Return to Headlines

Sleepy Hollow High School Announces Valedictorian, Salutatorian for Class of 2021

The Public Schools of the Tarrytowns would like to extend a proud congratulations to the valedictorian and salutatorian from the Sleepy Hollow High School Class of 2021. Valedictorian Maya Weitzen and salutatorian Zachary Rudder, both of whom have been in Tarrytown schools since kindergarten, have worked incredibly hard to achieve these highest of academic honors, and their achievement is made even more impressive by the fact that they are graduating during a pandemic and have spent much of their senior year in hybrid classrooms.

Maya will be attending Yale University in the fall, where she plans to enter the pre-med track. She says that her desire to study the biological sciences began with her Living Environment classes in 7th and 8th grade, and the medical research project she completed as part of the Science Research program at Sleepy Hollow High School further inspired her. Maya is a member of the varsity soccer team, the Mock Trial club and the SHHS student government, and outside of school, she has been researching cancer treatment with Regeneron.

Zach plans on following his passion for math and physics by studying aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech. He gives a lot of credit to the incredible math and science teachers in the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns, and his high school physics and calculus courses in particular inspired him to pursue engineering. Like Maya, Zach is a member of the student government and Mock Trial, and he is a three-sport athlete in basketball, football and lacrosse.

When asked about her favorite memory from her time in Tarrytown schools, Maya listed last year’s Spirit Week. “Getting decked out as a class for Spirit Week, going into the school at night and decorating the hallways was a ton of fun, and our team even won game night,” she said. She is looking forward to participating in her final Spirit Week this June.

Zach also mentioned Spirit Week, but he said that no memory from his time in the Tarrytown schools can top beating the number-one seeded school to advance to the basketball championship this year. “Our team has worked incredibly hard this year as well as the previous three, and I’m thrilled that we got to end my senior year by reaching the championship,” he said. 

Both students also acknowledged the unique challenges their graduating class has faced due to the changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the Tarrytown schools have finally re-opened for full weeks of in-person learning, Zach and Maya agree that motivation was sometimes hard to come by during hybrid learning. “It was hard to want to go to school when so many friends and classmates were learning from home,” said Zach. Maya agreed with this sentiment, adding that she always sensed a bit of a “disconnect” between the in-person and at-home students.

Yet their class persevered, and to Maya, this came as no surprise.

“My message to our graduating class is that I knew we would get through the pandemic together,” she said. “I always knew we were a resilient group, and I’m proud of us all for excelling even in the face of so many changes.”

“Freshmen always hear that the next four years go by quickly, and I want all future freshmen to know how true that is,” said Zach. “My four years at SHHS really flew by, especially during hybrid learning, and I’m extremely grateful that we get to end our senior year with everyone back in school together.”

Superintendent Chris Borsari had a message of congratulations for the valedictorian and salutatorian.

“I know I speak for all of the faculty and staff in the district when I say how proud we are of Maya and Zach,” he said. “Their hard work and dedication, along with the dedication of all of their incredible teachers, got them where they are today, and I wish them the best of luck in college and beyond.”