Sometimes she was Lady Macbeth. Sometimes she was Velma von Tussle, the bigoted bouffant of “Hairspray.” Once or twice, she was the tortured loner of Richard Aldington’s poem “Le Maudit,” roaming the city streets murmuring, “Women’s tears are but water; / The tears of men are blood.”
Through four years at Hoboken High School, Leslie Markevitch played many roles. “It’s always easier for me to act or say poetry,” she said. “You’re trying to convey the character, so you’re not necessary being yourself; you’re being someone else.”
Still, being herself was the role in which Markevitch excelled the most. On top of a raft of accolades, including a superior award for dramatic monologue at the New Jersey State Thespian Festival, Markevitch is the valedictorian of Hoboken High School’s graduating class of 2014. Her fellow classmate and thespian Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks is the salutatorian.
Graduation will be held June 25.
In the fall, Markevitch will continue on to Bucknell University, while Yoon-Hendricks will attend the University of California at Berkeley.
Playing many parts
Markevitch grew up attending plays at Hoboken High School, and jumped eagerly into the arts her freshman year. She has been an integral member of the Drama Club and performed in three productions and numerous STANJ and Thespian Festival theater competitions.
Outside the theater, Markevitch distinguished herself as president of the Math Club, layout designer for the yearbook, and a soccer player with the Lady Redwings. She was also an editor for the literary magazine Create and enjoys writing alliterative poetry.
Yoon-Hendricks has built her own impressive resume over four years at Hoboken High School. Like Markevitch, she was active in the Drama Club, acting in musical theater productions and garnering second place for her comedic monologue at the Thespian Festival. In addition, she played volleyball, led the Student Council, and served as editor-in-chief of the high school newspaper, The Redwing Reader.
Markevitch and Yoon-Hendricks shared many activities in common. Both were inducted into the National Honor Society and wrote for Sex, Etc. a teen sexual health magazine sponsored by Rutgers University. They also competed together in Harvard Model Congress, a yearly congressional simulation for high school students held in San Francisco and run by Harvard students. In past years, Markevitch has served as a senator on judicial committee and Yoon-Hendricks has served as a journalist.
Markevitch and Yoon-Hendricks agreed that Hoboken High School’s greatest strength was the wealth of extracurricular activities and organizations it offers to its students.
“There are so many opportunities, you’ve just got to take advantage of them,” said Markevitch.
Yoon-Hendricks agreed. “There are so many opportunities at Hoboken High School that just don’t exist at other high schools.”
Unlike Hudson County’s public magnet schools, they said, Hoboken High School doesn’t push students to focus on one passion. For example, both Markevitch and Yoon-Hendricks relished the theatrical opportunities they had at HHS, but neither is seriously considering theater as a career at this time.
Markevitch is eager to begin her studies at Bucknell, but doesn’t have a major in mind. “I have so many loves for different things and I want college to help me figure out what I can do with those loves,” says Markevitch. She plans to take the core curriculum and “see what sparks [her] interest.”
Bucknell’s “really beautiful” campus was a big part of Markevitch’s decision to attend, and she plans to join the outdoors club. “It’s such a nice area and I really love being outdoors and outside. There’s so many options to go hiking and camping.”
Markevitch wants to continue working for the literary magazine and try hosting a college radio show. She is thinking about participating in Bucknell’s theater program, but says her current interests are focused on “creating art, writing and photography.”
Yoon-Hendricks credits her mother and Harvard Model Congress as key influences leading to her decision to attend UC Berkeley. Her family used to visit Berkeley and spoke highly of it, but Yoon-Hendricks said attending Harvard Model Congress sessions was “the reason why I was able to be exposed to the West Coast and San Francisco life and see what it’s like outside of the school.”
Attending a conference in California through Sex, Etc. magazine gave her the opportunity to visit Berkeley’s campus, which sealed the deal. “It just changed my whole perspective on what Berkeley was and what and incredibly diverse school it is and it’s a public school. A lot of the values that I see at Hoboken High School I also see at UC Berkeley,” she said.
Yoon-Hendricks plans to major in English and hopes to pursue a career in journalism.