Miriam Hegglin has achieved the top academic honor at Fox Lane High School—the rank of valedictorian. Her accomplishments include achieving a 98.03 grade point average, spending a spring break building homes in Nicaragua and gaining acceptance to Carnegie Mellon University, where she has decided to attend college this fall. We caught up with Miriam just after she returned from Nicaragua.
Patch: How does it feel to be at the very top?
MH: I’m proud of myself. I think the rank shows my effort over the last four years. I don’t really compare myself to other kids—my parents just expected my [twin] sister and I to do well and work hard. And now it’s paid off.
Patch: It must be hard for twin sisters not to compare themselves to each other!
MH: Not really—Carmen has done really well too, I think she has a 96.90 and is ranked third. We have done a lot of the same activities over the years and are very close. But we are going to different colleges next year—she’s going to Northeastern University—it’s time to do something separate. I also have a 20-year-old brother, Oliver, who goes to Washington College in Maryland.
Patch: You’ve lived in Germany, Switzerland and Canada—how did those experiences shape your life?
MH: Yeah, I lived in Switzerland until I was four, then lived in Toronto, went back to Switzerland and then went to a German School in White Plains while living in Rye Brook! My dad’s job [at Swiss Re] had us moving around. And I spent a lot of time in Cordoba, Spain visiting my mom’s family. I think it gave me an appreciation for people and new experiences. I am always interested in meeting new people and recognize that everyone’s different, and I have an open mind. That’s what I like about this school district—we celebrate differences. No one hides from that here. I might possibly pursue a career that involves travel.
Dancing also helped keep me grounded when I was traveling around. It was the one constant my sister and I had to fall back on—wherever we were, we danced. I’ve taken ballet and jazz since I was little. And I had a lot of fun dancing in musicals at Fox Lane [including Beauty and the Beast and The Boyfriend].
Patch: Which teachers or classes influenced your experience at Fox Lane?
MH: Definitely Mr. Ludwig, my AP Physics teacher. He’s just a really good person, and he made a really difficult subject like Physics more fun. He helped us see the practical applications for math and physics. I’m a math person, but even for me, he made it more interesting. And Dr. Maika, who was my AP U.S. History teacher, I think he really helped prepare me for college. He always talks about the “13th grade” and showed us how to take proper notes. He looked out for us.
Patch: Is there anything that could have improved your academic experience at school?
MH: The district does a pretty good job—I think we could have more electives, so that kids can pursue their own interests more. I didn’t get to take an English elective until senior year. But I got to do a lot of interesting projects that incorporated my interests.
Patch: Such as…?
MH: Well, I did a project all about spidrons for math class and the science fair. Spidrons are geometric shapes made from triangles, and we were able to learn about the relationship between math and art. I love math, especially its practical applications. I plan to study engineering in college because it takes math and makes it really useful.
Patch: How did you balance your activities and a full academic load?
MH: I found that time management really helps. I was choosy about my activities. I didn’t feel obligated to be in every club to build up a resume, I did what I enjoyed and I prioritized. I put academics first—that’s the point of high school.
Patch: What will you miss most about school and your community?
MH: I’ll miss the people, and my friends. I love being able to walk around Mt. Kisco and go to New York City. But I’ll bring my stuffed animals to remind me of home.
Patch: Congratulations, and good luck!