High school salutatorian's Goth yearbook photo is going viral for the best reasons
via Jules Lipoff / Twitter

Weronika Jachimowicz, 17, is getting a lot of attention for subverting people's expectations of who excels in high school. And that's exactly what she wants.

Jachimowicz was named New York's Mattituck-Cutchogue Union Free School District's 2021 salutatorian. Her yearbook photo next to valedictorian Luke Altman is going viral because of her dramatic Goth makeup and attire.

It all started when assistant professor and writer Dr. Jules Lipoff tweeted out a photo of the valedictorian and salutatorian he saw in a newspaper and it went viral. How many salutatorians have you seen that wear pentagram hoop earrings, a choker, and black devil horns?

The juxtaposition of her next to the bowtie-wearing Altman, makes the photo even more amusing.


Jachimowicz wants the world to know that just because a high school kid looks like an outsider, doesn't mean they aren't interested in academics or sports.

In fact, it's completely normal for kids who are interested in the Goth subculture to be good students.

"The scene has quiet middle-class values — education, highbrow culture, theatre, museums, romantic literature, poetry, philosophy, Gothic architecture," Dr. Dunja Bril, who studies Goth culture in England, told The Independent.

"Many Goths like classical music. It's a status symbol to have a good collection of classical pieces — mostly requiems and darker pieces," she added.

"Going to do a university degree is encouraged," Bril continued. "It doesn't encourage people to drop out of school. Whereas in the Punk scene you turn down the normal educational values, in Goth you gain status if you're perceived as being educated. You get people who are in it for the shock value, but they are usually the ones who grow out of it."


Since her photo went viral, Jachimowicz has received countless messages of thanks from young people who say she's inspired them to express themselves.

"In all honesty, that's all I wanted. I wanted to help anyone I could who is struggling with expressing themselves because I've been in the exact same position," Jachimowicz told Yahoo. "When people message me telling me how I have given them the confidence to be who they truly are, I almost cry from happiness."

Jachimowicz says that she was able to be herself because she was encouraged by others, so this is her chance to pay it forward.

"I was always trying to please others and be like what everyone else wanted me to be, or at least try to fit into what was 'normal.' However, I did slowly start to realize that it's OK to be different," she said.

"I've met people in my life who gave me the confidence to fully be myself," she added.

In addition to having an unweighted GPA of 97.27%, Jachimowicz was on the fencing, ping pong, and winter track teams. She was also a member of the National Honor Society, Students Against Drunk Driving, and the Unity Club.

She plans to major in biology/forensics in college.

Jachimowicz's accomplishments are another reason to never judge someone for how they look or their interests. Just because someone is wearing satanic earrings doesn't mean they aren't highly intelligent or athletic.

She believes the most important thing is to be yourself, regardless of what anyone else thinks.

"Even if others don't really like my style, it's what makes me happy and I've worked hard to finally come to that conclusion," she said.

Courtesy of CeraVe
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From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

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via Fox 5 / YouTube

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Courtesy of CeraVe
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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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