrets when looking back at her high school career because everything played a role in getting her where she is today, but on the other hand, she feels like she could have gone about certain things a different way. “I wish I had been more kind my first couple of years of high school. I was so caught up with being first in my class that I never stopped to appreciate the people around me. That changed towards the end of high school. I guess it was maturity. But I do wish I looked at the bigger picture more,” she stated.

Furthermore, the most influential person Victoria met while attending Becton is the school’s principal, Dr. Sforza. During her freshman year, the administrator stated that he would change the school for the better. She found him idealistic in her “cynical freshman mind” she said. Now, four years later, she feels Becton truly has come a long way. He taught the valedictorian that there is no such thing as being too idealistic or dreaming too big. “Only the people crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who end up actually doing it,” she mentioned.

Victoria has decided to commit to Georgetown University located in Washington D.C. because it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. “Georgetown is extremely selective, and getting in has been one of my greatest achievements. But aside from that, I really love the sense of community and the academics that the school has to offer. Having spent the last four years constantly struggling to handle everything from clubs to jobs and AP classes, it was very reassuring to know that I would be entering a community that really does care about more than how much I can do for them.”

Her message to the Class of 2018 is to keep doing what you are meant to do. “No matter what you accomplish going into the world, the more significant thing is to be kind to others and influence those around you. It’s important to do well, but more important to “do good” such as good for your community and good for others. You’ll always have your diploma from Becton, so I hope that you’ll also always have the mentality of inclusion and treating others well, which has been fostered here.”

Victoria’s graduation speech that she is preparing to read at Becton’s commencement ceremony on June 20 will be centered on appreciating the people who one is surrounded by because one will not notice the amount of influence that they have until it is too late.