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IHS Names Valedictorian and Salutatorian

Immaculata Names Valedictorian and Salutatorian
Posted on 05/15/2020
Valedictorian and Salutatorian

Michael Blandino and Samuel Jaskolski, both of Bridgewater, have been named the Class of 2020’s Valedictorian and Salutatorian.

Heading to Villanova University to study Mechanical Engineering this fall, Michael Blandino has been a Marian Scholar for four years. In this invitation-only program, students develop high level research and presentation skills, which foster lifetime learning through the passionate pursuit of knowledge. In his specialized projects, Blandino focused on space programs, compulsory vaccinations, embryonic stem cell research, urban smart technology, and music theory.

Co-president of the National Honor Society, Blandino also participated in the Mathworks Math Modeling Challenge. This year the Immaculata team with Samuel Jaskolski and Blandino on it reached the second round of judging, from which the eventual winners were chosen. With his interest in Music, he was in the wind ensemble as a trumpet player, in the Folk Group as a guitarist, and a member of the school musical’s tech crew and Music Honor Society.

Embracing the school’s Pillar of Service, Blandino was very involved with the school’s Mobile Soup Kitchen effort, composting programs, Garage Sales, Appalachia initiative, the JusticeWorx program and the Campus Ministry Board. What he learned was “those who have more resources have a responsibility to care for and help those who may be struggling.”

During his Junior and Senior year, Blandino served as co-captain of the Cross Country, Winter Track, and Spring Track teams. Blandino is very proud that this year’s Cross Country squad qualified for the Meet of Champions, which was the first time in Immaculata’s history. Another significant accomplishment was this year’s state group championship in Winter Track, another milestone for the school.

Blandino feels that “Immaculata's most defining characteristic is its sense of community, because it makes school feel like a home away from home and a second family. Everyone at Immaculata, from my friends, to my teachers, to my coach, has pushed me to reach my maximum potential. Without these people and the opportunities afforded by a smaller school environment, I couldn't be the person I am today nor would the same possibilities await me. I am very appreciative of my Immaculata education.”

In September, Samuel Jaskolski will be attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as a Chemical Engineering major. A Marian Scholar since his freshman year, Jaskolski researched government censorship for online information, music’s impact on vocabulary retention, healthy sleep requirements, and Ecuador’s Laron Dwarves’ genetic mutations for his year-long projects. For him the program enabled his exploration of diverse interests. “I expanded my academic reach by watching Shakespearean plays in person or learning about various sculpting techniques at Grounds for Sculpture. Marian Scholars fostered my intellectual growth and supported me with an environment of friends, who held many of the same values and interests as I did.”

During his years at Immaculata, Jaskolski served in leadership roles in the Spanish Honor Society, the Mathworks Math Modeling Challenge, the school’s Campus Ministry Board, the Revelations Retreat, and the Boys Soccer team. For four years he ran Winter Track. In addition, he was a member of the National Honor Society and participated in the school’s American Scholastic Mathematics Competitions. Through Campus Ministry, he especially enjoyed the unique Spartan Soil Collection for composting and environmental awareness, as well as the very successful Garage Sales and Bike Sales.

A member of Boy Scout Troop 84 in Somerville, Jaskolski received his Eagle Scout Award this year. His project involved getting volunteers to record the coordinates of historic sites around Somerville. The next step was to photograph them and assemble an online map, which he provided to the Somerville Historic Advisory Committee. In total 38 sites were recorded.

“The Immaculata family has supported me throughout my high school career,” says Jaskolski. “Whether it was my friends urging me to join a new club or service activity, or my teachers helping me not just learn, but comprehend the material they were teaching, or my coaches pushing me to practice hard and play to win, Immaculata has led me towards excellence. I will miss this place tremendously and I am grateful to this school for providing me with numerous opportunities to succeed physically, academically, and socially within a foundation in faith.”

“Both these individuals have accomplished so much in their four years here,” says Head of School Joan Silo. “They represent all four pillars of this school: Faith, Scholarship, Service, and Friendship. What is exemplary about them and their whole class is that they commit to so many opportunities here. They go beyond book learning and have grown through sports, the arts and their extracurricular activities. And they have established a lifelong commitment to the needy through the school’s extraordinary Campus Ministry Outreach Program. We are Spartan Proud of the Class of 2020 and wish them the best as they launch their college careers.”