First Valedictorian Leaves Strong Legacy

By Abeer Naeem ’17

Conquering great heights since her teenage years, Marion Broome Pakula is an iconic individual in Midwood’s history. 

Pakula was not only part of the first ever graduating class, but was also the valedictorian of the class of 1942.

With beauty and brains, Mrs. Pakula has the total package. Life has not been boring for her as she published her own book about needlepointing called “Needlepoint Plaids,” and moved all the way to California.

Mrs. Pakula believes being the valedictorian at any high school is a special thing and was honored to be Midwood’s first ever valedictorian.

She stated, “This was an especially unique and memorable experience for me since I was a member of the first graduating class at Midwood High School 75 years ago!”

Recently, Mrs. Pakula met with members of her graduating class at the 70th annual celebration where she spoke about her accomplishments. Among these many accomplishments Mrs. Pakula has assisted authors, published books, and worked as a marketing consultant.

This get together could not have been possible without Ms. Wendy Guida, the Alumni Archive Director, who is in charge of the association. Ms. Guida loves Midwood High School and believes this association is a chance to immerse herself in the school’s history.

“I tend to relate to and talk about Midwood all the time as I get the chance to meet amazing people and keep them in my archive,” stated Ms. Guida.

Ms. Guida has had the pleasure to meet with Mrs. Pakula and believes she is a wonderful individual.

“She still seems like the ideal student as when she spoke during the annual 70th anniversary she was incredibly poised and fluent with her words,” said Ms. Guida.

This beloved individual does not feel that being the valedictorian affected the path she took for her career. However, the teachers at Midwood played a huge role in what she pursued in the future as they had a huge impact on her life. Mrs. Pakula’s English teacher especially affected her because she only deepened her love for writing.

Marione Broome Pakula back in 1942

Mrs. Pakula continued on to Brooklyn college and then to the University of Connecticut to major in English.

“I still have a love for words,” said Mrs. Pakula. “I read frequently and love to play Scrabble!  You might say my love for words and writing started way back when at Midwood High School and continues to this day.”

To share her writing with others, Mrs. Pakula wrote three books on needlepoint, started an editorial typing business, and assisted multiple authors. Ms. Guida has hard copies of Mrs. Pakula’s needlepointing books in the alumni office and is honored to safeguard these treasured pieces of Midwood’s history.

“I never want to give up knowing all these amazing individuals. It is thrilling because I feel as though I know a celebrity and I am their biggest fan,” said Ms. Guida.

Mrs. Pakula can agree with Mrs. Guida as every time she entered Midwood she was treated as a superstar.

Mrs. Pakula at her 90th birthday

“Being a valedictorian reaffirms that others recognize your achievement and the importance of your accomplishments,” she said.

The valedictorian of the class of 2016, Bart Rosenzweig ’16 hopes to accomplish as much as Mrs. Pakula one day.

“I’m not sure what I’d like to do,” said Rosenzweig. “All I’m sure of is that I want to work for the greater good and somehow encourage others to do the same.” Great character and intelligence are just a few things both Rosenzweig and Pakula share, as they are two talented individuals.

Students and teachers aspire to be like Mrs. Pakula as she is living in the prime of her life at 90 years old and has accomplished much in life.

Being the mother of three kids Mrs. Pakula offers her advice to not only the graduating class but also all students in order to be more successful, and that is to enjoy your education.

“Enjoy your education and opportunities that open up to you,” states the 90-year old idol. “Find what you love to do and do it well enough that you will be paid for it and then you will be successful.”

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