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Mar 18, 2019 3:35 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Best Friends Share Spotlight As Hampton Bays Valedictorian And Salutatorian

Ava Bianchi, left, and Christina Coulton. VALERIE GORDON
Mar 19, 2019 1:19 PM

Hampton Bays seniors Ava Bianchi and Christina Coulton have shared countless memories, having been best friends since before either of them could walk—from trick-or-treating as 4-year-olds, to sharing late nights studying for AP Spanish.On Thursday, June 27, they’ll add another memory to the mix, as they share the stage at the Hampton Bays High School graduation ceremony as valedictorian and salutatorian.

The two 17-year-olds were shocked when Principal Christopher Richardt called them out of their respective classrooms last month to tell them the news.

Ms. Coulton, the graduating class valedictorian, said on Monday that she’s looking forward to going out with a “punch.”

“It felt like all of my work has been worth it,” she said, flipping her dark brown hair over her shoulder. “It’s a really big accomplishment, and to share the spotlight with one of my best friends makes it that much better.”

Both are eager to address their friends at graduation with an inspiring speech about starting the next chapter of their lives.

“It’s nice to have the opportunity to say something,” Ms. Bianchi said, twisting her brown curly hair into a bun. “This year hasn’t really felt like high school—it’s just felt like wrapping up everything. I already feel like my chapter is closed, and I’m so ready to start the next one.”

Although the seniors have not yet chosen their respective colleges, both know what they intend to study and have their fingers crossed that they will be able to attend their top choices of schools.

Ms. Bianchi hopes to pursue her passion for musical theater at either Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania or The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. Ms. Coulton is looking forward to studying bioengineering at Binghamton University or Northeastern University in Massachusetts.

On Monday, the teenagers, both of whom grew up in Hampton Bays, said that they are ready for college—not just the workload but also a change in environment.

“I loved growing up in a small town, because it gave me the opportunity to explore and discover myself,” Ms. Bianchi said. “But I’m so ready to see the world.”

Ms. Coulton, whose high school career has spanned from academics to lacrosse, cross country and winter track, agreed: “I’m excited to go to a new place where I have a fresh start.”

Ms. Coulton is a member of the school’s National Honor Society, Key Club, jazz band, Leo’s Club and serves as president of the Interact Club.

Ms. Bianchi is also a member of the National Honor Society, as well as the mock trial team, and for the past four years has been a varsity cheerleader, having earned an Academic All-County award for the sport last year. Additionally, she participates in the school’s annual play, as well as in community theater productions at the Southampton Cultural Center and Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor.

During the summer, she works two jobs, as a parking attendant at Tiana Beach in Hampton Bays and a server at New Moon Cafe in East Quogue.

Ms. Coulton is just as busy, working as a sailing instructor out of Tiana Bay and at Long Beach in Sag Harbor.

“I’m very excited to start this new chapter in life,” she said. “I’m going to be the small fish in the big, unknown pond.”

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