Long Beach High School Class of 2012 Valedictorian Jonathan Klus has found great success in pursuing two equal passions in his life: the wonders of scientific inquiry and the thrill of victory and camaraderie found in team sports.
Klus hopes to be able to continue enjoying both of these passions when he heads off to Cornell University in the fall, where he plans to major in biological engineering and participate in club cross-country and track and field.
Among his many accomplishments, Klus is a member of the National Honor Society and was named a National Merit Commended Student and an AP Scholar with Distinction. He has won multiple awards at state and international science competitions, including gold and silver medals at the International Sustainable World (Energy, Engineering and Environment) Project Olympiad, first and third-place awards at the New York Science and Engineering Fair, and highest honors at the Long Island Science Congress. He was also a semifinalist in the Young Naturalist Awards competition.
A New York State Scholar-Athlete, Klaus competes on the varsity cross-country, track and swim teams. He is the vice president of the Israeli Culture Club and president of the Future Physicians Club at Long Beach Medical Center, where he is also a junior volunteer. Outside of school, he participated in a summer internship at the Town of Hempstead Department of Conservation and Waterways Laboratory. He is also a Running Club coach at the Long Beach Recreation Center and will be working this summer as a lifeguard.
“My passions thus far include science and scientific research, as well as running competitively,” Klus said. “I would most like to be remembered not just for being the valedictorian of my high school class, but as a multi-sport varsity athlete, a volunteer and a mentor to younger students. I believe that I have contributed to the Long Beach High School community in many ways, and I hope that I have had a positive influence on my peers.”
Klus found his varsity cross-country experience to be competitive, fun and exciting. “We had a small but very tight-knit team," he said. "My favorite way to end a day was to go to practice and run with my teammates. They became some of my best friends. Track and field has always been exhilarating. Winning the division and conference titles this year was an amazing reward for all our hard work.”
In addition to teaching him complex scientific techniques, the science research program helped Klus hone his time management skills, build professional relationships and become skilled in public speaking.
“By completing three research projects, I learned that your failures and your mistakes teach you infinitely more than your successes,” he noted. “My science research experience also taught me to always be ethical and honest in my endeavors and not to be afraid to stand up and defend myself and my work. These are lessons that many students must wait until college to learn.”
Looking back with experienced eyes on his last four years of high school, Klus offers this sound advice to incoming freshmen: “Work hard and try to sample a little bit of everything that Long Beach High School has to offer. In order to be successful in high school, there is no doubt that you must put a lot of effort forth, but this does not mean that you cannot also have fun. If you find people who share your interests and look for an activity that you are passionate about, you will have an amazing high school experience. Through all the activities that I have shared with my classmates, I know that I have made friends for life.”
Klus credits his success to the loving support of his family. “My parents have been a source of inspiration for me throughout my life. I will always be grateful to them for all they have given me.”
If he had his high school years to do over, Klus says that he wouldn’t change a thing. “The lessons I learned from my mistakes have been invaluable, and I know they will serve me well in college.”