NORTH SMITHFIELD – Through their studies and life experience, the top two students in the North Smithfield High School Class of 2023 have been inspired to aim high, with plans, respectively, to study applied mathematics and kinesiology next year.
Daniel White, the valedictorian, is the son of Thomas and Concetta White.
White, an accomplished athlete, has been the starting catcher on the school’s baseball team since his sophomore year, winning the Division III Championship and getting an All-Division Second Team Selection.
Also a dedicated scholar, White serving at a captain for the robotics team and captain of the drive team during his junior and senior years. During that time, NSHS’s top student competed regularly for the math team, and was also apart of the ping pong club. Additionally, he was a member of the debate club his freshman year and the culinary club during his junior year.
White also plays travel baseball, works part-time at Men’s Wearhouse, and won the Congressional App Challenge alongside classmate Mason DiNezza.
Outside of extracurriculars, White said he loves listening to music, playing chess. and spending time with his friends and family.
His experience volunteering for North Smithfield’s annual Clean and Green Day inspired an ambitious senior project focused on preventing pollution. With an interest in applying statistical concepts and the desire to learn more about the littering habits of the North Smithfield community, White decided to pick up litter in specifically selected locations throughout town and collect data on it. Currently, he’s creating a video to discourage littering and relay the information he’s found to younger generations. He said he hopes that his efforts will result in increased awareness of waste disposal habits and help create a cleaner environment.
After graduating, White will attend Brown University, concentrating in applied mathematics in the fall.
Lauren Mania, the salutatorian of the NSHS Class of 2023, is the daughter of Christopher and late Shannon Mania.
Mania is also an athlete, who joined the cross country team in ninth grade, also participating her senior year. She competed as a varsity independent swimmer in ninth grade as well, and continued all four years of high school. She also extended the passion outside of school, swimming as part of the Woonsocket YMCA team throughout her high school years. She was on the track and field team from grades 10 through 12 as a varsity thrower, and was named captain her senior year. As a junior, Mania also participated in ski club, where she discovered a love of skiing.
Mania is also a member of the National Honor Society, where she serves as the corresponding secretary. Outside of school and sports, she works year-round at the Woonsocket YMCA, lifeguarding and teaching swim lessons, where she enjoys working with kids and interacting with the community.
In her free time, Mania said she loves hanging out with her friends, skiing, and spending time with her family, who she notes have always been a significant part of her life, encouraging her to work hard and get to where she is today. When numerous members of her family, including her aunt and mother fell ill to cancer, Mania said she noticed the impact of support, and the harsh realities that cancer patients faced behind the scenes. When the NSHS senior project was introduced to her just a few months after her mother died, she said she knew that she wanted to do something to honor her and make a difference for people undergoing situations similar to what her mom had been through.
Mania set out to raise money to create care packages for cancer patients who had been undergoing long-term cancer treatment to remind them that although support may not always be as prominently there, that there are people who recognize and support them. Working alongside the Gloria Gemma Foundation, her fundraiser raised more than $4,400, which will be used to make the care packages, as well as fund the making and distribution of angel bookmarks to be given to everyone who contributed to her goal.
She said she hopes that her efforts in the project make others feel loved and supported through their battle.
Mania will be attending the University of Rhode Island in the fall, pursuing a degree in kinesiology with a specialization in pre-contingent physical therapy.