Richard J. Baccarella, principal of Bayonne High School, has announced the selection of the prestigious Circle of Ten award winners for the June 2009 graduating class. These outstanding scholars will be the first to receive their diplomas at the annual commencement exercises, to be held on Monday, June 22.
The 2009 Circle of Ten award winners, in order of ranking, are: 1) Anh Hoang; 2) Gerardo Santacruz; 3) Sana Riaz; 4) Qurratulann Khokhar; 5) Kerry Ryan; 6) Clarisse Jose and Kimberly Tolentino (tie); 8) Marina Dimitry; 9) Marcus S. Flores; and 10) Sara Marzouk.
This year’s valedictorian is Anh Hoang (Annie), who will attend Yale University in the fall of 2009, majoring in molecular biology. Upon graduation, Hoang plans to attend medical school and eventually work for a hospital or establish her own private practice as a doctor. In addition to Yale, she was also accepted to Lehigh, Rutgers, TCNJ, and the University of the Sciences of Philadelphia. Hoang was offered a full tuition scholarship to the University of Rochester as a Renaissance Scholar.
Hoang has achieved First Honor Roll and Principal’s Honors throughout her academic career. She is a member of the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society. Hoang has been recognized as an Edward J. Bloustein Distinguished Scholar, a QuestBridge finalist and Student Council representative. A Rotary Student of the Month, she also attended the West Point Character and Leadership Conference and has taken part in the Future Problem Solving Team, which ranked fourth in the state. At Bayonne High School, she participated with the Spirit Committee, Academic Challenge Team, Science League and SPHERE. She is the recipient of the English Award and the Bayonne Public School Administration Award. In addition, she is one of 500 high school students in the U.S. who was awarded the Most Valuable Student Scholarship from the Elks National Foundation.
In the summer of 2007, she was one of two students from Bayonne who was accepted and attended the Waksman Student Scholars Program, where she isolated and analyzed genes from the Artemia Franciscana and compared gene sequences for other eukaryotes to determine the evolutionary relationship and the sequence conservation of specific genes. As a result, some of her findings were published at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). To her credit, Hoang was one of two students from Bayonne High School who were accepted and attended the New Jersey Summer Program in 2008. She experienced an interdisciplinary five-week residential program that offered an in-depth exploration of the history, politics, literature, art and religion of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Only 39 rising seniors were accepted in the state of New Jersey. In addition, she was accepted to the Carnegie Mellon’s Summer Academy for Mathematics and Science (SAMS), Girls Exploration in Mathematics and Science (GEMS) Program at Delaware State University. Hoang was offered scholarships to study abroad with AFS.
Outside the academic sphere, Hoang is highly involved in music as a singer. She is captain of Sweet Harmony Women’s Choir and was in the New Jersey All State Jazz Choir, where she sang a solo. With the All State Jazz Choir, she performed at the Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, NJPAC and the Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights dinner in East Brunswick. Additionally, she participated with the New Image Concert Choir, Honors Choir and Musically Yours Show Choir. In her freshman year, she was a principal dancer and soloist in the spring musical “Carousel.” She was both a Faculty Student Alumni Scholarship and Miriam Giglio Music Scholarship recipient. She is a national anthem soloist and has competed in the Teen Artists Festival in the soloist category. Hoang has traveled with the choir, competing in Canada, Washington, D.C., and Hershey, Pa., winning first place and superior ratings. Furthermore, she has had the distinct honor of performing at Carnegie Hall her junior and senior years with the BHS Choir as part of the National Festival Chorus. She hopes to continue her passion for music while attending college.
Outside of Bayonne High School, Hoang is a UNICEF volunteer, a Liberty Science Center volunteer, and the 2009 team recruitment co-chair and committee member for Relay for Life.
Hoang is the daughter of Yen Hoang and Hein Trinh.
In the fall of 2009, Gerardo Santacruz, this year’s salutatorian, plans to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His intentions are to include double-majoring in economics and mathematics. Upon graduation from college, Santacruz would like to extend his studies in Europe to pursue an MBA and a Ph.D. in the sciences. Ultimately, he would like to work in a government agency as a financial executive either here or abroad, as well as continuing his mathematical research.
Santacruz has maintained First Honors since his freshman year, as well as achieving Principal’s Honors. He is a National Merit Commended Scholar, AP Scholar and National Hispanic Scholar. In addition, he has achieved recognition as a Bloustein Scholar by the State of New Jersey. He is the recipient of the Marietta A. DiCroce History Scholarship and the Isadore Chertoff Award in Mathematics. Finally, he has received the Class of 1958 Scholarship Award.
During his junior year, Santacruz undertook independent mathematical research in abstract algebra. Last summer, he continued his research under the mentorship of an NJIT mathematics professor in the new field of topology, and won awards for his efforts. He has participated in the Hudson County Science Fair and won bronze in both his junior and senior years. Additionally, he was honored in his junior year with the Mu Alpha Theta Award for the most rigorous mathematical research. He participated in the Regional Junior Science and Humanities Symposium and the Young Science Achievers Program. After graduation, his joint work in topology will be published.
Besides academic pursuits, Santacruz has enjoyed a fair share of extracurricular activities. He has been a faithful member of the Christian Fellowship at Bayonne High school for three years. He also served in the Mock Trial Team in 2009, winning the County Championship and advancing to the second round of the North Jersey Regional Championship. He is a member of the national Honor Society, as well as the Video Yearbook team. During his senior year, Santacruz was co-founder of the television/radio program on BEN TV, W-BEE Radio.
In his leisure time, Santacruz enjoys tennis, running, and writing. He also enjoys babysitting, tutoring, and the company of family and friends.
He is the son of Alfonzo and Marleny Santacruz.
In the fall of 2009, Sana Riaz will attend Drew University, where she was awarded a full scholarship/grant. She will major in biology – with a pre-med track – and minor in writing. Upon graduation from college, she will be seeking acceptance to an accredited medical school and plans to pursue a career in medicine. She also hopes to become an acclaimed novelist. In addition to Drew University, she was also accepted to Brandeis University, Boston University, the University of Maryland and Rutgers University.
Riaz has achieved both First Honor Roll and Principal’s Honors during her time at Bayonne High School. In 2005, she was awarded the American Legion Auxiliary’s American Essay Award for the best essay in her division on the subject “My Letter to a Person in the Armed Forces.” Additionally, Riaz was also awarded a full Diversity Scholarship by the American Field Service in 2008, which allowed her to study abroad in Panama this past summer.
Within the Bayonne High School community, Riaz was an active participant in extracurricular activities. She has been a member of the Science League, Science Club, Academic Challenge, SPHERE, MSA, Spanish Club and the “Beacon.” She has also participated in the Honors/AP program. Riaz is also a proud member of the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society.
Outside of high school, Riaz volunteers her time to Bayonne Medical Center, UNICEF, and the American Field Service. In her spare time, she enjoys community service, reading an obsessive amount of both classic and modern literature, writing like there is no tomorrow, traveling, practicing her Spanish with her Panamanian host family, and spending quality time with her family and friends.
She is the daughter of Mohammed and Yasmin Riaz.
Qurratulann Khokhar plans to attend Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., in the fall of 2009 to pursue a career in medicine while majoring in both biochemistry and economics. She hopes to continue in her career choice post college and build a hospital, where she would aid individuals in need. Khokhar has received numerous scholarships and grants to other prestigious colleges and universities, including New York University, Carnegie Mellon University and Boston College.
Throughout high school, Khokhar has assumed a rigorous course of study in all academic fields. A well-rounded student, she has won the Edward J. Bloustein Award, the Eileen and John O’Connell Government Research Award and the Dr. Richard Malanowski Scholarship. Furthermore, Khokhar has been inducted into the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society, Bayonne High School Chapter. During her four-year cycle, she has been a Waksman Scholar, and had information published in the National Center for Biotechnology. Additionally, she has been awarded the American Chemical Society’s Project SEED Scholarship, which enabled her to perform real research at NJIT and thus participate in various science fairs. She was the essay winner in the American Conference on Diversity Competition.
Khokhar has been involved with a myriad of school activities. She participated with the Science League, Math Team, Academic Challenge and Muslim Students Association. Additionally, she was a member of the Spirit Committee, Spanish and French clubs, and the Society of the Preservation for Human Equal Rights and Education (SPHERE).
In her free time, Khokhar enjoys playing the flute, reading and meditating. She also enjoys drawing and painting with oil pastels. She also likes to find time to travel and spend time with friends and family.
Khokhar is the daughter of Talat and Rehana Khokhar. She has one sister, Maria, and two brothers, Waqar and Umair.
Kerry Ryan will be attending The College of New Jersey, located in Ewing, N.J., come September. In recognition of her outstanding academic achievements, she has been awarded a Merit Scholarship and the Honig Scholarship. An Edward J. Bloustein Scholar, Ryan has also received the Principal’s Scholarship.
Of special note, Ryan was also accepted to and received scholarships from Stevens Institute of Technology, the University of Delaware, Seton Hall University, St. Peter’s College, Rutgers University (New Brunswick campus), and the University of Vermont.
With a keen interest in sports, Ryan was a four-year member of the soccer team, three-year member of the basketball team, and two-year member of the softball and track teams. As a member of the girls’ soccer team, Ryan was a four-year NJGSA All-State Selection, a three-year HCIAA First Team All County Selection, and two-time HCIAA Defender of the Year. She is the recipient of the NJSIAA Distinguished Scholar Athlete Award. Additionally, Ryan was a News 12 New Jersey Scholar Athlete and has received the Fireman’s Benevolent Association N.J. Science Award. A member of the National Honor Society, Ryan also participated in the Science League, Future Problem Solving Team, and Waksman Student Scholars Program.
Ryan has been an active Girl Scout for the past 12 years. She also volunteers at the Community Day Nursery and has been a recurrent participant in Relay for Life.
Ryan is the daughter of Michael and Kathleen Ryan. She has one sister, Kaitlyn, and one brother, Sean.
Clarisse Jose, who ranked sixth (tying with Kimberly Tolentino) in the Class of 2009, will be attending Rutgers University in the fall. She plans to major in biology in preparation of a career in dentistry. Jose has also been accepted to Boston University and Stony Brook University.
Jose has received many academic honors during her years at Bayonne High School. She has taken honors and advanced placement classes in English, history, mathematics, as well as chemistry and biology. Jose attained First Honor Roll for all four years. She has been named Student of the Month and has achieved Principal’s Honors. Jose was inducted into both the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society during her junior year.
Besides her academics, Jose also participated in various activities at Bayonne High School. She is a New Jersey Science League participant and was a member of the Science Club. She also participated with the Asian Cultural Society, Spirit Club, Christian Revolution and SPHERE.
Aside from these numerous activities, Jose spent the past summer at the Waksman Institute at Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J., taking part in a research project regarding the genomic analysis of brine shrimp. To her credit, Jose also attended the Decision for Dentistry Program at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
Jose is the daughter of Angelito and Jocelyn Jose. She has one sister, Elise.
Kimberly Tolentino, who ranked sixth (along with Jose) in the Class of 2009, plans to attend Rutgers University this coming September, and will major in nursing. She has also been accepted to and received scholarships to New York University and Hunter College.
Tolentino has been the recipient of Principal’s Honors and First Honor Roll throughout her four year cycle at Bayonne High School. Her rigorous schedule included honors courses in mathematics, science, English, history and Spanish. Of special interest, she was inducted to the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society.
Outside of the classroom, Tolentino was involved in an abundance of activities at Bayonne High School. She played for the girls’ varsity tennis team as an all-county doubles player and earned the 2008-2009 Coviello Division Championship. To her credit, Tolentino successfully published a DNA sequence in the National Center for Bioinformatics for her molecular biology class. In addition, she served as a guidance office hostess, where she assisted the guidance counselors during her free period.
Aside from her studies, Tolentino attended pre-RN classes every Saturday at New York University. She also completed an internship in the surgery department of Beth Israel’s Philipps Ambulatory Care Center.
Tolentino was raised by her single mother with the help of her grandmother. She would like to extend her overwhelming gratitude to her family, guidance counselor, teachers and friends for their constant encouragement.
Tolentino is the daughter of Teresita Tolentino.
Marina Dimitry will be attending New York University in September of 2009 with a substantial scholarship/grant for four years.
Dimitry has been an active member of the Honors/AP Program since the onset of high school. Currently, she is captain of the Academic Challenge Team as well as Mock Trial Team. She is the president of the National Honor Society and has received Principal’s Honors. She has participated in various clubs and activities, too numerous to mention.
Dimitry has attended selective summer programs, such as Presidential Classroom and the New Jersey Scholars Program, where she was chosen as one out of 39 high school scholars throughout New Jersey.
Along with her teachers, Dimitry has the support of her church community. She attends Saint Abanoub and Saint Antony Coptic Orthodox Church, where she has found guidance, especially from her priest, Father George.
Dimitry thanks her friends and family for their support and the extra push needed to achieve her goals and never give up.
Dimitry is the daughter of Samira Wasef and Mounir Ghabras. She has a brother, Mark, who has been her role model throughout life.
Marcus S. Flores will be attending Rutgers University in the fall of 2009. Flores has received numerous grants and scholarships, including the esteemed Bloustein Distinguished Scholar Award. He will be attending the prestigious six year Pharmacy D. Program at the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy. Flores also received acceptance to St. John’s University.
Throughout his four year cycle at Bayonne High School, Flores has been the recipient of First Honor Roll and Principal’s Honors several times. He was inducted into both the National Honor Society and Spanish National Honor Society. Additionally, he was named a National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar.
Outside of academics, Flores was an active member of the Epee Fencing Team, where he served as their co-captain. He attended the American Legion New Jersey Boy’s State Program at the end of his junior year. Flores spent time volunteering at Bayonne Medical Center and the Hudson County Animal League. Despite his self-proclaimed lack of athleticism, he loves to play tennis and hopes to one day participate in tournaments. He believes much of his success is due to the encouragement of his parents.
Flores is the son of David Garcia and Tamara Flores-Garcia. He has one sister, Anastacia.
Sara Marzouk plans to attend Stevens Institute of Technology in the fall of 2009. Based on her academic achievements and SAT scores, she was awarded the Stevens Grant, the Martha Bayard Stevens Scholarship, the Edwin A. Stevens Scholarship and the N.J. Tuition Aid Grant. Sara has decided to major in biomedical engineering and eventually plans to pursue a career in this field. To her credit, Marzouk was also accepted to New York University and Rutgers University.
Marzouk has achieved recognition on the honor roll throughout all four years. She is a member of the National Honor Society. Most recently, she was named “Who’s Who Among High School Scholars.” Marzouk was also selected as a Bayonne High School Student of the Month.
Outside of school, Marzouk participated in a research program called Project Seed at NJIT. Her project, “Engineering of Ultra-Fine Particles for Thin Film Strips,” was presented at the Hudson County Science Fair, the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, and the Young Science Achievers Program. Of special note, Marzouk was a presenter at JSHS, to which only 25 percent of those who applied were selected. She also received a grant award from YSAP for her project.
Throughout all four years, Marzouk participated with the Marching Band playing the flute, Concert Band and Wind Ensemble. Sara was the secretary of the National Honor Society. Over the years, Marzouk was a member of the Science League, Math League, Science Club, SPHERE, Academic Challenge, Future Problem Solving and Muslim Student Association. Aside from being a member of the prestigious “Circle of Ten,” Sara received the Math Award.
Marzouk loves reading and enjoys spending quality time with family and friends.
She is the daughter of Mohamed Gamil and Kerly Alava. She has two brothers, Omar and Samar.