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Valedictorian for the Class of 2020 is Maris Podgurski

Thornton Academy is proud to announce that the Valedictorian for the Class of 2020 is Maris Podgurski. As valedictorian, Podgurski has the highest Grade Point Average (GPA) of all the students in TA’s senior class this year. 

Podgurski hails from Arundel, Maine and lives with her parents, Greg and Atsuko Podgurski. 

Maris Podgurski learns that she is valedictorian

Throughout her seven years at Thornton Academy, Podgurski excelled in academics, specializing in sciences. She has taken advantage of Thornton’s extensive STEM and AP course offerings and university partnerships. This year, she is enrolled in four AP courses and one English class at Southern Maine Community College (SMCC). As a junior, Podgurski studied advanced Spanish language through a course at the University of Maine. 

In addition to her focus on academics, Podgurski has been active in the community service group, Action Team, and the technical crew for the theater program. Previously, she competed on the cross country and track teams. 

“Being on a team is a great experience. It teaches you a lot on how to cooperate and be supportive of one another,” Podgurski said about her extracurricular activities. 

maris poses in front of thornton hall

Next year, Podgurski plans to attend Northeastern University and study chemistry. In her AP Chemistry class last year, she discovered a passion for the sciences. She hopes to become a clinical pharmacist so she can continue to be active in learning, but also engage with people on a day-to-day basis. 

“I love the field of academia and want to stay active in research,” Podgurski said. 

Podgurski credits her Thornton Academy teachers for helping her to reach her academic goals. In addition to her four years at the high school, Podgurski studied at Thornton Academy Middle School for three years, providing a solid base for her success. She mentioned that the atmosphere at TAMS fosters long-term positive relationships and provides a supportive learning environment filled with supportive teachers and good resources. 

“TAMS helped me get where I am with high school courses, teams, and finding my passions,” Podgurski said. 

maris at the middle school with science teacher ryan hersey

Podgurski suggests that younger students appreciate and develop positive relationships with their teachers. She met regularly with her teachers before and after school to engage more deeply with the class material, and recommends meetings such as these for all students. 

“I don’t think I would have gotten as far as I did without them,” said Podgurski about her teachers.

Congratulations, Maris! We can’t wait to see what the future brings for you!

Maris works with a classmate in Honors engineering