Cohoes High School has announced its top three students for the Class of 2020.
1. Hannah Ragule
At the top of the list is valedictorian Hannah Ragule, who leads the class with a 97.9 grade point average (GPA).
“I was really excited and I felt like all my hard work in taking challenging courses all paid off,” Ragule said.
Ragule is a member of National Honor Society, Student Council, Community Service Club and Ski Club. She is also on the varsity indoor/outdoor track and soccer teams.
“When our relay teams went to states, that was a very exciting moment for me,” she said.
Ragule will attend Nazareth College and plans to major in physical therapy on a pre-med track while competing on the track and field team.
“Thank you to my teachers for encouraging me and motivating me to do my best, even when I struggled,” she said. “I’m sad that this year didn’t end the way we wanted it to, but we made the most of what we had.”
2. Zach Alonzo
Zach Alonzo earned the title of salutatorian with a GPA of 97.5.
“We’ve kinda known we were all near the top three for a while, probably since middle school,” Alonzo said. “It’s a great honor because Hannah and Shannon are both really smart ladies and I’m proud to be recognized with them.”
Alonzo is a member of National Honor Society and Community Service Club.
He noted the impact of his teachers’ encouragement over the years.
“They always pushed me to do better and continue growing and learning,” Alonzo said. “It took a lot of hard work, some late nights completing projects or studying.”
He added that he’s especially proud of one project in particular.
“At the end of my junior year I had a 15 minute presentation in AP US History. Most people had a script but I memorized mine to try and show that I really cared about my topic.”
Alonzo will attend U. Albany and plans to major in political science. He’s hoping to land an internship in the near future with the New York State Senate or Assembly.
3. Shannon Cepiel
Shannon Cepiel earned honorable mention with a GPA of 97.1.
“I was really excited and it was nice to be in the top three with Hannah and Zach because we’ve been so close throughout high school,” Cepiel said.
Cepiel is Student Council Vice President and a member of National Honor Society and Community Service Club. She was a Section II Class B all-state selection in soccer and also competed in indoor track.
Cepiel recognized her teachers for always being there when needed.
“I couldn’t have done it without all my teachers. They’re all so friendly and helpful. They’re supportive whether you need extra help or just need to talk. If we didn’t have that type of environment here, I don’t know if I could’ve been top three.”
She added that she hopes the Cohoes Class of 2020 will make the best of the current situation.
“We’re all kind of bummed right now, but I wouldn’t trade these four years for anything. It’s a special group of people and I think we’re strong enough to get through it and make it a positive experience,” she said.
Cepiel will attend Roberts Wesleyan College where she plans to major in psychology on a pre-med track and compete on the women’s soccer team.