These brilliant college students are living the American dream during a nightmarish year.
Nine Hunter College valedictorians — seven of whom are first- or second-generation immigrants — capped off their college careers with perfect 4.0 GPAs and celebratory TikTok videos.
The honorees include students from India and Turkey, and the children of refugees from Russia, Syria, Peru, Pakistan and Uzbekistan.
The group is Hunter’s largest cohort of valedictorians ever.
Grad Evelyn Tawil, who grew up in a tight-knit Syrian Jewish community in Midwood that her mother immigrated to as a girl, graduated in just three years and spent a year studying in Israel.
“My mother escaped [Syria] when she was 9,” Tawil said. “We take great pride in our Syrian Jewish heritage, and at Hunter it was my first time stepping out of my bubble a little bit … it was a big culture shock,” she said.
She described the experience of completing college and entering the workforce amid the chaotic events of the past several months.
“It was pretty weird, honestly,” she said. “It ended so abruptly, and I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye [to my friends].”
Tawil, 21, and her geology department peers celebrated their awards ceremony virtually Friday.
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