Class of 2017 valedictorian Lily Polster embodies all the characteristics associated with an IHA girl. She is compassionate, diligent, studious, and athletic, just to name a few.
Before coming to IHA, Park Ridge resident Lily attended Our Lady of Mercy Academy for nine years. Lily graduated from OLM as one of the two “Merit Scholars,” the school’s equivalent of valedictorian or salutatorian. When it came time to choose a high school, Lily faced two great options: Bergen County Academies and IHA. She ultimately decided on IHA because she saw what a great experience her sister had and “really felt a strong sense of community when [she] visited and went to sporting events.” Lily also knew IHA would prepare her well for college and beyond.
At IHA, Lily has taken the school’s spirit of service to heart. She received the Gold level of the Presidential Service Award, meaning she did over 250 hours of service, during her sophomore, junior, and senior years. During the summer, Lily volunteers at Camp Sunshine, a program for children with special needs.
Lily also works with The Seeing Eye. With this organization, Lily raises puppies until they are 18 months old and teaches them basic skills they need to be Seeing Eye service dogs. In addition to their training, she goes to meetings and outings with the puppies. She was president of the Bergen County Chapter of the Seeing Eye during 2015 and 2016. Mr. Opremcak, Lily’s chemistry teacher, “was always impressed with her work with the Seeing Eye dogs. Lily has a great combination of critical thinking skills and math insight. She is a hard worker.”
Lily understands how to balance a rigorous course load with demanding extracurricular activities. For the past two years, Lily has been an Eagle Ambassador and a member of both the National Honor Society and the Science National Honor Society. Lily is the webmaster of the NHS and on the executive board of Eagle Ambassadors. Lily has also played on the IHA soccer team for the past four years. While she was on the team, they were Freshmen County Champions in 2013 and JV County Champions in 2015. She is also the captain of her club soccer team, World Class F.C.
At IHA, Lily has achieved either honors or distinguished honors every quarter. She has taken a total of six AP classes, two in her junior year and four in her senior year. The rest of her classes have been honors level.
She received a Soaring Eagle Award for physical education her freshman year and another one in mathematics for her junior year. These feats not only speaks to Lily’s academic abilities, but also to her outgoing and helpful personality.
Lily’s two favorite classes at IHA were AP Calculus and AP English III. Lily was “astonished on how much I learned that year and how much my writing and reading comprehension improved” in Mrs. DeSanta’s english class. Lily also loved AP Calculus because she absolutely adores math and Mrs. Kearns.
“Lily is every math teacher’s dream. She is organized, methodical, and detail oriented. I hope she continues her studies in math,” shares Mrs. Kearns. If all goes according to plan, Mrs. Kearns’ wish will be fulfilled. Lily is attending the University of Notre Dame and is in their College of Engineering. Though she has yet to declare a major, she hopes to enroll in the Dual Degree program to receive a B.S.E. and a B.A. in mathematics. After college, Lily plans to attend graduate school.
As much as Lily has loved her time at IHA, she explains “I would change taking everything so seriously all of the time and not stepping back and looking at the big picture. Sometimes I wished for college to come sooner, but I would have liked to live more in the moment and appreciate every minute and day.”
Everyone at IHA is extremely proud of all of Lily’s accomplishments and can’t wait to see her achieve even greater things in the future. We would like to congratulate her on being valedictorian and wish her the best of luck at Notre Dame and beyond!
By: Heather Farrell’18, Junior Executive Editor-in-Chief