Eric Dittus- FDR’s Valedictorian


Tahiya Naoshin, Reporter

In Latin, valedictorian means, to “bid farewell.” Being named Valedictorian symbolizes the highest honor an individual can achieve academically in high school. You’ve seen smart, hard-working students get the title, but this year’s Valedictorian is none other than the great and wonderful, Eric Dittus.

Eric will be attending Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College, with a possible double major in Computer Science and Physics. Eric is originally from New Jersey, but he has been living with his father in New York since he started high school. Eric grew up in a challenging environment, however, he always dreamed about being an astronaut. He is an outgoing person, and he believes in facing challenges head-on. For example, he is vegan. Through intense research, he discovered that the Animal Agriculture Industry is one of the leading causes of greenhouse gas emissions, ocean dead zones, and rain forest destruction. In addition, Eric also learned that consuming animal products destroys our own health and causes countless unreasonable deaths each year. He advocates for participation in pro-animal related activities, and he also hopes to inspire people to choose a vegan lifestyle.

When Eric first came to FDR, he was put in general education classes. However, he wanted to challenge himself to do more. He aggressively advocated for himself, insisting to be in more challenging honors and advanced placement classes. He strongly believes individuals must take control of their own future and dedicate themselves to their work. It is important to note that Eric was not always a great student. When he was in fifth grade, he was actually a failing student. Eric, unlike many students today, took control of his future. He committed himself to becoming a responsible and dedicated student. Whether it’s a test or a school activity, Eric is incredibly focused on doing his best.

Eric has the mind of a thinker. He loves to push himself to his limits. I asked him, how he became valedictorian, and he said that he was honestly surprised he was the top student. It was never one of his goals to be ahead of anyone. His goal was always to be his best self. However, he didn’t study alone. He studied with friends, who were an amazing support group. He said everyone in the top ten encouraged each other to be strong students and role models in the school.  Eric joined many clubs, such as the Math Team, Robotics and the Student Ambassadors. He encourages younger students to take classes like Math Analysis, with Mr. Galli. The class can be overwhelming, but doing very advanced mathematics will only help students throughout their high school and college years.

When I asked Eric, ” What are some things that you would recommend future students do,” he had a very interesting answer. He said that students should look at themselves in the 3rd person, and ask what they’re going to be in 10 years. If the student is realistic about the current choices they are making, they can determine their own future by making changes. Eric believes people in general need to take control and accountability for their own well being. Eric often refers back to a quote passed on to him by his brother,” You must choose either the pain of dedication or the pain of regret.” These really are inspiring words to live by! In addition, Eric feels students should have friends who will help them become the best people they can be. Basically- don’t allow others, and your environment, to bring you down. Not everyone is born a genius, but Eric believes if you have grit and determination, the sky is not even close to being the limit.

Congratulations Eric. You made your Cougar family proud!