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Bedford Daily Voice serves Bedford, Bedford Hills & Katonah
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Meet Nikki Pugliese, Harvey School Valedictorian

KATONAH, N.Y. — Nicole "Nikki" Pugliese, who will graduate Thursday from the Harvey School as valedictorian with a 4.13 grade point average, will be the only student speaker at the Katonah ceremony.

“I’m just very dedicated to my work. I’m a pretty big perfectionist. It’s basically my personality. So if I have to stay up so I can be proud of a paper, I’ll do that," said Pugliese, who will attend the University of Michigan in the fall. She is one of 65 students who will graduate from Harvey on Thursday.

Every day for the last six years, Pugliese has traveled 35 minutes each way from her home in Peekskill to the private school. Her favorite class is AP English, Pugliese said, but she also enjoys learning about history and current events. She served as student council president this year as well as captain of the school's Model UN team.

As student council president, Pugliese said she tried to bring a stronger sense of school spirit to the small student body at Harvey. Her administration put on more dances and pep rallies and initiated the first annual homecoming bonfire, she said.

She also has an athletic side: She played varsity lacrosse and varsity basketball for all four years of high school. As far as college, Pugliese said she is undecided on her major but is considering joining club lacrosse and the school newspaper.

Pugliese cited Phil Lazzaro, her academic adviser and club adviser for the Model UN, as one of her major mentors. "He is one of the reasons why I’m valedictorian," she said.

Lazzaro, 11th- and 12th-grade dean and director of college placement, returned the praise.

"She's extremely diligent in her approach to her studies," Lazzaro said. "And she is willing to not only put in the time to do well, but she’ll also go beyond what is expected in the classroom just for her own self-fulfillment."

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