The Salutatorian for the 2012 graduating class is an Adolescent Education major with a grade point average of 4.0. Melissa Yonelunas will be presented with the “Association of Parents & Friends of LIU Post” Salutatorian Award on May 4th.
Much like the process of picking a Valedictorian, the Salutatorian is also judged on grade point average standing, the number of credits taken, a personal essay and an interview process with a board of faculty and administrators.
This process begins as soon as the May degree application filing deadline is past and a decision is made within four weeks according to Beth Carson at Registrar, who convenes the Valedictorian and Salutatorian selection process. Yonelunas was told she was the 2012 Salutatorian during a meeting with LIU Provost Dr. Paul Forestell on March 20th.
Yonelunas is honored to be the Salutatorian, she said. “My time at LIU Post has been so valuable to me, so to be able to represent the College of Education and my graduating class is an amazing opportunity. I am also proud and ecstatic that all of my hard work has amounted to this great honor,” she added.
Since her freshman year, Yonelunas has participated in an array of activities and events. She was once a part of the Pep Band and the Flute Ensemble. She was a presenter at the 8th Annual Conference of Elementary-Secondary Teaching and Learning, where she was able to share her educational finding with teachers through a formal presentation. She also signed up each semester as a note-take for the Learning Support Center at Post.
Outside of Post, Yonelunas has dedicated her time as a volunteer. She has worked with the Girl Scouts of America. “Volunteering has shown me how the smallest gesture or action can have a dramatic effect on the people around you, and it has taught me how rewarding it is to reach out to those who need a helping hand,” she said.
The Salutatorian does not give a speech during the commencement ceremonies, much to her relief, Yonelunas said. “While I would have loved to address my fellow classmates, the faculty, and the families of the graduates, it would have been a nerve-racking experience. I am excited to see what Sean will say in his speech,” she added.
Since completing her student teaching in December, Yonelunas jumped right into her graduate studies. She is currently reenrolled in a program for a Master’s of Arts in Teaching of Writing and Literacy Studies. “I am also looking for any subbing or teaching jobs that I can get my hands on,” Yonelunas said of her after-graduation plans.
Now that graduation is steadily approaching, Yonelunas will miss everything about Post, she said. “What I will miss most, however, is the beauty and intimacy of the campus. At Post, I was blessed with not only a gorgeous campus but also small class sizes where relationships between the students and the professors [are wonderful]. Wherever I went on campus, I was always met with a friendly and familiar face, and I already miss that.”