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Top students in Warde Class of 2013 pursue their passions

Lauren Hochman is valedictorian of the Fairfield Warde High School class of 2013, while Caroline Keough is the salutatorian.

Lauren Hochman is valedictorian of the Fairfield Warde High School class of 2013, while Caroline Keough is the salutatorian.

Lauren Hochman, valedictorian of the class of 2013 at Fairfield Warde High School, encourages her two younger brothers to “find your passion, something that interests you, and go after it.”

She took her own advice.

Lauren will attend the University of Pennsylvania’s Vagelos Scholars Program in Molecular Life Sciences. Her goal is to eventually participate in drug development by working in molecular oncology research.

“It sounds like it’s going to be a lot of work — and this program has a very high dropout rate — but I know it provides a lot of opportunities to do research,” Lauren said.

It’s no surprise that one of Lauren’s favorite classes at Fairfield Warde was Advanced Placement Biology. However, she also really enjoyed being part of Julia Fedoryk’s Latin classes for four years.

“She’s the most amazing teacher,” Lauren said. “I especially loved being in AP Latin.”

Lauren said she spent about five hours each day doing homework. Most of her studying took place in the late evening or early morning, because every day she was the coxswain on a boys’ crew at the Saugatuck Rowing Club. Lauren has rowed every day and every weekend since she was in eighth grade at the Westport club.

“People are always surprised that I could be on the boys’ team, but it’s hard to find boys light enough to sit in the coxswain seat,” Lauren explained.

She will participate on the men’s heavyweight crew at Penn this fall.

Because of her extensive commitment to rowing, Lauren said she wasn’t able to participate in many school-related activities. She found time, however, for service organizations, such as Interact, China Care and the American Red Cross clubs.

“We mostly raised money for these organizations,” Lauren said.

When Lauren learned she was the Class of 2013 valedictorian, she was “definitely shocked.”

“It was never on my mind,” Lauren said. “I just took a lot of classes that interested me and that is how I got a high GPA (grade point average).”

Caroline Keough, Fairfield Warde’s salutatorian, had a similar reaction upon learning of her honor.

“I was surprised,” Caroline admitted. “I just did the work and it happened. I didn’t know what our class rank [was] during my freshman and sophomore years.”

Like Lauren, Caroline’s high school schedule was filled with honors and advanced placement classes. Her favorite courses were AP Biology and AP Chemistry.

She, too, advised underclassmen to stop worrying about getting into a specific college and to “take classes that interest you.”

Caroline will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and major in applied sciences.

At Fairfield Warde, Caroline was captain of the cross country and track and field teams for three seasons. She participated on a relay team that broke a record this winter in the 4×800-meter race.

Caroline was also president of the school’s Random Acts of Kindness Club.

Graduation ceremonies were “bittersweet,” Caroline admitted.

“I still feel like a freshman,” she said.

Before heading south in August, Caroline will spend the summer working at her family’s business, Keough’s Hardware in Ridgefield.

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