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Horace Greeley High School National Merit Semifinalist Samuel J. 'Sabrina' Kaplan Dies At 17

Samuel J. "Sabrina" Kaplan of Chappaqua, an accomplished student at Horace Greeley High School, died of metabolic causes on Friday, Sept. 17 in Syosset at the age of 17.
Samuel J. "Sabrina" Kaplan of Chappaqua, an accomplished student at Horace Greeley High School, died of metabolic causes on Friday, Sept. 17 in Syosset at the age of 17. Photo Credit: Flickr User Shawn Carpenter

Samuel J. "Sabrina" Kaplan of Chappaqua, an accomplished student at Horace Greeley High School, died of metabolic causes on Friday, Sept. 17 in Syosset at the age of 17.

Later in life, Sam's chosen name was Sabrina. The name Sabrina and appropriate pronouns will be used out of respect for her journey and her wishes.

Sam is survived by mother, Nicole Turano of Chappaqua; grandparents Margot and Vincent Turano of Carmel; father David Kaplan, stepmother, Alice and younger half-siblings, Natalie, Arthur and Benjamin of Syosset.

Sabrina's was born on Jan. 19, 2001 in New York City. She grew up in Chappaqua and attended Douglas Grafflin Elementary School, Robert Bell Middle School and Horace Greeley High School.

Sabrina was born profoundly deaf and received her first cochlear implant at 18 months and her second at age 6. Although a late talker, Sabrina excelled in all things academic from an early age.

She enjoyed astronomy -- as a young child she decorated her room with 13 solar systems -- and was an avid reader and chess enthusiast.

She would ask for problems to solve just for the fun of it. A fan of Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein, she was fascinated with particle physics, relativity, dark matter and energy.

A straight-A student, Sabrina was honored at the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth Grand Ceremony for academic excellence. Her most recent honor was as a National Merit Semifinalist, just named last week.

She loved working on anything math- and science-related. She was active in Academic Challenge, Science Olympiad, chess, First Lego League and Davidson Young Scholars. She attended Columbia University's Science Honors Program, and attended numerous computer and academic camps for science and math.

Although writing was not her first love, she was extremely adept and eloquent, and although she would never admit it, she had a true interest in history.

Sabrina had many joys outside of academics, as well.

Her love of roller coasters was boundless -- the higher and faster the better.

She loved reading, skiing, and hiking.

She volunteered at Westmoreland Sanctuary, the Chappaqua Library Teen Zone, and the Ossining Children's Center. Most recently Sabrina became involved with the Debate Club and the Gay-Straight Alliance.

She had a very close and loving relationship with her grandparents. Sabrina spent five summers in a row hiking with Gramps in the White Mountains, including Mount Washington and most of the remote mountain huts. She loved crafting and baking with Yaya, and spending many holidays with them.

One of her mom's favorite times when she was young was pajama day, when they would spend the day at home in their pjs. And they loved to spend time reading together. They read the Harry Potter series to each other.

Sabrina was affectionate, kind and passionate about all that was important to her.

Visitation will be Friday, Sept. 21 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Beecher Flooks Funeral Home, 418 Bedford Road in Pleasantville. The family is requesting no flowers/donations at this time.

A memorial service will be planned for a later date with details to follow.

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