by Neal Rentz
Graduating Dobbs Ferry High School seniors Blake Hord and Justin Cohen have been a large presence at the school for the past four years, and their achievements have been recognized.
Hord is this year’s Dobbs Ferry High School valedictorian, and Cohen is the school’s salutatorian.
Hord recalled that he and Cohen unexpectedly received the news of their honors during a recent breakfast event held at the school. “We were actually told together,” Hord said during an interview conducted at the school in May, adding he and Cohen were surprised.by the announcement. “It was completely unexpected,” Cohen said. They will be recognized on graduation day, which is scheduled for June 17.
Both students have been active both inside and outside the high school. Both are taking part in internship programs. Hord is interning at the Teatown Lake Reservation in Ossining as a program aide. Cohen is interning at an advertising agency in New York City.
One of the issues Hord said he has researched in the internship is Climate Change, which he said is real, not a myth. “It was such a great opportunity,” he said.
Hord has won several awards from science competitions, including a contest sponsored by International Baccalaureate and was named a finalist in the highly respected Siemens Competition. According to its website, the Siemens Competition “fosters intensive research that improves students’ understanding of the value of scientific study and informs their consideration of future careers in these disciplines.”
Both graduating seniors will be continuing their education at prestigious universities next fall. Hord has enrolled at Stanford University, and Cohen will be attending the University of Pennsylvania. Both students are not certain which areas of concentration they will focus on in their college years, although Hord said he may major in computer science or physics. Hord said he is looking forward to living on the west coast during his college years, but “I’m sure my parents will not be too happy,” he quipped.
Both students have been active in student government, known as the Legislative Branch. Hord has been active in the Legislative Branch for four years, while Cohen has been involved for two years.
Hord and Cohen said they have been helped in their high school career with small class sizes that have provided more individualized instruction that a school with a much higher enrollment could not provide. Cohen said he has been instructed by several teachers for three or four years. During the 2017/18 school year there have been 103 seniors at Dobbs Ferry High School.
Hord and Cohen have both taken part in the prestigious International Baccalaureate (IB) academic program at the high school. The program includes a requirement that students provide 150 hours of community service. Cohen said he and Hord were particularly grateful to one of his IB teachers, Neil Abbatiello, who teaches a two-year IB math course. “He has been such important teacher in our high school careers,” Cohen said.