4 Local High School Students Receive Honors

by | May 16, 2023

Cayetano (Guy) Sanchez IV and Riley Gopalakrishnan have earned top academic rankings and the designation of valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, in the 2023 graduating class at East Greenwich High School. 

“These Seniors are the embodiment of our Vision of Graduate,” noted Supt. Brian Ricca. “In addition to their academic achievement, they authentically embrace their role and the change they can affect in the larger community. We are proud not only of the grades earned by Mr. Sanchez and Miss Gopalakrishnan, but also who they are as young people in the world, with bright futures.” 

Cayetano Sanchez IV, who attained the highest overall grade point average (GPA), has amassed an extensive resume that captures his leadership skills and civic orientation. Most recently, Cayetano was selected for the highly-competitive United States Senate Youth Program, which fosters a commitment to public service and a deepened understanding of the American political process. He is president of the Class of 2023 and the EGHS Student Council. Cayetano is also a School Improvement Team representative and the East Greenwich Public Schools’ delegate to the Rhode Island Department of Education Student Advisory Council. 

As a member of the East Greenwich Mock Trial team, he helped secure three state championships. In 2022, he received the Rhode Island Civic Leadership Award. Cayetano plans to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall, with a focus on public policy and service. 

Riley Gopalakrishnan, salutatorian, has committed to Brown University’s Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME), an eight-year combined baccalaureate-MD medical program with a potential career path in pediatric oncology or surgery. 

“Brown’s Open Curriculum and PLME’s flexibility will allow me to discover new interests,” Gopalakrishnan said. “As a result, I know I will be a stronger doctor, one who is capable of providing such high-level care and developing meaningful connections. I hope to study Spanish and take creative writing courses in my undergraduate years while completing my pre-med requirements.” 

Riley’s drive and dedication in service to others is represented through her work on the executive board of the Glimmer of Hope Foundation whose mission is to raise awareness of and champion research funding for childhood cancer. Riley was recently honored with the Student Visionaries of the Year award from The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for her work in raising more than $150,000 to fight blood cancers. She is State Vice President of Health Occupation Students of America and is co-founder of Golden Hearts, a school-based childhood cancer awareness organization. She served as captain of the East Greenwich High School girls’ soccer team, and was the first to earn unanimous top scores from all R.I. soccer officials after every game for exemplifying positive conduct and values. 

“Riley’s dedication and leadership are evident in all that she does,” notes Anne-Marie Flaherty, Department Chair of the EGHS School Counseling Office. “She brings a high level of empathy and diligence to her academic, community, and athletic pursuits.”

Both students will speak at the EGHS Commencement Sunday, June 4.

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“East Greenwich Public Schools is very proud to recognize U.S. Presidential Scholar Cayetano Sanchez,” said Supt. Dr. Brian G. Ricca. “This honor demonstrates Cayetano’s commitment to excellence in academics and being a leader not only in the EGHS community, but in Rhode Island as well. Cayetano serves as senior class president, among other leadership roles, and represents East Greenwich on the statewide Student Advisory Council. Thank you, Cayetano, for inspiring your peers and being the embodiment of our vision of a graduate. We can’t wait to see what else you accomplish as a proud Avenger!” 

The Presidential Scholars Class of 2023 will be recognized for their outstanding achievement this summer with an online recognition program. 

A complete list of 2023 U.S. Presidential Scholars is available at http://www.ed.gov/psp

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Three East Greenwich High School students are among only five students statewide to earn this year’s National Merit $2,500 Scholarship, chosen from a pool of more than 15,000 outstanding finalists in the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program.

National Merit $2500 Scholarship winners are the Finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s graduating high school seniors.

These scholars were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high

school counselors, who appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by both the

finalists and their high schools: the academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test; contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the finalist; and a recommendation written by a high school official.

Here are EG’s scholarship awardees: 

  • Mara A. Oancea – probable career field: neuroscience
  • Cayetano Sanchez IV – probable career field: politics
  • Daniel R. Vilker – probable career field: environmental engineering

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Barbara LaPlume
Barbara LaPlume
May 17, 2023 7:43 am

Congratulations ! May all your goals be fulfilled.

Elizabeth Sullivan
Elizabeth Sullivan
May 17, 2023 8:25 am

Congratulations to all the high achievers in the East Greenwich graduating class of 2023. Your outstanding leadership and scholarship will be an asset to our community and country.

June 11, 2023 9:10 pm

Wow! These students give you faith in the future. They are amazing!


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