Pascack Valley High School's Official News Site: Where there's smoke, there's fire.

The Smoke Signal

From Valedictorian to Villanova

Shannon Culloo (22) against Ramapo in the semifinals of the North 1 Group 3 tournament. Culloo has been an anchor defensively and on the glass for PV during its recent run.

Patricia Ocelotl

Shannon Culloo (22) against Ramapo in the semifinals of the North 1 Group 3 tournament. Culloo has been an anchor defensively and on the glass for PV during its recent run.

Olivia Jones, Staff Writer

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During school hours, she takes six AP classes. After school, she can be found in the new gym at basketball or volleyball practice or on the field at lacrosse practice. On Thursday, she will deliver the valedictory speech at graduation.

However, Shannon Culloo, a PV senior, has never forgotten the importance of family and friends.

Her achievements and awards are major accomplishments in her life, but Shannon values the relationships she has with her teachers and peers as well as being a nice person.

When asked, Shannon always tells people that a fun fact about herself is that she has a twin brother, Brendan Culloo.

Shannon and Brendan have a special bond that grew during their temporary separation during freshman year according to Shannon.

“I love being a twin,” Shannon said, “Brendan is my best friend. Having someone as your built in best friend and someone you are going through all your life changes with is a great asset.”

From a young age, the twins did not get along. Shannon once locked Brendan outside the house in his underwear when they were very young and refused to let him back inside until a half hour later.

As they got older, the twins became closer. At night, they would watch “Hercules” together, which has become tradition.

“She was trying to watch the UCLA and Arizona basketball game and it was one o’clock in the morning and I asked her if she wanted to do something spontaneous,” Brendon said. “I was like ‘Let’s watch Hercules’ because it was on the DVR. She was like ‘No no no’ until I convinced her to.”

Through all of her years of working at her fullest potential, Shannon has made memories that cannot be expressed as a grade on a report card.

“All I knew was that I wanted to come here and play basketball and work hard. That’s what I did,” Shannon said. “But now that I’m a senior I realize there is a lot more to the high school experience than just what sport you play or how well you are doing in class.”

Her most memorable senior moment was winning the Group 3 Championship for basketball. Shannon recognized that it was the culmination of her four years of playing basketball and an accomplished team goal, but that wasn’t everything for her.

But now that I’m a senior I realize there is a lot more to the high school experience than just what sport you play or how well you are doing in class.”

— Shannon Culloo

“On the one hand you’ve worked your whole life to be good at this sport that has turned into success but also I genuinely loved the people I was around,” Shannon said. “Surrounding yourself with the people you love and realizing your dreams is the ultimate sense of self-satisfaction.”

Shannon’s love for math may have something to do with her AP Calculus BC teacher, Ms. Maria Hinrichsen. Hinrichsen describes Shannon as a dedicated and thorough student, as well as being persistent in learning.

Brendan often makes an appearance to visit his sister in Hinrichsen’s class.

“Because I have Shannon, Brendan is a regular visitor. Brendan will come down and instruct the class and Shannon will just sit back there and watch him try to instruct. Sometimes he’s not bad and sometimes he has no clue,” Hinrichsen said.

Shannon will be attending Villanova University next year to study engineering. She wants to continue to push herself in school and be proud of the work she completes.

“What she does she will do well and make sure she is happy doing them,” Hinrichsen said.

History teacher Ms. Marisa Mathias considers Shannon’s AP US History 1 class one of her best classes yet. She does not refer to the students as a class but rather a family. A family who made memes to tease one another and pasted their inside jokes into their AP study guide.

Shannon played a major role in establishing the family environment. Before any holidays, Shannon would assemble mini gift bags for each of her peers and Mathias.

In the classroom, Mathias saw Shannon as a determined, eager to learn, and inquisitive student no matter what other extracurricular activities Shannon was participating in.

“She works so hard,” Mathias said. “Her work ethic is amazing. One thing that I would really commend her for was that during sports seasons, especially during basketball season, I wouldn’t have known she was playing basketball. It wasn’t like her work decreased in its quality.”

Outside of the classroom, Mathias notices that Shannon continues to be a caring person.

“I see her in basketball and I see some of the same qualities as in the classroom because on the basketball court she is amazing but she has that same kind of presence,” Mathias said.

Shannon also stresses not losing sight of the important things in life outside of school and academics such as her family and her friends.

“You want to have success in your life but you want to involve as many people as possible,” Shannon said.

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Pascack Valley High School's Official News Site: Where there's smoke, there's fire.
From Valedictorian to Villanova