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Top students plan careers in STEM, law

Posted Tuesday, May 9, 2023 —

Jana Fladd, Valedictorian

Jana FladdIf this year’s valedictorian could give her younger self one piece of advice, it would be to do just a little bit less.

“Don’t spread yourself too thin,” said Jana Fladd, admitting she now feels she tried to do a little bit of everything. “I wish I had prioritized a few things.” Jana’s broad range of interests continues to prove challenging — she was still deciding between the University of Southern California or Boston University as late as April, ultimately opting for the latter and a degree in engineering.

“Initially, I was interested in civil engineering — I like how you can build structures, see your designs come to real life,” said Jana.

But there are worse things than a future filled with possibility, and Jana credits the relationships she was able to build with her teachers and counselors for opening those doors. In particular, physics teacher Jeremy Valentine and English teacher George Goga stood out. Some of her best high school memories revolve around those relationships, as well as the ones she built with classmates.

Jana is the daughter of Li and Scott Fladd; her father, Scott, is the owner of Fladd Sign Service in Geneva; and her mother, Li, is a stay-at-home mom. Her brother, Daniel, is a sophomore at Finger Lakes Community College, and her cat, Sport, is an adorable ginger and white feline.

Victoria Poworoznek, Salutatorian

Victoria PoworoznekVictoria Poworoznek, this year’s salutatorian, is already blazing trails as an ambitious, accomplished woman, and she doesn’t plan to stop any time soon.

“I love having women in places of power,” said Victoria, explaining her plans to study law with eyes toward becoming a corporate lawyer or even a judge.

The daughter of Lisa and Robert Poworoznek, Victoria takes inspiration from her mother, who is the director of finance at Rochester Regional Health, and Sally, a character from her favorite animated film, Cars. “Sally is a lawyer,” she said. “I can remember watching ‘Cars’ since I was in pre-school.”

Lisa Poworoznek, Victoria says, introduced her to the corporate world and the difference women in leadership roles can make. “I just love the way that my mother was able to bring people together and lead people,” she said.

Victoria will attend the University of Buffalo in the fall, majoring in legal studies and law. After that, she will attend law school. “I would be the first lawyer in my family, so my parents are really proud and excited.” Victoria’s father is an engineer.

Educators who number among her top inspirations include science teacher Tom Snyder, French teacher Karen Dawson, and English teacher George Goga. Academics have always been a priority for Victoria, who says she’d rather be working toward a goal than “sitting at home relaxing” — “I love learning, and I think that it’s just better; it keeps your mind stimulated,” she said. Regardless, she says, it’s important not to get too caught up in report cards and transcripts. “Numbers don’t define you,” said Victoria. “Even if your grades are low, you can learn from that — all the classes are really just about learning.”