The future looks bright, judging by the students who gathered in a foyer area outside Staples High School's auditorium Wednesday night.

The 16 seniors have held the highest academic positions for their four years at the school and were recognized at the school's annual High Honors Dinner.

"This is our future, the cream of the crop," said Dee Hychiko, a sophomore-level assistant. "They have achieved the highest grade averages in school."

Jim Farnen, assistant Staples principal, explained that the top high achievers represent a percentage of the total senior class. "It varies each year based on total class size," he said. "This honor goes back decades. It's a celebration and night for the high performers to come together and be acknowledged in front of teachers, parents and administrators. Each honoree chooses a special person from the school to speak about and introduce them."

The 2011 Staples High Honors Students include: Michael Berlin, Chenchen Feng, Jordan Glick, Tessa Green, Joshua Greenberg, Ellen Kaminski, Justin Kleiner, Eric Lubin (valedictorian), Todd Lubin (salutatorian), Cole Manley, Peter Menz, Rachel Myers, Nicole Seo, Adele Shenoy, Caroline Wu and Timothy Yang. Staples Principal John Dodig said the honors dinner is a highlight of the high school's academic year. "We have a high school with an inordinate number of high-achieving kids," he said. "Even in that reality, these kids have worked just a little harder and really achieved over the last four years. All are going to prestigious schools, where they will be surrounded by people just like them. But they always come back and tell us year after year that they feel more prepared because of their Staples experience."

"I think one of the biggest things I take away from Staples is an improvement in my critical thinking," said Adele Shenoy. "I'm looking into medicine so that will be key. I feel like the past four years went by really quickly and couldn't have done it without my parents' support and teachers' guidance."

Summing up the mood best, Farnen, who addressed the gathering, said, "We will leave Staples this evening with a strong sense that our collective futures and the futures of our children and grandchildren will no doubt be brighter this century due to the leadership, work ethic and brilliance of these very impressive young men and women sitting next to us."