Timothy Moroney may not be your average high school valedictorian, and all the more special it makes him.
This fall, the Tuckahoe High School senior will be leaving the states to attend École de cirque de Québec, a professional circus arts college in Québec City. He's been admitted to one preparatory year. After one year of studies, the school will evaluate Moroney in the following areas: physical preparation, attitude, circus techniques and artistry.
But the 18-year-old hasn't put all his eggs in one basket. He's been accepted to Harvard, and has deferred his attendance for about a year. It's his goal to go to Harvard after the completion of the École de cirque de Québec's program of study.
In the beginning of his high school career and into part of his sophomore year, Moroney participated in typical high school activities. He was on the yearbook committee, played JV baseball, JV basketball, and varsity soccer.
"I stopped doing sports in the tenth grade because I wanted to focus on what I wanted to be doing, which was juggling and music," Moroney said.
"Juggling was something I'd wanted to learn since I was twelve. Sometimes I just want to learn something and decide to do it," he said.
And so for the past two years, Moroney has been juggling, taking circus arts and circus gymnastics classes. His cousin Liam also helped him learn to juggle.
In July 2007, he competed in the World Juggling Federation's Junior Division and made their finals at the Reading, PA festival.
Besides juggling, Moroney excels in music, particularly guitar, piano, and saxophone.
One look at his high school resume and it's clear why Moroney was chosen to be the school's valedictorian. He's been in every band the school has had—from the marching band and the jazz band to the orchestral band for school musicals—along with the music mentor program, in which Moroney gives private music lessons to a mixture of high school and middle school students.
Moroney is also a member of the school newspaper, has been the student government treasurer for seven years, is in the Italian Club, and has gotten the highest grade average in concert band, English, global history, Italian, and math each year, as well as ninth grade biology, tenth grade chemistry, health, marching band, and eleventh grade AP biology and AP U.S. history.
Moroney has used his talents to give back to his community, too. He performed for the jazz/winter concert at Sunrise Nursing Home as a sophomore. He also volunteered as a lifeguard for the local Boy Scouts during his junior and senior years.
Receiving the 21st Century Leadership Award from Wells College, the Vassar College Book Award from Westchester's Vassar Club, and the Certificate of Merit in Italian Studies from the Legislative District all in his junior year, Moroney has impressed his peers, teachers, and his guidance counselor, Lisa Kahan.
"Tim is a real leader of his peers. He doesn't follow. He's truly a unique person, he really is," Lisa Kahan said. "When Tim gets involved in something, whether it be athletics, music, grades, or juggling, he puts his whole self into it. He takes it to a whole new level." Kahan continued, "He goes above and beyond in all that he does. He's really a great kid."
Moroney has not yet started his valedictorian speech yet. "I have to play off of what the salutatorian writes," Moroney said of Tuckahoe's salutatorian, Matt Cucino. "We do a looking forward and looking backward thing. If I had a choice, I'd prefer to write a looking forward speech."
Of all the accomplishments Moroney has achieved, he's most proud of being selected as Tuckahoe's valedictorian. "That, or getting into the circus program," he said.