Meet Pleasantville's 2012 Salutatorian: Alana Engelbrecht

Engelbrecht has graduated second in her class and will deliver a speech at Friday's commencement.

Alana Engelbrecht, 's 2012 salutatorian, has done it all in her four years at PHS.

She has served as concertmistress of the orchestra for the past two years, played in the school's chamber quartet and in the pit for the school plays in ninth and 10th grade. She also tackled hair and makeup for a lead character in the play during her senior year.

Outside of PHS, Engelbrecht also played the violin for the Greater Westchester Youth Orchestra Association.

Her athletic prowess led her to captain the varsity soccer team in the fall, a team she has been a part of since her sophomore year. Engelbrecht also captained the track team, which she joined in seventh grade.

Engelbrecht also served as president of the National Honor Society and secretary of the Science Honor Society this year. She also was a member of the Spanish Honor Society and a member of  since her freshman year.

Engelbrecht will be attending Haverford College in Pennsylvania this fall.

Patch sat down with Engelbrecht as the school year wraps up.

Patch: How are you feeling about graduation coming up?

AE: It’s a little bittersweet, but I feel like I’ve seen the light for a while and it’s coming to a good end. We’ve had a lot of good times and we have done our share of work, but there definitely have been more good than bad.

Patch: What is it like looking back at your high school career? Do you have any particular memories that stand out?

AE: Probably just engaging in so many activities, meeting so many people and not feeling hindered by transporting to and from school or by a lack of being able to do a certain activity or take a certain class.

PatchHas it been your goal throughout high school to rise to the top academically?

AE: It was kind of like doing the best for myself. And I was never really concerned with being at the top of my class, but if doing my best meant being closer to the top, I didn’t really mind.

PatchWas there a particular class or teacher that helped shaped your future academic and career interests?

AE: There are so many good teachers and I think that’s part of the reason I had such a good time here, because I could take a lot of classes and get the same quality of work and quality of care from all the teachers. But I have to say, I really enjoyed my science classes and the direction I got from my teachers was amazing. They all kind of nourished my curiosity. So now I want to pursue science. In high school, I got the chance to volunteer in hospitals and be a lab assistant and do a lot of cool things in sciences. 

Patch: What do you want to study in college? Do you have an idea of which career field you would like to enter afterward?

AE: I’m pre-med for now, hopefully I’ll be able to go to medical school. Admission is really tough these days, but that is the plan. Maybe I’ll have an English major as well.

PatchIf you were to start high school all over again, would you like to see anything done differently? Would you change anything?

AE: I think they should really help students manage their schedules better because I know there are a lot of issues with lunches and doubling up on classes and having to alternate days. So, I think if they could help ammilierate that problem just so that not only people could do it more, but do it better and also get the lunch that they need because they are kind of getting stricter about the school’s policy about not eating in classrooms. 

Patch: What is the biggest change you have seen in yourself since your freshman year?

AE: Probably more of becoming aware because especially since Pleasantville is so small and Westchester is so stereotypically affluent, we don’t have the widest view of the world and of ourselves and of the opportunities for our futures, so as you get older and you get more education, you realize your potential and you realize what’s realistic for you to do in the world and kind of more of the way of understanding youself and understanding reality and undetsanding people.

PatchWhat advice would you offer to incoming freshmen?

AE: I would say to definitely stay true to your passions and to your beliefs and not not be influenced by any preconceived notions you may have about high school. Definitely make your own path and work hard because freshman year does count and sophomore year does count and there’s a lot of room for growth, so if you take advantage of that time, because there is less pressure on academics. Then you can really have a strong four years.

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