The salutatorian for the West Orange High School class of 2012 was Tobi Rudoltz, who ended up with a 4.98 grade-point average.
Rudoltz addressed her classmates at the . Her full speech can be found in the photo gallery.
The following are excerpts from an interview with Rudoltz shortely before the graduation.
Where are you going to college in the fall?
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge, Mass.
Why did you decide to go to MIT?
I really like science and I want to study physics, and I really liked the students there because they are nerds like me.
I have always liked science since I was a kid -- both my parents are doctors. And last year I had a physics teacher who was really, really good.
Who was that teacher that really influenced you?
Michael “Doc” Lawrence.
What were some of the activities either in or out of school that you did?
Last year and this year I participated in the Rutgers Astrophysics Institute, which I did with Doc Lawrence. Last year I took a class, and this year I did astrophysics research, so that was really cool.
I also took classes at Columbia University with the science honors program there. Those were the two big things that pushed me to choose to go to MIT.
What stands out in your mind from those classes the most?
This last semester at Columbia I took organic chemistry; it was a lab class and we made all kinds of cool stuff, like mirrors in test tubes and different kinds of goo.
Are you nervous about anything as you head into college?
I am definitely a little nervous about the workload at MIT; it is a little intimidating.
Looking forward, what are you most excited about now that you have graduated high school?
Starting school, but this summer I want to learn how to play guitar and I might volunteer. But I did just recently find out about an MIT pre-orientation program which I will probably do. I will go around to Salem and different places. It is like four days of field trips, basically. I am really excited about that.