Renee De Bellis: Class of 2023 Salutatorian

Renee De Bellis: Class of 2023 Salutatorian

Kathryn Haig, Editor In Chief

Intelligent, passionate, and charitable – Renee De Bellis is certainly deserving of her title as Ramapo’s Class of 2023 Salutatorian. Although the announcement was no surprise to her classmates or teachers, De Bellis explains that she was taken aback when Mr. Smith told her the news: “I was really surprised because our grade is full of very intelligent and hardworking people, so I didn’t even think I was in the running. It’s obviously an honor to be selected and it feels good to be recognized at some level for the effort I’ve put into my academics.”

Having been enrolled in eleven AP classes over the course of her high school career, five during her Senior year alone, De Bellis admits, “It’s been overwhelming at times, but I don’t think I’d change anything if I did it over again.” The desire to learn has driven De Bellis through her undeniably difficult course load. De Bellis is the definition of a well-rounded student, successful in every subject because she regards each one with equal deliberation, affection, and curiosity.  Senior Petra Welchans explains, “Even outside of school, Renee demonstrates her strong work ethic, whether it is concerning her volunteering at Pony Power, taking on new crocheting projects, or (of course) grinding on the Property Brothers app. […] I always knew that she was reliable. [Renee] was one of your fellow students that you would be happy to be grouped up with for assignments, always getting the work done and often even becoming a leader of the group.”

Despite her remarkable accomplishments, Ramapo’s Salutatorian has, in her own words, “faced the same challenges as any other student no matter how rigorous their schedule may be, and [she’s] definitely no stranger to bad grades.” De Bellis, refreshingly candid, acknowledges, “It would be a lie to say I’m always giving 100% to my school work […] I think I’m good at recognizing what I need to put effort into and what I can just wing.” Even when she is, as she says, “winging it,” De Bellis is always thoughtful and earnest in expressing her ideas. AP English Literature teacher Mrs. Heather Manzo praises De Bellis as, “a mature thinker that has the ability to critically analyze works to see the talents and pitfalls of authors.” Mrs. Manzo went on to say that DeBellis “challenges the status quo and recognizes that we must be critical of the works that we read, and not just take them at face value. [She] admire[s] [De Bellis’] ability to challenge both herself, and other students in the class to see literature and life from a critical point of view.”

Though undecided in both her major and her future, De Bellis will be attending the Honors College of University of Delaware next year. As a Delaware graduate herself, Mrs. Manzo wishes De Bellis the “the best of luck,” saying, “I know that she will flourish there and love the academic community and beautiful campus it offers! I am very excited for her!”

Congratulations, Renee!