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Platt valedictorian’s hands-on approach a key to success

Platt valedictorian’s hands-on approach a key to success



reporter photo

MERIDEN — Haley Peacock has been No. 1 in her class since her sophomore year and has maintained that throughout her junior and senior year to become Platt High School’s 2020 valedictorian.

Peacock can seemingly do it all. She’s amassed a 4.86 GPA while enduring a challenging course load at Platt. On top of that, she is a four-year swimmer for the Panthers and occasionally finds time to play the violin.

Peacock video recorded her graduation speech this week for the virtual Platt graduation that will air on Friday, June 12.

The 18-year-old said her favorite quote of the speech is borrowed from the “Kid President” online video series — “Dare to dream, but please also do. For dreamers are many, but doers are few.”

Her next step is Springfield’s Western New England University. The National Honor Society member will major in biomedical engineering.

“I want to work hands on,” Peacock said. “I’ve always been interested in the medical field, but I don’t have the stomach to be a doctor.”

At Platt, Peacock has earned a Rensselaer Medal and a Bausch & Lomb Honorary Science Award.

She was also a four-year swimmer for the Meriden Co-op swim team. She came into her freshman year with no competitive swimming experience, but under the guidance of Panther coach Ed Heath, Peacock was on the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays that qualified for the Class L state meet. She will continue her swimming career in college. Peacock served as a senior captain.

“Swimming and playing the violin helps me shut everything out,” Peacock said. “I’m an overthinker. My brain is always moving and those are way to shut my brain down a little bit and I could just focus on the next note or my next lap.”

Peacock has also been a team manager for the Meriden boys co-op team as well.

“She gave me all she got,” Heath said. “I would take a team full of Haley Peacock’s. I will miss her. She’s one of a kind.”

Last month, the Platt athletic department named Peacock their Female Scholar Athlete of the Year at the school’s annual awards banquet. This year it was held virtually.

Haley is the daughter of Rebecca and William Peacock. The family moved to Meriden from Middletown when Haley was in sixth grade.

“I’ve had a great time at Platt. I’ve had great support throughout my four years,” Peacock said. “I work hard and have had good time management. I’ve always kept a good relationship with my teachers and communicate so they know what I need and how they can help.”

Peacock said Platt science teacher Iwona Gajecki has been a “good backbone” for her at Platt. 

“She doesn’t learn to learn, she learns to know. She looks at problems differently and not just for a good grade,” Gajecki said. “She’s always looking to help other students. She enjoys explaining to other students. She understands the problems at different levels and that makes her different. She’s special. She’s amazing.”

Gajecki wrote a note to the entire Top 10 of the 2020 Platt senior class, that includes Peacock and salutatorian Anahi Gutierrez, “The sky is not the limit, it’s just the beginning.”

“We have amazing kids,” Gajecki added.


"Swimming and playing the violin helps me shut everything out. I’m an overthinker. My brain is always moving and those are way to shut my brain down a little bit and I could just focus on the next note or my next lap."

-Haley Peacock
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