07/19/2024

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Late last month, the Mattituck-Cutchogue Union Free School District reported that students Luke Altman and Weronika Jachimowicz will be the 2021 salutatorian and salutatorian, respectively. The two 17-year-olds both had final grade point averages above 97 percent, Patch reported.

While the students’ achievements are worth celebrating in their own right, it’s not their grades that are causing a stir. Instead, it was Jachimowicz’s awe-inspiring senior portrait, in which she proudly wears deep burgundy hair, a cowl headband, black makeup, pentagram earrings and a necklace and other black jewelry.

A side-by-side photo of the high-achieving teen was shared on social media, with one tweet in particular going viral.

“You go girl,” Dr. Jules Lipoff wrote of Jachimowicz.

As of Thursday, the post had been retweeted more than 40,000 times and other social media users had commented, sharing that they not only liked her looks, but also the fact that she was being her authentic self.

Jachimowicz told Yahoo Life that she found out she went viral after receiving a direct message from a friend on Instagram.

“See, I did it,” she said. “It was all just a shock to me, and it still is. But I was very flattered and happy. At this point, the positive [reactions] greatly overshadow the negative ones, and I’m grateful for that. I’m really glad we’re in a time where accepting people’s differences is so important.”

In the past, Jachimowicz has struggled to be open about her interests, adding that her style is inspired by a variety of things – such as music, art and “dark cultures” like skulls, spiders and death – which can be off-putting to people. -which can make people uncomfortable.

“I’ve always tried to please people, to be what other people want me to be, or at least try to fit in with ‘normal’. However, I did slowly start to realize that it was okay to be different. I have met people in my life who have given me the confidence to be completely myself. Even if others don’t like my style, this is what makes me happy and joyful. I’ve been trying to finally come to that conclusion,” Jachimowicz explains.

Now, Jachimowicz proudly embraces her identity and even shares it with the world by posting dark and stunning photos on social media, where people comment to let her know how she inspires them.

One commenter wrote under an Instagram post, “You inspired me to stay in school, I was going to drop out of college but now I’m reconsidering.”

Jachimowicz admits she feels “overwhelmed” knowing she is helping others. “Honestly, that’s what I want. I want to help people who are having trouble expressing themselves, because I’ve been in exactly the same position. When people send me messages telling me how I’ve given them the confidence to be who they really are, I almost cry with joy.”

She notes that it takes a lot of courage when it comes to expressing yourself, but wants people to know to take their time and that it’s a journey.

“It’s okay to please others, but make sure you please yourself first. So if you’re not happy with who you are now, then that’s a clue to finding out who you should be. It’s a journey of self-discovery that can be long, but it’s worthwhile and necessary for true happiness,” she advises.

In addition to fashion, Jachimowicz’s other extracurricular activities include track, fencing, playing ping pong and participating in the Art Ensemble Club. She is also co-president of the Unity Club. While juggling it all during a normal year can be a challenge, Jachimowicz notes that it’s hard to keep her grades up during a pandemic.

“[What has helped is] definitely just staying true to myself. I always wanted to do the best I could, and even if there was a major obstacle, like a pandemic, I did everything I could to not let it get in the way of my my education,” she said.

After graduation, Jachimowicz plans to attend college and major in biology and forensics with hopes of becoming a forensic pathologist/forensic scientist.

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