Soyke, Saba named top students at Archbishop Walsh

OLEAN – Samantha Soyke of Derrick City, PA and Parveen Saba of Olean, NY have been named the top academic achievers of Archbishop Walsh Academy for the Class of 2023.

Soyke is valedictorian with an overall grade point average of 97.36. Saba, with a 95.84, is the salutatorian.

“We’re proud of all of our students and this rich academic history here at Walsh, but we look forward every year to honoring those who stand out above all others,” said Walsh Principal BethAnn Owens. “Samantha and Parveen represent the best of what this school has to offer.”

Both Soyke and Saba were recently named to the National Honor Society. In the fall, Soyke will be attending The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford to major in Mechanical Engineering, while Saba will be attending The University of Massachusetts at Amherst to major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

SOYKE HAS WON multiple academic awards, including first place at the Archbishop Walsh Science Fair in 2022 and 2023, grand-prize at the Alfred University Science Fair this year, and honorable recognition at the Terra Twin Tiers Science and Engineering Fair in 2021 and 2022. She also received the George Eastman Young Leaders Award, Independent Minded Award, and The International Baccalaureate Learner Profile Principles Award.

Soyke is not only academically gifted, but is also active in extracurricular activities and the community. Soyke is a member of Linn Acres Performance Horses and the Interscholastic Equestrian Association. She is also an altar server at Saint Francis of Assisi Church of Bradford, Pa. and was a member of the McKean County 4-H, where she held various offices. Soyke is a member of the Derrick City Volunteer Fire Department, where she responds to emergency calls and participates in weekly bingo, training sessions and other fundraisers. 

She works at Graham’s Greenhouse and Landscaping in Foster Township, Pa.. 

SABA HAS ACHIEVED many accomplishments in academics, sports and volunteering. She has been on the high honor roll from 10th to 12th grades. 

She was named the International Baccalaureate Learner of the Month for the 2019-20 school year. She is a member of the Academic Honor Society and National Honor Society, has received several scholarships, including the Bausch + Lomb Honorary Science Award from the University of Rochester, the Leadership Award from Clarkson University, and the Presidential Scholarship from St. Bonaventure University and the Chancellor’s Scholarship from the University of Massachusetts.

Saba also excelled in sports. She was a captain for the Walsh Lady Eagles in basketball and volleyball, and also played varsity soccer for the Walsh boys soccer team. She is also an accomplished pianist and has participated in the solofest competition.

Outside of her academics and school activities, she is a member of the Dark Horse Stables show team and competes in dressage. She has worked as a camp counselor at the YMCA’s Camp Onyahsa, and is an active volunteer with Olean General Hospital and Allegany Family Medicine. She even volunteered in Costa Rica, where she worked with local children, volunteered at an animal sanctuary, painted a local church, and taught school children English and soccer.

Enrollment is open for the 2023-24 school year at Walsh/STCS. Email Principal Owens at to begin registration.