HF-L valedictorian Henry Shields (left) and salutatorian Roan Torpey (right) posed for this photo after HF-L High School’s Academic Awards Night last week. Photo by Donna MacKenzie

There were many similarities between the valedictorian and salutatorian for the Class of 2022 at Honeoye Falls-Lima High School; both took 12 Advanced Placement courses, both have an interest in engineering and computer science and both were on the varsity cross country running team last fall. Their grade point averages were also remarkably similar with just .006 separating them.

Henry Shields is the HF-L valedictorian and Roan Torpey is the salutatorian.

Shields, the son of Kirsti and Nicholas Shields, is heading to Northeastern University in its Honors Program with a major in either engineering or computer science. He also considered Cornell, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and State University of New York at Binghamton. While his father is an engineer, that is not the sole reason that Shields has an interest in the field.

“I have always been fascinated with science fiction and futuristic things and an interest in space,” Shields said. “I like computers and I am interested in the technology and engineering of aerospace.”

Shields graduates with a 4.198 grade point average with 12 Advanced Placement courses to his credit including World History, English Language and Composition, English Literature and Composition, U.S. History, Statistics, Calculus, Physics, Macroeconomics, Computer Science, Government and Politics, Chemistry and Psychology.

Involvement in school activities was also important to Shields. He was Vice-President of the National Honor Society, Student Council Class President for two years, Co-President of the Math Club and President of the Interact Club. He was a member of the French National Honor Society and Link Crew. He played varsity tennis the first three years of high school. He was a member of the Varsity Cross Country Running team all four years of high school with his best time last fall being 20 minutes, 51 seconds.

Shields was also busy outside of school. He tutored younger students in math. He has been part of the Sister Cities Youth Group, led by a former HF-L teacher, Joan Haviland. He helped with projects such as the Breast Cancer Walk and volunteered at a homeless shelter with his mother. He works at Rebel Hearts Stables in Avon.

Among the honors Shields has received are the American Chemical Society Award, a Presidential Gold Medal, National Merit Scholarship Finalist, Northeastern University Scholarship, New York State Scholarship for Academic Excellence and Math Department Awards as a junior and as a senior.

Shields admires and has been inspired by several teachers at HF-L.

“I had Mrs. Utegg for two classes and she is also the advisor for Math Club,” Shields said. “I also admire Miss Whitney. Both she and Mrs. Utegg have been very helpful with the math classes. I also admire AP Physics teacher Mr. Somers. He has little sayings and is wicked smart. He makes class fun but also challenging. Someone outside of school whom I am inspired by is Mrs. Haviland. She is a wonderful woman and completely dedicated to helping people and she is always open to people.”

While he has many good memories of his four years at HF-L, Shields said two of them are pretty special.

“One is the Bristol Ski Trip, although I did not know how to ski,” Shields said. “The other favorite memory is working on Mr. HF-L through the Interact Club this year. It was fun and a lot of laughs and we also raised over $1,300 for Keeping Our Promise. I am appreciative of the small moments from every day at school.”

Torpey, the son of Peggy and Michael Torpey, is attending State University of New York at Binghamton this fall. He also looked at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Northeastern and Case Western Reserve.

“Right now, my set major is computer science but I want to switch that to mechanical engineering and make computer science my minor,” said Torpey, who added that his father is a mechanical engineer. “I really like technology and innovation. I took a number of classes in computer science but I want to look to the physical aspects of computer science, doing prototype design like I did with First Robotics, and that leans more toward mechanical engineering.”

Torpey carried a 4.192 grade point average despite a challenging courseload that included 12 Advanced Placement courses. The AP classes were in Computer Science, World History, English Language and Composition, Calculus, Physics-mechanical, Physics-electricity and magnetism, Statistics, English Literature and Composition, Psychology, Economics, Government and Politics and U.S. History. He also took Spanish 4 as a dual credit course through Monroe Community College.

In addition to his academic work, Torpey participated in a number of school clubs and activities. He was a member of National Honor Society and was a teacher assistant for computer science. He was with the First Robotics program for the past three years. He played junior varsity soccer and varsity tennis as a freshman. He competed on the Varsity Cross Country Running team as a sophomore, junior and senior with his best time last fall being 19 minutes, 10 seconds.

Torpey worked at Salvatore’s Pizza as a grill cook and is now in grocery and at the outdoor grill at Honeoye Falls Market Place.

A recipient of several awards the past couple of years, Torpey is a National Merit Scholarship Finalist and has received an AP Scholars Award. He also received the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Medal Award, the New York State Scholarship for Academic Excellence and department awards in Spanish, AP Statistics and AP Computer Science.

While he stated there are several people whom he admires, Torpey mentioned three who have inspired him.

“Mr. Simkins, my computer science teacher as a sophomore, had a way of getting us to do things because we wanted to do them, not because we had to do them,” Torpey said. “I also admire a mentor with First Robotics, Mr. Symons, who was very hard-working and gave a lot of his time to us; I really respect that. I respect and admire Mr. Somers, my Regents and AP Physics teacher because he made the class challenging and yet fun at the same time.”

Most of his favorite memories revolve around being with his friends at school.

“One favorite is varsity cross country with my friends and putting in the effort to be a better runner,” Torpey said. “The other is playing tennis with my friends outside of school.”

©2023 Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel

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