Deer Park’s Big 10


The Deer Park School District announced its Top Ten academic students for the 2009 graduating class and leading the list were Valedictorian Ekta Patel and Salutatorian Christopher Wankel.

Valedictorian Ekta Patel

Teachers and guidance counselors documented Ekta’s combination of extraordinary intelligence, superior work ethic and unique intellectual curiosity. Ekta is not only determined to do her best, but as a leader in the classroom, helps her peers achieve their full potential. Ekta’s academic dedication has propelled her to be an Advanced Placement Scholar and a perfect score of 800 on the Math portion of the SAT.

Outside of the classroom Ekta’s skills extend to extracurricular activities. An active member of Student Council, International Culture Club and National Honor Society as well as being an integral member and Vice President of the district Math Team and four-year member of the Chamber Orchestra on 2nd violin and girls’ lacrosse program. She has also competed academically in the Suffolk County 2007 Math Tournament and 2009 National Science Bowl.

Bettering her community and the lives of others, the past two summers Ekta has participated in the Lead America’s conference on Medicine and Healthcare at St. John’s University, and the Science and Research Awareness Series at Stony Brook University. Volunteering countless hours at Good Samaritan and Stony Brook University Hospitals, her experiences will help in her journey pursuing a career in the medical field.

Salutatorian Christopher Wankel
Described as having a wonderful blend of intelligence, wit, compassion, creativity and modesty, Christopher is a humble leader who is grateful for all he has and feels a responsibility to give back to his school and community.

Scoring a perfect 800 on the Math section of the PSAT, Christopher has equally impressive scores on both the ACT and SAT. An Advanced Placement scholar, he is also an accomplished musician who plays the Bassoon and Piano and has performed on stage in a variety of school plays, as well as behind the scenes as stage manager. An emerging artist, Christopher also uniquely illustrates his creative talents, making crafts from “found objects.”

Christopher has worked alongside Suffolk County Pastors, where he organized a Hurricane Katrina relief group, in which he traveled to Louisiana to rebuild houses for those who lost their homes. An advocate for universal, cultural literacy Christopher has served as an instructor of English as a Second Language through the Ascension Lutheran Church. His work this past summer at BRAC USA, a nonprofit organization that aids the underprivileged toward fiscal independence, made Christopher the first high school intern to participate in the organization.  

Ekta and Christopher were joined by the rest of the outstanding Top Ten students and were recognized at a breakfast where each student’s outstanding accomplishments and character was highlighted.  

The Top 10 academically ranked students for the Deer Park Class of 2009 are: 
Ekta Patel        

Christopher Wankel   

Justin Walsh       

Michael Pesca       

Ebne Safi       

Michael Ferguson   

Karamveer Singh   

Amanda Hoffman   

Eric Wuu       

Alyssa Napoli