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Mamaroneck's Valedictorian Works and Plays Hard

Before senior Alissa Slater moves on to college, she will address her peers, friends and family on June 22 as the Mamaroneck High School class of 2011 valedictorian.

"I was pretty excited when I found out the news," Slater said. Slater, who will attend Dartmouth College in the fall, believes this honor is a validation of all the hard work she has put in. But it's not all work for the aspiring pediatric neurosurgeon.

Before graduation, Slater has a busy few weeks, beginning with prom and a post-prom weekend getaway with her friends. Although her dance studio's last recital may cut that weekend short, Slater is used to balancing work and play.

"My family has always been really supportive of me," Slater said. "My mom has always instilled in me the work hard, play hard type of mentality." Slater has danced at A Dance Studio, located in Larchmont, since the age of three and for the past three years has led a dance club at the high school called The Crazy Crew.

"I choreograph dances for that," she said. "I'm also involved in a couple of smaller dance groups here like tap team. I try and involve myself in a couple of more charitable clubs."

Recently, Slater has thought a lot about her career and, already, has it narrowed down to pediatric neurosurgery. She grew up in a family of doctors and has always wanted to be one, too.

"I have the type of mentality where, I like to get something done and know i've done it, and have something in front of me that show me i've accomplished it," she said. "So, I think surgery might give me that validation."

Come June 22 when it's time to graduate, Slater may be a little nervous to give the speech, but is excited to be with her family and friends. When asked to give a sneak peak into what she will say at the podium in front of her classmates, Slater didn't want to disclose too much, but offered this insight. "I just want to keep it short and sweet," Slater said. "I wrote a lot about courage, and what that means and how that's gotten me through the past couple of years."

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