EDISON, N.J. – The Jay H. Dakelman Greater Middlesex Conference Scholar-Athlete banquet honored the league’s best and brightest graduating high school seniors during an awards dinner at the Pines Manor in Edison on Monday night, according to a prepared statement.
Middlesex County Superintendent of Schools Kyle Anderson, Middlesex County Commissioner Charles Tomaro, and Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School teacher and coach Kyle Anderson Jr. delivered keynote addresses.
Sayreville’s Jenn Badami was honored as the conference’s 2023 Athletics Director of the Year.
Senator Patrick Diegnan, whose legislative district encompasses seven Middlesex County towns, congratulated the scholar-athletes, who each received a beautiful commemorative glass award from the conference.
“Through your achievements in the classroom, in the community, and as a scholastic competitor, you have brought distinction and pride to your high school and hometown,” Diegnan said.
“Despite the added pressure of sometimes being held to a higher standard as a student-athlete, you have conducted yourself with grace and set an example for teammates and opponents. You have displayed a precocious ability to balance academics with extracurricular activities. Those time-management skills enabled you to achieve academic excellence and will serve you well in your future endeavors.
“The conference’s scholar-athlete award also reflects the efforts of your family, coaches, and teachers, who have molded you to respect the game, its rules, and fellow competitors. Congratulations on being an outstanding representative of your school community and a role model for others. Best wishes for continued success.”
The conference also awarded $250 scholarships totaling $2,500 through a random draw to 10 of its honorees.
Following is a complete list of 2023 Greater Middlesex Conference Scholar-Athlete recipients with accompanying bios, written by a representative from each honoree’s school and appearing below as the bios appeared in the awards program.
Naomi is an amazing example for her fellow peers. She currently serves as Student Government Secretary, a member of the National Honor Society, NHS ambassador, Chick – Fil – A Ambassador, all while completing five dual enrollment courses with Middlesex, including but not limited to comparative government, politics and government, and legal research. She also has concurrent enrollment in another five courses at Pillar College, including but not limited to public speaking, old and new testament survey, as well as the Life and Teachings of Christ, and taking advance placement chemistry, language, US history, and literature. Naomi currently interns as the Director of Student Ministries at Calvary, as well as volunteering as a core member of the tech and social media team at JFCC. She has received national recognition for competing in debate, receiving first place honors in team policy in 2022 for the Northeast region and 2nd for individual speaker nationally. Naomi qualified for nationals in Moot Court in 2022, 15th in the nation for informative speaking, and finished first regionally in impromptu speaking, as well as receiving multiple awards for apologetic and persuasive speaking. All of this, while maintaining a 4.1 GPA and competing in Track and Field.
Efthimia Rukis is a hard-working scholar-athlete who is involved in her school and community while maintaining a 4.392 GPA with a rank of 7th out of 270 students. Having a love for sports she played 2nd Singles in Tennis and was a Varsity Bowler. Efthimia was named to the All Division Team for bowling, and received a Coaches Award for both sports. As the Drum Major of Carteret’s award-winning Marching Band, she was put in charge of over one hundred musicians and led with excellence. Efthimia has played saxophone since the fourth grade, always enjoying playing it whenever she has the opportunity. She competed in STEM under a program called Odyssey of The Mind, where her team became regional and state champions and competed internationally. Efthimia volunteers under multiple organizations and is a part of CHS National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta—National Math Honor Society. She has received the Seal of Biliteracy in Russian, and interned by helping immigrants living alone, teaching them English and providing healthcare aid. On weekends she is busy with NJSEEDS where she takes classes in college settings. Efthimia plans on attending Villanova University majoring in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience on a Pre-Med path.
Jacob Curi is an exemplary scholar-athlete. He’s a four-year soccer team participant, two years on varsity, while maintaining a 4.286 GPA throughout his high school journey. Jacob was co-captain for his freshman year while also playing JV that year. After his soccer season was cut short due to covid and injury his junior year, he successfully made a comeback his senior year. He received varsity letters and recognition for his two years that he played. He was a Principal-Honor Roll student throughout all of high school and has a Bilingual Literacy Seal Certificate. Jacob is pursuing further education after high school while also playing soccer. He was accepted to all 10 colleges he applied to. Jacob will be attending Middlesex College in the fall as a Health and Exercise Science major on a Pre-Physical Therapy track where he will also form part of the MCC Men’s soccer team. He plans on attending Middlesex College for two years and later transferring to Kean or Rutgers University to continue his academic and athletic career. Jacob is thankful for all the experiences and lessons high school taught him and plans to use these valuable qualities in all of his future endeavors.
Mattison Chiera is a four-sport athlete at Colonia High School, an honor roll student and a member of both the National Honor Society and the Spanish Honor Society. Mattison has received Varsity Letters in Soccer, Volleyball, Softball and Basketball. She has been named captain in both Basketball and Volleyball. Most notably, Mattison has been an integral part in helping the Colonia Girls Basketball team win their first-ever White Division Championship as well as making an impact in both the county and state tournaments. Currently, Mattison is the All-Time Leading Scorer for Colonia Girls Basketball with 1514 points. Additionally, she is a member of Heroes and Cool Kids, the Society for Prevention of Teen Suicide, and Colonia Can. She is also the school representative for the NJSIAA Title IX program and is on the GMC SAAC. Mattison plans to play basketball in college but has not yet decided which college she will attend.
Jeff is one of Colonia High School’s Greater Middlesex County Scholar Athletes for the 2022-2023 school year. He is a member of various honor societies: including Rho Kappa (History Honor Society), Mu Alpha Theta (Math Honor Society), Science National Honor Society and National Honor Society. These were accomplished through excellence in academics and community service including tutoring fellow students. He is also a member of Heroes and Cool Kids, a student mentoring program and is an altar server for his church. Athletically, he has been on basketball, varsity baseball and varsity track. Although not yet committed to a college, he has been accepted to both Rutgers University and New Jersey Institute of Technology.
It is a pleasure and honor to nominate Alexa Castro as a GMC Scholar-Athlete recipient. She is a four-year varsity letter winner on the Destroyer basketball team and served as a captain for two years. She made all division team three times and became a 1000 point scorer this past season. She has been an exemplary role model and displayed a tremendous work ethic in and out of the classroom for four years. Alexa also varsity lettered in soccer, football, and softball for two years each. Alexa has done a great job of balancing her academics, and athletics, with extra-curricular activities and community service. She is a member of the National Art Honor Society, Environmental Club, Art Club, and History Club. She has helped with Dunellen Recreation programs (basketball, football) as well as cleaning Columbia Park Saturday mornings after Friday night games. She has volunteered for Stop Hunger Now, an organization that packs food for those in need and volunteering in soup kitchens locally. Alexa’s commitment to excellence is reflected not only in athletics but in her academic success as well. She carries a 4.0 GPA while taking a rigorous schedule that includes numerous Honors and AP courses. She has consistently made the honor roll throughout her 4 years of high school. Alexa plans to attend Pace University and will major in Business Sustainability.
Justin was a leader and a captain for the Destroyer soccer team. Through his leadership and physical ability the soccer team had its best season in its short 4 year history. They won their division for the first time, as well as starting the season with an amazing 16 game winning streak. Along with soccer Justin was a member of the varsity tennis and track teams. Justin’s achievements were not just limited to the playing field he also excelled in the classroom. He took a very challenging course load filled with honors and AP courses. He is currently ranked 5th amongst his peers in the senior class and has a 4.3 GPA. Justin has been very involved in his school and community. He served as his 10th and 11th grade Class President and was a member of the Pep Band. He is a National Honor Society member and has served as a Peer Leader and a Safety Ambassador. He has received two Dunellen Community Service Awards as well as the NJ Math League Award and University of Rochester George Eastman Young Leaders Award. Among the many clubs he participated in were the Biology Club, French Club, Drama Club, Art Club, Chess Club, and History Club. Justin will attend Rutgers University and intends to major in Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Nicole believes she has benefited greatly by her involvement in team sports, which helped hone skills such as leadership, teamwork, time management, nimble decision making – all of which transcended to her academic success. She also feels team sports are important for adolescents to develop additional life skills. Thus, for the past three years, she has volunteered at girls’ sports camps and clinics. Her wish for these adolescents is to achieve their greatest sense of self, build the skills team sports foster and to realize their full potential. Nicole also volunteers her time tutoring a 9th grade student every Sunday. Nicole’s academic achievements include a 4.5 GPA, National Honors Society, High Honors, and the Secondary Principals Outstanding Student Award. Nicole is the GMC Red Division Captain of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC). Additionally, her play and leadership/captainship on the girls varsity soccer, basketball and softball teams led to the following recognition: 2022 Greater Middlesex Conference Girls Soccer Player of the Year, All-Red Division Girls Soccer Team, All Group 4 – 1st Team/Soccer, Second Team All-State Soccer and Second Team Basketball GMC Red Division, and EBHS Female Athlete of the Year for her sophomore and junior years. Nicole is committed to Rutgers University where she intends on pursuing pre-med and playing club sports.
Tobias Neuberger has a 4.06 GPA. He has taken multiple honors and AP classes. He is in two honor societies which include the French Honor Society and the German Honor Society. Tobias took part in an extracurricular German School to take the DSD 2 exam which enabled him to have the option to study at a University in Germany if he chooses to. Tobias plays the piano and the violin outside of school. Tobias was named the Most Improved Athlete for Track and Field. He won the Offensive Player of the Year award as well as the Most Improved Award on the varsity football team. Tobias also won the Bill Denny Scholarship Award for football this past season and he was selected to participate in the Marisa Tufaro Bowl. His community service has been the following: During covid lock down he made and decorated homemade masks for people who needed them. He wrote and decorated letters for people who had been affected by covid in our local hospitals. He also delivered food to a food truck and wrote essays teaching about certain cultures for East Brunswick High School. He has helped with events occurring at East Brunswick High School which included being a senior buddy for another student and he participated in the sophomore orientation as a leader helping all the incoming sophomores.
EAST BRUNSWICK MAGNET SCHOOL
Throughout her high school career, cheerleading has provided Amiah with the opportunity to learn skills in leadership and communication. She was fortunate enough to build strong relationships with not only her teammates, but coaches as well. This allowed Amiah to thrive as an athlete in the competitive world of cheerleading. Amiah has been dancing for 12 years of her life, which is what initially inspired her to begin cheering. She was eager to get involved in her new school and build strong friendships. Being in school full time after the pandemic is when she took action and joined the cheer team. Academically, Amiah holds a 4.2 GPA and achieved honor roll throughout all four years. Senior year has been one of the hardest years she has gone through during her academic career due to the AP classes she is enrolled in. Amiah has found herself going through more times of struggle than ever before. She couldn’t be more thankful for the teachers in her school that have been giving her nothing but words of encouragement and advice, which is what has been the biggest contributing factor in her success. In addition, her teachers, coaches, teammates, friends and family all enlightened her with the feeling of love and support. She couldn’t be more thankful for them and who they’ve all shaped her to be today.
Scott has excelled in academics and athletics at his time at East Brunswick Magnet. He maintains a 4.0 GPA and has been on the High Honor Roll all 4 years. In baseball, Scott has been a 4-year starter, being All Division for 2 years. In basketball, he has been a 3-year starter and made All Division all 3 years. He was a 2023 GMC basketball All Star and is a 3-sport letterman this year, adding Soccer to his schedule. He studies Digital Film and has submitted and starred in many films in the yearly Film Festival. The Autism Awareness Challenge is a huge part of Scott’s life as he has been volunteering for the past 10 years. Scott has been recruited to play baseball at Middlesex College where he will study Physical Education.
Cecilia has been a dedicated member of the Edison soccer program for four years, earning a starting varsity spot her senior year and our Most Improved Player for the 2022 season. As a member of our prestigious STEM program, Cecilia has maintained a 3.914 GPA while taking 11 AP classes and numerous honors classes over the course of her high school career and earned a 1550 on her SATs. Cecilia is a member of the National Honors Society, French National Honors Society, and Math National Honors society, as well as being recognized as an AP Scholar with Distinction by the College Board. Cecilia also serves as an Officer for the Art Club at Edison High School and has been an active Girl Scout member for the last 12 years, earning a Silver Award for her Community Service projects. Even with all of her academic successes, Cecilia is one of the most humble, caring and hardworking young ladies you will ever meet. She approaches every task with a growth mindset and outstanding determination and work ethic. Cecilia plans to continue her education at either Rutgers Honors College or Carnegie Mellon University to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering.
Jayden has been a dedicated varsity soccer player for four years. He served as captain the past two seasons and seized numerous moments in big games to make his athletic statement. Jayden led this year’s team to the division championship and once again was selected to the All Division, All GMC and All State soccer teams, as well as being selected the MVP of the GMC Senior Showcase game. He takes AP courses and has a GPA of 3.6. His commitment to excellence and strong work ethic are exemplified by his athletic accomplishments and academic performance. He has distinguished himself as an athlete, scholar, and student leader during his tenure at EHS. Jayden is a member of the Business National Honor Society and the National Honor Society. No one is more determined and hard working than Jayden. He is the first to arrive at practice and the last to leave. He is the epitome of a team player. He is more likely to be seen helping a teammate than caring about his accomplishments. Jayden will be attending Temple University in the fall on an athletic and academic scholarship, where he will continue playing soccer and studying marketing.
EDISON ACADEMY MAGNET SCHOOL
Varija Mehta is a senior at the Edison Academy Magnet School, where she is pursuing the Electrical and Computer Engineering track. Upon graduation, she will be attending Cornell University to study Computer Science. At the Academy, Varija consistently challenges herself academically by taking some of the hardest courses available. She is also a member of the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society. Furthermore, Varija has been a member of the Edison Academy Soccer team since her freshman year. She was on the Junior Varsity team until her junior year, where she served as Captain of the team and then she competed at the Varsity level her senior year. In addition, she serves as the President of the Class of 2023 as well as the Chief Marketing Officer of Reinvented Magazine, a non-profit organization aiming to provide STEM resources to underprivileged communities. Varija consistently challenges herself academically by taking some of the hardest courses available.
Ishan Porwal is a senior at Edison Academy Magnet School. Academically, he has a passion for learning and has consistently challenged himself with rigorous courses. He has maintained a 4.0 GPA and has received multiple awards including being inducted into the National Honors Society, and National Spanish Honors Society, and being selected as a National Merit Commended Scholar. In addition to his academic achievements, Ishan is an accomplished athlete. He’s played varsity tennis for three years and was voted as team captain for the Academy team in his junior year. Ishan was also selected to the All GMC White Division tennis team. He has played the positions of first and second singles throughout his high school career. Ishan has enjoyed having fun, making memories, and of course, winning with his team. Outside of school, Ishan has given back to his community by volunteering at his local library over the summers and hosting youth events and fundraisers. He has also volunteered at beach sweeps and county park clean-ups. Finally, Ishan currently serves as vice president of the Academy’s Technology Student Association club through which he has hosted schoolwide competitions and promoted real-world applications of science and math. Ishan will be continuing his studies at the University of Michigan where he will be pursuing a degree in robotics engineering.
Tee has excelled in academics and athletics at Highland Park High School. They are a High Honor Roll student with a 4.4 cumulative GPA. Tee is a member of the National Honor Society and was recognized by the College Board in the National African American Recognition Program for having high AP exam scores. They are a 4 year member of cross country, winter track and spring track teams. Tee is also a co-captain of all three teams and holds the indoor school record for the 3200m. Outside of academics and athletics, Tee stays busy in many other activities. They are a member of the Highland Park School Orchestra where they play the cello. Tee has spent the last two summers working with the Middlesex County Conservation Corps working on trail maintenance, invasive species management, trash clean-up and other projects. Tee will continue their education next year at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
Jason has excelled at Highland Park High School in the classroom and in athletics. He has a 3.9 cumulative GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society. He is an excellent student who has been on the Honor Roll most of his high school career. Athletically, Jason is a three-sport athlete who competes in cross country, winter track and spring track. He is a captain of all three teams. He is a 4-time All-Division performer in cross country who helped his team to two division titles and one sectional title in his career. He is also a 2-time All-Division runner in winter track. Whenever he is not studying or participating on Highland Park athletic teams, Jason can be found volunteering in various programs. He is a member of the Key Club and has volunteered for the Highland Park Recreation Track program and the Rutgers Big Chill 5k. Jason will continue his education next year at Rutgers University.
JOHN F. KENEDY
In a world full of talent, Diana sometimes felt like she just couldn’t keep up. However, there’s always something about succeeding in class and in sports that brings her determination. So, Diana worked herself past the top 10 percent of her class. She joined the honors societies for English and Tri-M. She spent her time giving back for her parish and for school events. Even if things felt competitive, she did what she loved. Putting her focus into the varsity swim and track teams helped her improve in ways she hadn’t imagined. It helped her with working alongside others. Being a captain taught Diana leadership, and receiving the “Most Valued Player” award for swimming proved that her dedication was acknowledged. Diana hopes to study at Rutgers University in pursuit of a career in STEM, while maintaining sports and extracurricular activities as well. What makes her personal journey remarkable is not only the particular skills she possesses, but the fact that she enjoyed every moment pursuing those skills. Diana hopes to dedicate parts of her free time to helping students find passion in education and athletics, and to teach them to continue doing what they love.
Being a basketball lover for his entire life, Apurva’s personality somewhat models after his favorite player, Stephen Curry. Specifically, he adores a particular quote he gave speaking on individual success: “Be the best version of yourself in anything you do.” In his life, Apurva is proud to say he has sought this best version of himself in everything he has done. Throughout school, Apurva has maintained a 4.1 unweighted GPA while ranking 5/332 in his class. He is also a member of the National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, and was awarded the AP Scholar with Distinction award for his excellence in AP classes. Athletically, Apurva was Captain of the varsity basketball team and the leading scorer. He has won the All Tournament MVP award in a tournament played in December 2022, the Mustang Award to recognize excellence throughout the season, and he was selected to represent his school in the All-Star Game. In his community, Apurva led various health/education camps, participated in community service walks, and outreach at various public events with Param Care Foundation, accumulating to over 250 hours through 4 years. Moving forward, Apurva plans on attending Rutgers University in the SAS Honors Program at New Brunswick.
JOHN P. STEVENS
Aishika is a National, French, and Social Studies Honor Societies member. She received the AP Scholar Award last year for her scores from her performance on the past AP exams. She also participated in the French Alliance Club and is an artist and photographer for the INK! Literary Magazine after school. Additionally, she has committed to the choir program since 9th grade, being a part of the Concert, Treble, and A Cappella Choirs. Regarding athletics, Aishika is a three-sport captain: cross country, winter track, and spring track. She has been a varsity runner since 9th grade. Over the past four years, she has received the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Runner awards. Last year, she received the All-Greater Middlesex Conference and All-Red Division awards for girls’ cross country. Aishika volunteers at a local animal shelter: Plainfield Area Humane Society. She also volunteers at the YMCA as a part of the Leaders Club, an organization that fosters leadership and community building for teens. Aishika is also the Vice President of the Leaders Club. Aishika has committed to Rutgers Honors College at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences to study Animal Science.
Aditya is an academic achiever at J.P Stevens with a 5.5 weighted GPA and a fully loaded rigorous academic schedule completing over ten AP courses. He has been inducted into six honors societies and scored in the 99th percentile for the SAT and ACT examinations. Throughout high school, he has had an amazing and memorable career in soccer. Aditya has played for the Varsity team all four years and served as captain his senior year. Aditya earned Defensive Player of the Year honors twice and the Captain’s award! Aditya actively serves the community through two non-profit initiatives, accumulating hundreds of volunteer hours and impacting thousands of participants. Aditya holds leadership positions in Odyssey of the Minds, and the J.P Student Council, serving as the school’s President. Outside school, he holds leadership positions in two of his non-profit initiatives. In the fall, Aditya plans to major in Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and one day start his own company in the up-and-coming world of financial technology.
In school, Nelagh sees each class as a hurdle to jump as she accelerates toward the finish line. With eighteen combined Honors and Advanced Placement courses, she earned a 4.5 weighted GPA. Nelagh always applies the phrase, “run your race” to life, school, and track. She was a major contributor on the 2022 and 2023 Winter Track Sectional Championship Team and was part of the 2022 Group I State Championship Team. She ran as part of the first 4×400 DMR in school history qualifying for the 2022 Penn Relays. At the Nike Indoor Nationals, her 4×400 DMR earned third place. She was the Winter 2022 GMC 4×200 Relays Champion, was the Spring 2022 GMC Relays Sprint Medley Champion, and was the Winter 2023 4×400 Relay Sectional Champion. For the 55m Dash, she was the Winter 2023 State I Group Champion, Sectional Runner-Up, and placed fifth in the GMCs. In the 55m Hurdles, she was the Winter 2023 Sectional Champion and Runner-up in the GMCs. She was the Spring 2022 GMC White Division Champion, placed fourth in the GMCs and was the Sectionals Runner-Up. Running her race has paid off – Nelagh will continue with track at NJIT while studying engineering.
When it comes to Max Cohn, maximum efforts always yield maximum results. Max makes his achievements look easy, but do not be deceived – his diligence, tenacity, and personal motivation help him to reach his goals. Academically, Max consistently challenges himself with the most rigorous course-load over the past four years, including an impressive ten Advanced Placement and ten Honors classes. His dedication to his studies has paid off, evident by his weighted grade point average of 4.5. Max is a serious student. He is also a serious athlete. Max has worked tirelessly on both the court and field. He earned varsity letters in both basketball and baseball. As part of the basketball team, he was honored as a member of the Second Team All-Blue Division during both his Junior and Senior Year. Max was Captain during his senior season and received an All-Area Honorable Mention. Max was also a valued, contributing member of the varsity baseball team and demonstrated his leadership abilities as Captain. Max Cohn is a hard worker who puts his heart and soul into everything he does – he will continue to shine in college and beyond!
Neysa Aguilar has excelled all four years of high school earning her the position of Team Captain of the Girls basketball team. She is also a part of the National Honors society. She is a two-year member of this club with a weighted GPA of 4.1. She has been on the honor roll her entire high school career. Neysa was selected as a representative to go to the American Legion Jersey Girls State program at Georgian Court University. On the athletic side, Neysa plays basketball as well as runs track. She played varsity basketball for 4 years, where she excelled as an All- Conference player in each of her last two seasons. She also surpassed the 1,000 career point marker during her senior campaign. Neysa is also busy in the spring as she lettered in varsity track and field 3 times. In addition to athletics, Neysa enjoys helping the community. Some of her service projects include tutoring young ones in math, volunteering at a church, and helping out with school events. She is unsure where she will be attending college but wants to study Physical Therapy.
Keenan Walters is truly both a scholar and an athlete. Academically, Keenan has excelled, earning High Honor Roll every marking period throughout high school, as well as the distinction of being Senior Class Salutatorian for 2023. In addition, he has earned the Student of the Month award multiple times. Keenan was named as a National Merit Scholarship Program Commended Student in recognition of his outstanding PSAT score. Furthermore, as a result of earning the highest possible scores on his AP exams, Keenan was named as a College Board AP Scholar with Honor. Keenan also contributes to the Middlesex High School community by serving as a Technology Department Intern as well as Vice President of the Environmental Club and President of the Middlesex chapter of the National Honor Society. On the athletic field, Keenan demonstrates the same dedication and perseverance that he displays in the classroom. Keenan has run on the Cross-Country team throughout high school, earning a varsity letter for three of his four seasons. He earned the Most Improved award in 2020, and then proceeded to win back-to-back MVP awards in his final two seasons, during which also served as the team captain. Keenan finished his cross country career with the honor of being named a Greater Middlesex Conference Student Athlete of the Season during his senior year in the Fall of 2022, after qualifying for and competing in the Group 1 Championships. In addition, Keenan has participated as a varsity athlete on the Middlesex High School Track and Field team throughout his high school career. In the Fall, Keenan will be attending the Albert Dorman Honors College at the New Jersey Institute of Technology as a Computer Science major.
During Kristin’s time at Monroe Township High School, she has achieved many accomplishments during the past four years. Academically, Kristin is a member of the National Honor Society for the past two years and serves as a volunteer to math tutor. Throughout Kristin’s high school career she has been a mainstay on the honor roll and the Principal’s Academic Honor Roll. Kristin is a member of the Red Cross and Patriot Warrior club where she has volunteered at food drives, haunted high school, and Red Cross night. Athletically, Kristin has earned ten varsity letters across four different sports. She has been recognized many awards including All Conference and All Red Division awards for cross country (senior year), winter track (sophomore, junior, senior year), and lacrosse (junior year). Last year, Kristin was selected lacrosse MVP for the Falcons. Kristin was an integral member of her cross country team winning the 2022 GMC championship. During her junior year of winter track season, Kristin broke two school records (DMR and 4×800) and ran in the Meet of Champions for the 4×800. Next fall, Kristin will be taking her talents to James Madison University where she will be continuing her cross country/track career while majoring in marketing with a minor in sports communications.
In 2021, Jaden was named on the All-Red Division team for boys varsity volleyball and aims to get All-conference this season. In March of 2023, he was part of the Varsity Bowling team that clinched the State Sectional Championship. He was also the captain of the Varsity Soccer team, which was an achievement in itself. Jaden’s leadership and dedication on the field earned him a selection for the New Jersey All-state Team in November of 2022. His success in sports didn’t come as a surprise, as he was already part of the boy’s soccer State Champion team back in 2020 as a sophomore. In 2021, he won the GMC Championship. However, Jaden’s accomplishments didn’t stop at sports. Maintaining a 4.0 GPA throughout high school, he was a proud member of the National Honor Society and the TRI-M Music Honor Society. He was an incredibly talented musician, earning a spot as a Percussionist in NJMEA All-State Symphonic Band in 2022 and the CJMEA Regional Percussion Ensemble in 2021 and 2022. He played the drums for the school’s Jazz Band, showcasing his versatility and love for music. Jaden will continue his academic career in the Honors Program at Rutgers Business School.
As a student-athlete, Ashlie knows it is important to remember that being a student comes first. She has achieved First and Second Honors every quarter since her freshman year. Ashlie’s current average is a 101 and she has won countless awards from the highest average in AP Biology, Chemistry and Calculus. Along with these accomplishments she has been recognized for her hard work ethic by being inducted into the National Honor Society. Her credible academic record has led her to be chosen for many leadership roles. Ashlie was named one of the Captains for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and she was also named Captain of the Mother Seton Cheer Team in her Junior and Senior years. Cheerleading came natural for Ashlie, having done competitive cheer since the age of 6. This experience enabled her to be an outstanding leader to her teammates. Playing volleyball was challenging to her, but like all challenges that she faces in life, Ashlie worked hard, and it paid off. She became a starter her junior year. In her senior year she was recognized by receiving GMC All-White Division honors. Ashlie has also volunteered for many community service opportunities including being a tutor for the National Honor Society, participating in Boundless Charity and Rockin’ with Seniors, as well as teaching volleyball to younger girls. Ashlie will attend the University of Connecticut to pursue a degree in chemistry.
Betty Martinez will be attending Rutgers University majoring in Business while continuing to pursue her molding career. She is a member of the cheer team in the fall, track and field team for the winter and spring, flag football team and team captain in each sport. Betty has taken time to volunteer in her community by passing out gifts to children and working with other volunteer organizations. She is very grateful to have been given so many opportunities and to have many chances to show who she is as a person. She plans to carry this on into her future and continue to spread positivity.
Osmarc Gonzalez plans on attending Rutgers New Brunswick to major in Electrical or Mechanical Engineering, and he wants to pursue a career in robotics. Osmarc is a member of the Blue Division champion cross country team where he earned all division honors as well as the Winter and Spring Track Team. He has competed in distance races as well as Pole Vaulting. Osmarc’s academic achievements include: Scoring a 4 on my AP Language arts exam, taking AP Calculus and AP Physics, taking at least 7 honors classes throughout high school, and earning honor roll awards.
Gabriella Seiden has displayed great skill and commitment in sports and academics. She maintained a 4.53 GPA and received a 1440 on her SAT. Gabriella’s schedule is filled with rigorous Honors and AP courses while participating in girls soccer and bowling. She has been on varsity all four years in bowling and has been on the soccer team for 3 years. She received varsity in soccer her final year. As a payback to her community, Gabriella volunteered over 20 hours at the North Brunswick Township Buddy Ball Program where she played soccer and basketball with children and adults with physical and mental disabilities. In school, Gabriella is the treasurer of the Latin American club and a member of the Prevention Using Student Aid (PUSH) club. She believes it is important to be a role model for the younger generation. Gabriella plans to major in engineering when she continues her studies after high school.
Dylan has shown his determination and drive both on the court and in the classroom. Throughout the past four years, he has been a part of the varsity tennis team and was captain of it during his senior year. He also ran varsity Cross Country for his first two years in high school. He has also maintained a 4.52 GPA. He has held academic rigor in all of his AP and honors classes. In school, he is the treasurer of the Key Club, a member of the Student Government Executive Board, SGO representative for the innovASIAN club, and a member of the National Honor Society. Outside of school, he has had experience with internships and has countless numbers of community service hours with various non-profit organizations. Dylan has also recently been awarded the North Brunswick Young Adult Peer Advocate Award for 2022 due to his outstanding contributions to North Brunswick Township’s upcoming generations. Dylan has yet to decide on his plans for next fall.
Angelie Herrera Bueso
Angelie Herrera attended North Plainfield High School for all four years. During her time here, she has excelled in the classroom and on the field. Angelie has been recognized for being in the top 10 of her graduating class. She has been a high honor roll student since freshman year that maintained a 5.7 GPA. Angie is also a member of several clubs at her school such as the National Honor Society, French Honor Society, Canuck Mentors, Heroes and Cool Kids, Student Council and has volunteered her time at the NPYSA to run softball and soccer clinics for the youth. She was a 4-year varsity starter for the soccer team, played 2 years of varsity softball, 2 years of winter track, and is currently running spring track. Throughout the years, she has been recognized for her accomplishments and has been awarded several certifications such as being 1st team, 2nd team, and honorable mention for Skyland Conference and all division player for the Greater Middlesex Conference in soccer and softball. Angelie plans to attend Rutgers University Honors College in New Brunswick and major in Astronomy and Astrophysics. She is extremely thankful for the countless opportunities presented to her and will always cherish them.
Xa’vier has been a Varsity Football, Basketball, and Track member during his high school career while being named to the Honor Roll at North Plainfield High School. He has been recognized in Football as the defensive iron man, defensive player of the year,1st Team All Division, 2nd team All Area, 3rd team All Group, and was a recipient of the Bill Denny Scholar Athlete award in the Big Central Conference. Xa’vier has won numerous awards in Winter Track and Field such as 1st Place All Division- Shot Put, 2nd Place All Group 3-Shot Put. He has also participated in the Tech Awareness Program and has been named “Student of the Month. Xa’vier plans on pursuing his career in Computer Science and Business at Wilkes University, Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania.
Leena Tran was captain of her volleyball and basketball team, having played on both varsity teams since freshman year. She also excels in the classroom, having taken a total of 11 AP classes, maintaining a 5.345 GPA, and currently ranked 8th of out 772 students in her class. She is President of her school’s National Honor Society, Head of Science of the National STEM Honor Society, and is an active volunteer with Bayshore Emergency Medical Services. On her varsity volleyball team, she was a starter on the court as a freshman. Her junior year, she was named to the All-Conference and All-Division First Teams. And by senior year, Leena was named to the All-State Second Team and All-State Group 4 First Team. Leading her team to the first State Sectional title in school history, Leena was named NJ.com’s GMC Conference Player of the Year. On her basketball team, Leena was a starter since sophomore year, earning accolades of All-Division First and Second Teams, GMC Conference Player of the Week, and received Jersey Sports Zone’s Game Ball Award by gaining 17,960 votes from her community. Leena was nationally recognized as an Academic All-American for her excellence in academics, athletics, and leadership.
In 2022 Vincent Tribianni was named the GMC Boys Soccer Player of the Year. He became the first Old Bridge boys soccer player ever to earn this achievement. Tribianni, a four-year varsity player, was a captain and midfielder for the Knights, who completed his career with 22 goals and 12 assists. As a senior, he recorded 9 goals and 9 assists and helped the Knights repeat as GMC Red Division winners and become the first GMC Champions in program history. Vincent was clutch in the decisive moments of the GMC Championship where he scored 2 crucial penalties. He validated his history-making season by scoring two goals in the GMC Senior All-Star game. Tribianni also scored twice and was named the MVP in the SCANJ All-Star Game. To cap off a remarkable year, Vincent was selected to be a part of the New Jersey All-State First Team. As for academics, Vincent has a 4.822 GPA and is a part of the National, Spanish, History, and English Honors Societies. He is the STEM Club Secretary and is involved in Student Senate and Knights of Silver Bleachers. Outside of school, he has been a member of Just4Kicks for 5 years, which is an organization aimed at teaching special needs children how to play soccer and develop social skills. Vincent intends to pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer science after high school.
Ashley has been a dedicated member of the Perth Amboy High School Girls Soccer program for four years, earning a starting varsity spot her freshman year in which she maintained throughout her whole high school career. During her time in varsity, she has earned a spot in the Greater Middlesex Conference Division All-Star Team in 2019, earned NJGSCA Section Recognition in 2019, and secured a spot in the Greater Middlesex Conference Division All-Star Team in 2020. Ashley has also simultaneously played for FC COPA in which she has gone to out of state show cases and received recognition from college coaches. She is a member of the Health and Sciences academy provided in Perth Amboy High school; being that Ashley has taken AP, Honors, and Dual enrollment courses associated with Rutgers, Ashley has maintained a GPA of 4.425. Since her sophomore year she has been a member of the National Honors Society, Science Honors society, HOSA, and English Honors Society where she has accumulated 110 community service hours. Through her constant drive in both her academics and athletics, she earned her place in Rutgers University where she will pursue an education in Pre-med biochemistry, in which she will use to continue to medical school to become a cardiologist.
For the past year, Ian has been a committed player for the PAHS football team. In his senior year, he was able to establish himself as a major component of the varsity team by playing in all eleven games and starting in three games. In order to secure a spot on the team, in the summer prior to the 2022 season, he got up early to work out, sometimes even going twice a day. Over the length of his high school career, Ian has maintained a 3.621 GPA while enrolling in two AP courses and multiple honors courses. Ian is a member of the Math National Honors Society and a board member of the National Honors Society. Ian also took part in a civic engagement initiative called Emerging Leaders where we painted a mural to raise awareness about mental health. Despite all of his academic achievements, Ian is one of the most modest, kind, and diligent young people you will ever meet. He approaches each activity with a growth attitude, a strong work ethic, and dedication. Ian intends to pursue a degree in Economics and a minor in Psychology at Rutgers University.
PERTH AMBOY MAGNET SCHOOL
Amanda Batista has played on the Perth Amboy Magnet School varsity softball team for four years and basketball team for the past two years. She has achieved either the Honor Roll or High Honor Roll for more than half of her time in high school. Amanda is ranked 12th in her graduating class and is committed to attend Georgian Court University with a softball scholarship in the fall. Amanda is a determined, hard-working and confident student who has demonstrated leadership ability through her athletics and in her career major, culinary arts; she is often seen teaching and helping her peers perform their tasks. Her career major instructor has noted that Amanda has a great personality and work ethic. Outside of school, Amanda does volunteer work with her church. In school, she performs her academic assignments and tasks to the best of her ability and has taken advantage of getting the most out of our college prep curriculum, including being currently enrolled in dual credit precalculus. She maintains high grades while being employed part-time. Amanda is a model student and athlete.
Noah Velazquez, a member of the National Technical Honor Society, has achieved the Honor Roll or High Honor Roll thirteen marking periods since enrolling in high school. Noah is in the top 13% of his graduating class and plans to attend Middlesex College in order to “pursue the creation of my own business.” He is an adaptable, inventive, resourceful, sincere, reliable young adult who has played on the Perth Amboy Magnet School’s baseball team for three years. His Building Trades Career Major instructor has described Noah as being “hard working and genuine”. He has been able to complete his assignments and work tasks with minimal direct teacher supervision and works well both independently and as part of a team. Noah is often seen assisting his classmates in the construction lab, where the students are constructing a two-floor house. He has been able to maintain his high grades while being employed part-time. Noah describes himself as being an outdoors person who enjoys hunting and fishing and caring for the environment. He has participated in local food drives and beach cleanups.
Getting A’s since the start of high school has always been expected from Enobong by her parents—making it a new “normal”. Study. Pass. The way they made it seem easy only made her hope it was. Through the late nights and endless attempts to ensure her grades did not drop below an A, remembering my desired destiny — to secure a place in a competitive program at Rutgers University and advance in my future career — has always been her personal engine. Upon the heap of A’s, her induction into the National Honor Society was a milestone she encountered along the road. The National Honor Society as well as Key Club, a volunteer-oriented club, opened an avenue to more community service opportunities. Volunteering in the Buddy Ball program, she helped kids with special needs in physical activities and socializing. In Key Club, she cleaned streams and stacked cans at food pantries. Being a Teen Advisory Board member at her local library, she set up events and taught community members crafting skills. Balancing school, a job, and volunteer work has never become difficult until track and field became more prominent in her life with practice six days a week and strenuous workouts at times. Running at nationals twice, becoming a state champion and conference-all star member are a few of the rewards from the effort and discipline put in along with having caring coaches. Stepping out of her comfort zone and attempting to be more open and confident, she mentored new athletes along the way.
Hamza Baaziz was elated when he heard the announcement that he had won the Scholar Athlete Award. His hard work in academics and athletics had finally paid off. He had spent months balancing practice for his soccer team, the Young Muslims, and his other clubs such as FBLA and 50 Strong with his studies. He had also worked hard to make sure he was an exemplary leader as the captain of his soccer team. The recognition of his efforts meant the world to him. He realized that all his hard work had been noticed and appreciated by his peers, coaches and family. Everyone was so proud of him and his achievements. Hamza was so grateful for the support he had received from his team and his peers. He was especially thankful for his teachers, family, and coaches, who had pushed him to become the best version of himself. With their guidance, he had become a great leader and a successful student. The Scholar Athlete Award was a defining moment for Hamza, as it reaffirmed his belief that with hard work, dedication, and perseverance, anything was possible. He continued to excel in academics and sports, eventually earning his acceptance to college, where he will continue to inspire others with his passion for excellence.
PISCATAWAY MAGNET SCHOOL
Throughout Emely’s academic career, she has aimed for excellence and has continued to challenge herself and grow. As an academic student, she has been in English honors classes since the fifth grade and has consistently received straight A’s as an average grade in all of her subjects. Emely is also a member of the National Honor Society, which has allowed her to contribute in the community and volunteer at local churches. She also is a member of the student council and the district liaison, which allows her to play an important role in the committee by communicating with students and instructors. In which she evaluate circumstances, solve problems, and develop answers. Emely has also won the Student Council Board Representative Election. As a high achiever, she has a 4.3 GPA and is one of the top five students in her class. She is also a student athlete and has played on an all-boys soccer team as well as a girls softball team. In these teams, she engaged in teamwork and enhanced her talents as well as herself as a person. Overall, her academic, athletic, and community experiences has helped her to grow as a person and, in some ways, make a positive impact on the world as a whole.
John Peter Martinez-Chacon
John Peter Martinez-Chacon is a well-respected member of the Piscataway Magnet School. He is a student with many talents and accomplishments. He has always been headstrong, decisive, and driven about the direction he wants to go. John is a role model for other students; teachers enjoy having him in class, they share that he is a responsible young man who takes pride in his academics. John is very active in many extracurricular activities, a member of the FBLA, DECA and member of the debate team. He volunteers his time with the Interact Club, with fundraising and food drives in giving back to the community. John’s athletic accomplishments include a variety of sports, in the 8th grade he played for a sports club in Metuchen and in his freshman year at Piscataway High School. He played soccer for two years at our school as a goalkeeper and baseball as a utility player for the past four years. John has leveraged his athletic talent and skills to work with USA Sport Group as a coach in training and was promoted as head coach where he directs private sessions for the athletes and collaborates with local sports clubs. John has been accepted to Rutgers University Newark and Middlesex College, where he plans to continue to study Global Logistics and Supply-Chain Management and to follow his passion in playing baseball.
Scott Schmitt graduated from Saint Joseph High School with a 4.7 GPA and a very prestigious Honors Diploma which is awarded to only about 10% of the graduating seniors for completing the most rigorous coursework offered at Saint Joseph High School. Scott is a National Merit Commended Student and an AP Scholar with Distinction. Scott is a member of the National Honor Society and was a Peer Leader for his mentoring group at Saint Joseph High School. Scott is also a four year Varsity Volleyball player and a co-captain of the team and a two year Varsity Basketball player. Scott earned Second Team All-State for Volleyball in 2022 and was selected to the ALL GMC Team as well. Scott was named the best blocker in NJ in 2022 by NJ Power ranking. Scott was also a member of the Under Armour National Championship Team in 2019. Scott’s academic and athletic achievements compliment his community service as well. Scott served as a student tutor at Saint Joseph High School and helped at local food banks. Scott was accepted to MIT, Stevens Institute of Technology, Sacred Heart, Hobart & William Smith where he has been offered positions on their volleyball teams. Additionally, Scott was admitted to Wesleyan, Lafayette, and Rensselaer.
SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS
Mary Kate Murray
Despite only playing three seasons of Softball due to COVID, Mary Kate set numerous STA school single season and career records. During her Sophomore year she set single-season school records with 52 RBIs and 12 Home Runs. As a senior, Mary Kate broke the school career homerun record when she hit her 25th career Home Run in the season’s fifth game. She also broke the STA career RBI record and collected over 100 career hits. Her sophomore year she was named the GMC Player of the Year by NJ.com, and was also selected Second Team All-State. Mary Kate was also named First Team GMC All-Conference, and First Team All Non-Public Team each year during her STA career. Off the field, Mary Kate maintained a 4.35 GPA, and enrolled in STA’s Honors Program. Mary Kate was inducted into the Spanish and Social Studies Honors Societies, and the National Honors Society. During her time at STA she maintained a place on the STA Distinguished Honor Roll, and served as the editor of the school’s yearbook. Mary Kate was recruited by multiple Division 1 softball programs before signing a National Letter of Intent to continue her academic and softball career at the University at Albany.
As a student athlete Landonhas taken honors and AP courses throughout his high school years while maintaining a 4.05 GPA and being named to the Principal’s list and Honor Roll.Landon is a member of the National Honor Society, and the National Spanish Honor Society. Landon has also served as a student ambassador and a peer leader. He has also served as a volunteer at the Community Food Bank of New Jersey to help the hungry. Athletically, Landon ran cross country his senior year to help his team have a 5th runner. Yet his primary focus was being a member of the wrestling team all 4 years. While a member of the wrestling team he was captain for 2 years, All Division, All Conference, a GMC Champion and a GMC Sportsmanship recipient, a District Champion, a Region Finalist, and a two time State qualifier. Most recently he finished 7th at the NHSCA High School National Tournament earning All American status. Following graduation Landon will be attending the United States Coast Guard Academy to continue his academic and wrestling career. After earning his degree Landon plans on serving our country as a commissioned officer of the Coast Guard.
SAYREVILLE WAR MEMORIAL
In high school, Lasya found a community amongst teammates, club members, and friends. As Regional President and State Vice President of an international business club, she found an interest in business which allowed her to later secure a spot at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. She took rigorous coursework and managed to acquire a position in her class’s Top 10, a feat which she spent many years vying for. During her four years, she spent the majority of her time on the track, meeting teammates that have become more than just friends, but a family and her biggest support system through the ever-present struggles of high school. In particular, this community shaped her high school experience as it was running alongside her best friends at practice when she laughed the hardest and made the best memories. As one of her team’s captains, she explored her passion for leadership and commitment to such a strong, passionate team. As she begins this next chapter of her life, she knows that nothing will be able to replace all the everlasting friendships, laughs, and memories that she made in these last four years, both on and off the track.
Aayush always striving for excellence in his courses, he not only earned the rank of #3 in his class, but also discovered his love for medicine, allowing him to earn a spot in the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School accelerated 7-year medical program. As Vice President of Sayreville’s FBLA Chapter, Aayush won State Champion twice and competed nationally five times, allowing him to develop leadership skills and meet students from across the country through trips to Atlanta and Chicago. However, the baseball field was Aayush’s second home throughout high school, teaching him the importance of discipline, commitment, and most importantly, resilience. As captain of the team, Aayush has striven to set a good example for his teammates, developing personal connections and fostering a culture of hard work among his team. Representing baseball in the Heroes and Cool Kids program, Aayush has also mentored 5th-grade students in Sayreville, encouraging them to lead drug-free lifestyles and take advantage of opportunities. As Aayush prepares to trade in his baseball glove for a stethoscope, he is eternally grateful for the life-changing experiences, invaluable connections, and amazing adventure that being a student-athlete has gifted him.
SOMERSET COUNTY VOCATIONAL TECHNICAL SCHOOL
Maeve O’Sullivan, daughter of Ann Marie O’Sullivan, is currently a senior in the Culinary Arts program at Somerset Tech. Dedicated to her academics, Maeve has maintained being on the Honor Roll throughout her four years at Somerset Tech. A member of the National Technical Society and first marking period Stellar Student for the 2021-2022 school year. A four-year Varsity Basketball player, Maeve was the recipient of the GMC Sportsmanship and SCVTHS Most Improved Player awards for 2022. Serving our community, Maeve, is a member of the local 4-H, a vice president of the 4-H club New Center Dairy. She has volunteered at the Balloon Festival, working a few of the stands and participated in Operation Shoe Box, where items are collected, packaged and sent to our deployed service members. In the Fall, Maeve will attend Hudson County Community College and continue her journey is Culinary Arts with a concentration in Baking and Pastry Arts.
Shrey Mehta, son of Chintal and Ashish Mehta, is currently a senior at the Academy for Health and Medical Sciences at Somerset Tech, set to graduate in the Class of 2023. He is a multisport varsity athlete who has participated in Soccer and Basketball for two and three years at Somerset Tech, in addition to three years of Tennis at Franklin High School. Notably, Shrey was acclaimed as the Defensive Player of the Year for Somerset Tech during the 2021-2022 basketball season, showcasing his exceptional skills on the court. Shrey’s academic performance is equally impressive, as he has excelled in his studies, maintaining a high GPA while engaging in honors and college-level courses. Furthermore, Shrey is set to graduate with an Associate’s degree in General Sciences from Raritan Valley Community College. He holds leadership positions in numerous clubs at Somerset Tech, including Future Business Leaders of America and Skills USA, while also being an active member of Somerset Tech’s National Honors Society. Shrey’s plans for the future involve pursuing a dual degree in computer science and business in college. He extends his appreciation to his family, coaches, and teammates for their unwavering support throughout his endeavors.
Evalise Perez is a part of multiple extracurriculars. Evalise is the Captain of three Varsity sports including Field Hockey, Basketball, and Softball. Evalise earned an all-division title for varsity softball her Junior season. On top of all of these sports Evalise maintains a 4.3 GPA. She is a part of The National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, Student Council Vice President, Student Council Executive Board, Student Rep to the Board of Education, The Student Athlete Advisory Committee, and the Wingman Club. Evalise plans to attend The University of Delaware in the fall with a major in Sports medicine.
Gabriel Albarran participates in many extracurriculars and makes time for all of them. Starting with sports he has run cross country all four years and won the division with his team in 2021. Then for the winter track, he ran all four years. Despite injuries canceling his junior season, he made a comeback senior year and currently holds the South Amboy Middle High School record for the 55m hurdles. In the spring, Gabe plays baseball and is a key player for the lineup. During his junior year, Gabe won All Group 1 third team for his performance. Gabe approaches academics with the same enthusiasm; he has a 106.97 on the 100 scale which equates to around a 4.5-4.7. He has proven to be well-rounded by being in numerous clubs as well; he is a part of National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, Student Council President, Executive Board Vice President, and the debate club. Gabe will be matriculating into the NJ STARS Program at MCC this coming fall.
Throughout Siri Keshava’s four years in high school, being a part of the tennis team has been a transformative experience for her. Unlike her previous tennis endeavors which were individual, being part of a team provided her with the opportunity to collaborate and work towards a common goal. Serving as co-captain during her final two years was an especially gratifying experience, as South Brunswick’s team achieved impressive success, placing in the top two in GMCs. In addition to her dedication to athletics, Siri has always placed a strong emphasis on academics. This opened many new doors, such as volunteer opportunities at events such as the homework help center and the chance to shadow a physician. Her diligence and hard work has been recognized by prestigious organizations such as College Board and the National Merit Program. Moving forward, Siri plans to attend Case Western Reserve University, where she will pursue a degree in Neuroscience and then continue on to medical school. Siri is excited to continue to challenge herself academically and gain new experiences that will further her growth. Siri’s high school experiences have given her the skills necessary to excel in this new chapter of her life.
Throughout high school, Adrian was an active member of the track and cross-country teams. He cherished the sensation these sports gave him, allowing him to push himself to his personal best. In addition to sports, he also dedicated his time to volunteering at soup kitchens and became a member of a volunteering club. These experiences taught him the value of assisting others and giving back to the community. He has consistently pushed himself academically throughout his journey because he has always strived to better himself. He has worked hard and diligently at everything he has done. His entrance into the National Honors Society was made possible through his academic endeavors and voluntary work. He received distinction from the National Merit Program and the esteemed AP Scholar with Distinction Award as a result of his determination and dedication. He also enjoys teaching programming outside of school because it allows him to share his knowledge and abilities with aspiring programmers. He looks forward to starting the next chapter of his life by enrolling at the University of Maryland. His accomplishments and experiences throughout high school will help him succeed in his future endeavors and make an impact on the world.
South Plainfield senior, Sara McNelly, is the winner of the 2023 GMC Scholar Athlete Award. Sara has attained a Varsity letter in 2 different sports: basketball and softball. Sara has been awarded 2021 and 2022 All-Conference / All Division honors in both basketball and softball and was also named 3rd team All State Softball Player for the past 2 years. Sara has become one of the best softball players in the GMC as well as this part of the state. During the 2022 season, Sara led the state with 16 home runs and over 30 extra base hits. During this 2023 softball season, she has already reached a career milestone by getting her 100th hit. Sara was named as the NJSIAA 2023 NAGWS recipient for South Plainfield High School. In the classroom, Sara’s accomplishments are just as remarkable. Through all of the hard work and dedication to her academics and athletics, Sara will be continuing her education and softball career at Virginia Tech. Go Hokies!
Jason “JJ” Giordano
JJ Giordano, a South Plainfield senior is the winner of the 2023 GMC Scholar Athlete Award. JJ decided early on in high school that he was going to solely concentrate on wrestling. JJ finished his high school wrestling career with a record of 99 wins and 16 losses. His accolades over the years are some of the finest in this part of New Jersey. JJ finished first place two times in the Morris Knolls Tournament and one year was a second placer. He took 5th place and a 6th place at the Sam Cali Tournament. JJ is a three-time GMC tournament winner. Placed with a 4th and a 1st place in the District 14 tournament, and took first in his Region, as well as taking 5th place in the Super Region (North II). JJ took 7th place at the NJSIAA state tournament, was named Junior of the year, last year by the GMCWCA, and won Courageous Wrestler of the Year by the GMCWCA for the 2022/2023 season. JJ has helped South Plainfield win various Division Titles, Conference Titles, Sectional Titles. JJ’s success in athletics is paralleled by his success in the classroom. JJ’s accomplishments are also evident in his academics as he is ranked in the top of his graduating class. JJ will be continuing his wrestling career at TCNJ. Go Lions!
Bianka Ramirez is a well-rounded, driven, and exemplary scholar-athlete. She is a varsity player for the SRHS Women’s Volleyball Team, as well as a varsity member of the SRHS Robotics Team. With a 5.2 GPA and her status as Class Valedictorian, she successfully splits her time between classes, sports, and work. Over the past two years she has excelled in 17 AP and Honors courses. As a two-year Volleyball Captain and one of six starter players for four consecutive years, she has won awards such as the Athlete of the Season Award presented by the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, and the All Blue Division Member Award. Being a part of the South River Robotics team for 5 consecutive years and counting, she has secured her legacy as Vice President, Mechanical Captain, and a member of the drive team. She was invited to attend the Women in Stem Picatinny Event her freshman year, and was also a Semi-Finalist for the Dean’s List Award, which is presented to student leaders who demonstrate deep commitment and advanced technological expertise within their FRC team. She became a mentor for all her classmates, assisting them with either volleyball practice or the mechanics of robotics. She hopes to continue to inspire others and leave a cherished mark on their lives.
Matthew Marques has lived in South River his entire life and loves the tradition and background that comes with living in that small town. He began playing soccer at seven years old and his love for it has never dimmed. Matthew has prioritized both academics and athletics throughout his career at South River High School. He was a varsity starter for four years in soccer and contributed to two blue division titles and added another division title for varsity baseball. Matt is also a two-time GMC All Blue Division soccer player. Matthew carries a 4.34 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society and was highlighted for his community service. Matthew will be continuing his education and soccer career next fall at Monmouth University where he will be majoring in Business Finance.
Julianna Krefski has not only excelled in the classroom, but also on the field and at the track. She has been a member of the charger’s soccer program for all four years, making varsity for three of them. This past fall season, she was a varsity captain and got selected to play for the GMC girls soccer senior showcase. She has also ran track for Spotswood High School in the winter and spring track seasons, competing at varsity meets since sophomore year. She was also the captain of the winter and spring girls track team. She has been awarded various awards including multiple Student athlete of the month awards since freshman year, as well as honorary coach dedication awards. She was also chosen to represent Spotswood High School at the NJSIAA Title IX 50th Anniversary Luncheon. Academically, she has enrolled in multiple AP and honors courses, contributing to her top 10 class rank, as well as her 4.37 GPA, all while achieving honor roll for every year of high school. As well as that, she is a part of the Spotswood High School’s Honors wind ensemble, community service club, peer to peer connections, and the National Honor society. During the summer and winter seasons she has volunteered for the Spotswood rec department’s soccer camp and the East Brunswick TOP soccer program. This coming fall, Julianna plans to further her education at Towson University, studying Speech Language Pathology and Audiology.
Samuel Nell has served as a captain of the Cross Country, Winter, and Spring track teams. He ran Cross Country, Spring Track or Winter Track every season they were not canceled by Covid and has earned varsity letters in each sport. He has been awarded the Charger Award in Cross Country, the Leadership Award in Winter Track, and was a student-athlete of the month twice. Sam’s academic achievements include receiving the Student of the Month Award for March, participating in the Computer Science Club and serving as the Captain of Spotswood Math League, where he earned high scores on the New Jersey Mathematics League’s competitions. He has a 4.42 GPA and has been on the honor roll every semester. Sam will attend Rutgers University, majoring in Computer Engineering, in the fall.
The Timothy Christian School Female Scholar Athlete for the 2022-23 school year is Hailee Medina. Hailee, has been an example of perseverance and hard work here at TCS. This spring Hailee will graduate with a 4.42 GPA. Hailee, is a member of the National Honors Society and serves as a student ambassador at TCS. Many athletes compete and work hard at what they do, but Hailee has taken this challenge to another level. During her four years of competing in athletics, Hailee competed in volleyball, Basketball and Track & Field. Looking forward to next year, Hailee will continue her education at The Masters University in California.
The Timothy Christian School Male Scholar Athlete for the 2022-23 school year is Joshua Francis. Joshua has been an example of excellence and hard work at TCS. This spring Joshua will graduate with a 3.96 GPA. Joshua, is a member of the National Honors Society and recently attended a mission’s trip to the Dominican Republic with his fellow classmates. In his four years at TCS, Joshua excelled as a 4-year letter winner in Baseball and used his creative abilities as a sports photographer for our winter sports teams. Joshua’s commitment to excellence in the classroom was easily seen on the field of competition as well. Joshua is looking forward to next year, as he will continue his education at Kean University.
Loveleen’s impressive 99.15 GPA is among the highest in her class while earning 8 varsity letters in her four years at Wardlaw-Hartridge. She has been a four-year, varsity starter for the Ram’s soccer team, where she was a team captain in her senior year. Loveleen also competed in Varsity basketball and Track during her four years at W-H. Loveleen was selected as one of only 10 seniors to be a Peer Leader. The Peer Leadership Program facilitates a year-long program where seniors help orient ninth grade students to the Upper School. She is a student leader of the Desi Club (Pronounced “they see”) the Desi Club provides a space for students of South Asian origin to build community and educate others on aspects of their culture. Loveleen will be attending the University Pennsylvania next Fall.
Nick will be attending Stevens Institute of Technology in the fall. Nick plans to major in civil engineering at Stevens after his recent early decision acceptance. The Wardlaw+Hartridge “lifer” (attend PK to 12 grade) discovered his future college home through a wonderful experience at its Civil Engineering and Architecture Summer Program in 2022. Nick was a four-year varsity soccer letter winner. His 98.185 GPA is among the highest in the school. He has been very active in Wardlaw-Hartridge’s social and community service programs. Nick was selected as one of only 10 seniors to be a Peer Leader. The Peer Leadership Program facilitates a year-long program where seniors help orient ninth grade students to the Upper School. Nick’s accomplishments at Wardlaw-Hartridge also include a leading role in the Spring musical, Into The Woods.
Rachelle Estinvil has made a great impact at Woodbridge High School on the Track, but it is in the classroom that Rachelle really stood out. Rachelle is currently #7 in a senior class of 360. She is a both a member and Secretary in the National Honor Society and French Honor Society. Rachelle has carried an incredible class load with over a dozen AP and Honors Classes, and has earned AP with Distinction in all that she attempted. It is no doubt, Rachelle is ready for her next challenge when she attends Harvard in the fall where she will major in Chemistry with a minor in Psychology. In Winter & Spring Track Rachelle is a captain of the team. She has earned multiple All-Division and All-Conference nominations in her career. She was a member of the GMC Champion 400 Meter Relay Team in the spring of 2022 and has qualified in two events for the state group championships. Rachelle has served her community by hosting a Pink-a-thon at WHS that raised $1,000 for breast cancer awareness and volunteered at Agape Church’s Food Drive during Covid for those who struggled financially or those that could not get out to the store.
James Boelhower attacks his studies with the same aggressiveness in which he does his Wrestling opponents. On the mat, James was the Captain of the team as a Senior, while winning 24 matches, taking 3rd place in Districts and qualifying for Regions. James earned All-White Division and was Team MVP. During the season, he placed 4th at the East Brunswick Invitational and 5th at the Elizabeth Tournament. During his career, James registered 56 wins for the Barrons. In the classroom, James has a 3.8 GPA, is ranked in the top 20% of this class and is a member of the National Honor Society. He was a recipient of Woodbridge High School’s Good Citizenship Award, awarded monthly to a male and female student as selected by the faculty. James plans to study Education at The College of New Jersey, with aspirations of walking on the Wrestling Team.
WOODBRIDGE ACADEMY MAGNET SCHOOL
Niyati Patel is a shining example of excellence, demonstrating an unparalleled level of dedication both on and off the softball field. Her achievements span across several disciplines, ranging from her exceptional academic performance to her outstanding contributions as an Emergency Medical Technician. Niyati’s academic achievements are truly impressive, with a GPA of 4.64 and finishing in the top 5% of her class. However, her success extends far beyond the classroom. As an EMT, Niyati has demonstrated admirable dedication to addressing pressing health concerns in her community. Niyati’s passion for medicine is evident in her diverse accomplishments, including conducting nanomedicine and oncology research, publishing her work in a peer-reviewed journal, and achieving national and state recognition in HOSA for her knowledge in sports medicine, nursing, and pharmacology. Niyati excelled in varsity softball for two years, demonstrating outstanding athletic ability, inspiring leadership, and role-model behavior. As Niyati prepares to embark on the next chapter of her academic journey, she is grateful to have received multiple college acceptances. With aspirations to become a physician specializing in Emergency Medicine, Niyati’s commitment to excellence in both academic and athletic endeavors is sure to make a profound impact in the field of medicine and beyond.
Ahdaf Zaman is a Woodbridge Academy honor roll student, Varsity Soccer right-back, and Varsity softball manager. He is the Student Council President, National Honor Society Vice President, and the New Jersey HOSA President for the entire state. When he’s not on the field at Warren Park or at the library studying for an exam, you can find him in the back of an ambulance at his local emergency squad where he serves the community as an EMT. Through his community service experiences, Ahdaf has responded to over 150 emergency 911 calls and accumulated over 1,200 hours of clinical experience volunteering in hospitals and rehabilitation centers. His devotion to healthcare and healthcare administration motivates him to travel to Washington D.C. every year where he organizes congressional meetings at Capitol Hill to increase funding for health career vocational education. In the coming year, Ahdaf will continue his passion for medicine by attending the 8-year Leadership in Medicine Program at Union College/Clarkson University/Albany Medical College where he will be working toward achieving his BS/MBA/MD degrees. His future aspiration is to take his experiences in healthcare to pursue a full-fledged career in medicine.