10 years ago, they were valedictorians. Where are they now?


Ten years ago, they were at the top of their class. These days, Long Island’s 2011 high school valedictorians are still at the top of their game.

They’ve become successful doctors, lawyers and software engineers. One has published fantasy novels and another has counseled pregnant women with COVID-19. Some moved away from New York and others stayed close by.

Some have overcome burnout and worked through the coronavirus pandemic — and one even endured layoffs at start-up companies to become his own CEO.

We reached out to dozens of 2011 valedictorians from around Long Island to see what they’ve been up to in the decade since graduating. Here are some we heard back from. We learned about their jobs, passions, how they got where they are today and how their high school experience impacted their lives.

The former valedictorians also offered advice and life lessons for this year’s graduates. Here’s what they had to say.

Michael Gross: How he overcame medical school burnout

  • High school: Elwood-John H. Glenn High School
  • College: Cornell University
  • Today: Resident physician in urology at the Cleveland Clinic
  • Lives in: Cleveland

As a high schooler, Michael Gross was “pretty sure” he wanted to be a doctor, just like his father. Scott Gross has practiced family medicine in Huntington for more than 30 years.

But he was certain of this: he wanted to pursue the arts in college, too.

Gross hadn’t given much thought to what field of medicine he wanted to explore.

“I could not have predicted I would go into urology,” Gross said. “In high school, I may not have even known what a urologist did.”

As he figured out what type of doctor to be, Gross toured the world with the Cornell Glee Club. He performed in England, Spain, Puerto Rico and Hong Kong, along with at least 20 states in America.

Gross graduated from college early…



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