Richard J. Baccarella, principal of Bayonne High School, has announced the selection of the prestigious Circle of Ten award winners for the June 2010 graduating class. These outstanding scholars will be the first to receive their diplomas at the annual commencement exercises, to be held on Monday, June 28, at 6 p.m.
The 2010 Circle of Ten award winners, in order of ranking, are: 1) Kim Tablante; 2) James Duffy; 3) Joseph Taraski; 4) Mary Mercer; 5) Agnes Kalinowski; 6) Anthony Duffy; 7) Rebecca Turner; 8) Sarah Vargas; 9) Alexa Sanniola; 10) Mark Merhom.
Kim Tablante, the valedictorian of the Bayonne High School’s Class of 2010, will be attending American University’s School of International Service this fall and plans to major in international studies. Additionally, she has further aspirations to attain a master’s degree to work as a foreign service officer in Europe. Aside from American University, she was also accepted to Boston University. Tablante received over $110,000 in scholarships and grants from these prestigious institutions. Furthermore, Kim was recognized as an Edward J. Bloustein Distinguished Scholar by the State of New Jersey.
Throughout her four years at Bayonne High School, Kim has attained both Principal’s Honors and First Honor Roll. In addition to her exemplary academic career, she is a member of several extracurricular activities that include S.P.H.E.R.E., Science League, Polish Cultural Society and Junior State of America. Kim is also an active member of the Yearbook Staff and has contributed articles to the B.H.S. publication, “The Beacon.” In preparation for her future studies in international relations, Tablante has studied French throughout all four years of her high school career and was inducted into the French Honor Society during her junior year. In May of 2010, Kim was chosen by the Rotary Club of Bayonne as their Student of the Month.
Aside from her academic studies, Kim volunteers at Dr. Walter F. Robinson School, where she graduated in 2006. She devoted her time to both NJASK test preparation for eighth graders as well as the school’s Academic Challenge Team. She is also an active member of Our Lady of the Assumption Filipino Community, participating in various projects to raise funds for better education in the Philippines through the Bishop Luis Amigo Foundation. Kim also participated in Bayonne’s annual Relay for Life, working as a volunteer. Kim dedicates ample time to her passion for music and has taken piano lessons for more than 14 years, studying under Elsa Melin.
Kim is the daughter of Rene and Zenaida Tablante.
James Duffy is the salutatorian of his graduation class. He plans on attending the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University. Duffy plans on graduating from the six-year program to receive a doctorate of pharmacy.
Throughout his four years at Bayonne High School, James has taken numerous honors courses that include AP calculus, AP biology and honors English and history. James has always made First Honor Roll and has received Principal’s Honors. Duffy is the recipient of the Hudson County Retired Teacher’s Scholarship, the State FMBA Scholarship, and the Doug Riecker Memorial Scholarship.
James has been a prominent member of the music and drama program at Bayonne High School. As a member of New Image Concert Choir, he has competed in Washington D.C., Hershey, and Walt Disney World. You may have seen James in many stage productions, and has worked technically for numerous events. His starring roles include Ghost of Christmas Present in “A Christmas Carol,” Captain Hook in “Peter Pan,” Judge Danforth in Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible,” and most recently Lord Evelyn Oakleigh in “Anything Goes.”
Outside of academics, James volunteers his time in a variety of community activities. For the past seven years, James has coached St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Pee Wee Basketball. Additionally, he has been involved with Bayonne’s Relay for Life for the past three years, serving as co-chair for the survivor portion of the event. James has also performed in a few ballet productions with Ms. Huguette’s Inspire Us Dance Productions, including the “Nutcracker” and “Cinderella.”
James is so honored to be a member of the Circle of Ten and is pleased to share this honor with his twin brother, Anthony. James would like to thank his parents, Maria and Brian, for all their love and support. He would like to thank the B.H.S. faculty for all their guidance. James will miss his family and friends and the great community of Bayonne High School.
Joseph Taraski will attend the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pa., in the fall of 2010. Joseph will major in environmental and civil engineering. Along with his major, Taraski plans to minor in architecture. Joseph wants to take an ecologically-friendly and sustainable approach to development. He one day hopes to study abroad and work around the world, adapting to the needs of today’s global society. Although Joseph’s ultimate goal is a career in education, he intends to become a professor, teaching in his learned fields.
Throughout his time in Bayonne High School, Joseph challenged himself academically with a variety of honors classes. Joseph sampled all that the school had to offer, from vocational courses to the arts. An Edward J. Bloustein Distinguished Scholar, he was also inducted into the National Honor Society.
Taraski enjoyed his time participating in various school activities, including the Polish Cultural Society and Italian Club. He also served as copy editor and reporter on “The Beacon,” Bayonne High School’s newspaper.
Besides academics and activities, Joseph’s hobbies include reading, writing, and experimenting with different artistic media.
Joseph is the son of Barbara and Joseph Taraski. He has one sister, Cheryl.
Mary Mercer plans to attend the University of Chicago in Illinois in the fall of 2010. She intends on pursuing a major in comparative literature and minors in both French and creative writing. Subsequently, Mercer will continue to fine-tune her passion for studio art. While it is her ultimate goal on becoming an aspiring author in the field of literature, Mercer plans on first joining the Peace Corps. She hopes to inspire and help foster her love of knowledge to children of less fortunate backgrounds. Aside from The University of Chicago, Mary has received scholarships and grants from New York University, Fordham University and the Honors College of the University of Vermont.
During her time at Bayonne High School, Mary fulfilled her passion for learning by taking a wealth of challenging classes, ranging from science to the arts. She has been acknowledged as an Edward J. Bloustein Distinguished Scholar and a National Merit Commended Scholar. Furthermore, Mercer was a Quest Bridge National College Match Finalist, which was a national conference at Yale University. Mary has also been inducted into the National Honor Society and the National Society of High School Scholars. For her continued study of visual art, Mary was selected as one of the recipients of the 2010 Faculty, Student, Alumni Scholarship sponsored by the Art Department.
Mary enjoyed participating in a variety of school activities that include the Science League, Environmental Club and Student Council. Additionally, she was involved with Peer Leadership and Department Editor, and was a reporter with “The Beacon,” the school newspaper of BHS.
In her leisure time, Mary’s hobbies include reading and playing the violin.
Mary is the daughter of Kerry and Eva Mercer. She has one sister, Meaghan.
Agnes Kalinowski will be attending The College of New Jersey, located in Ewing, N.J., in the fall of 2010. She has been awarded the TCNJ Merit Scholarship for her academic achievements and success.
At Bayonne High School, Agnes has been a prominent member of the choir and music department. She is captain and four-year member of Sweet Harmony. She also lent her talent to the Musically Yours Show Choir, Honors Choir and New Image Concert Choir. Additionally, Agnes has been the Girl’s Glee Club accompanist for four years. Agnes has received the Outstanding Accompanist Award at Washington D.C. in 2007, as well as the Outstanding Accompanist Specialty Award at the Disney Festival 2010 in Orlando, Fla. Kalinowski also performed with the Bayonne High School Choir at Carnegie Hall in 2008 and 2009. Agnes became a part of the New Jersey All-State Honors Jazz Choir, where she performed at NJPAC, Trump Plaza and Hilton Hotel. Additionally, she won the Hudson County “Shouts Down Drugs 2009 Contest” for the original song “Who’s Linda?” and was a New Jersey finalist performing in the Victoria Theatre. Agnes won the NJCU 2009 Teen Arts Festival for the category – Piano Solo. She has performed for many prestigious institutions that include the Polish Consulate, Kosciuszko Foundation in NYC and Children’s Smile Foundation. She was awarded the Pianist of Year and Memorial Music Award. An avid vocalist, Agnes has passed the third grade of vocal performance exam with distinction, conducted by the Associated Boards of the Royal Schools of Music.
While at Bayonne High School, Agnes has been awarded National Honor Roll and Principal’s Honors. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Italian Honor Society, and “Who’s Who Among American High School Students.”
Agnes is vice president of the Polish Cultural Society and held the position of recording secretary. She was treasurer of the Student Council, vice president of the Italian Club, and member of the Fencing Club. Agnes is also a member of the Drama Society, and has performed in 10 dramas to include “Beauty and the Beast” as Babette, and “A Christmas Carol.” This past year, Agnes was admitted into the first Bayonne High School Art’s Academy for vocals, piano and dance. She is now the head musician and composer in the collaborative creation of the original musical “Crossing Bridges.”
An active member of the community, Agnes volunteers her time and is the head vocalist and accompanist of the Polish Supplement School and Mt. Carmel Parish Youth Group. In addition, she was voted Miss Polonia of 2008 and Mistress of Ceremonies for the Third of May Polish Constitution Day 2009 and 2010. In her spare time, Agnes has taken ballroom dance lessons.
Agnes is the daughter of Dariusz and Teresa Kalinowski. She has one sister, Olivia and one brother, Hubert.
Anthony Duffy, ranked sixth in the Class of 2010, will be attending New York University’s Steinhardt School for Culture, Education and Human Development. Duffy will major in media, culture and communication. He also plans to minor in performance studies at the Tisch School for the Arts.
Anthony has made the most of his experience at Bayonne High School. To his credit, Duffy has had honors courses in his schedule every year and has always made Honor Roll and received Principal’s Honors. He is secretary of the National Honor Society. Anthony truly balances his scholastic achievements with his artistic endeavors. Since freshman year, he has been part of the music, art and theater programs. Involved in the choral program for his four-year cycle, Anthony is captain and choreographer of the Musically Yours Show Choir, captain of New Image Concert Choir and a member of the Bee Sharps Male Chorus. Duffy has flourished in the art department, as well. His photography and computer graphics have been entered in a multitude of competitions, most notably in the Congressional Art Competition for High School Students at the Newark Museum. Anthony’s proudest accomplishments have been with the Drama Society. He performed in productions from freshman to junior year. Anthony received a Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star nomination for Student Achievement for his work with “Beauty and the Beast.” Duffy, along with the Drama Society staff, also received a nomination in the Montclair State University Theater Night Awards for properties design for “Steel Magnolias.”
In the community, Anthony uses his artistic creativity at his job at Ms. Huguette’s Dance and Theatrical Studio, assisting in musical class theater. Furthermore, Anthony has volunteered at Relay for Life for the past three years and is now a Survivor Committee Chair.
Anthony is proud to say that his twin brother James is a salutatorian of the Class of 2010. He would like to thank his brother, parents Maria and Brain, and family for all of their support. Also, Anthony would like to thank the BHS faculty, especially the theater, art and music staffs for helping him discover who he is as a student, artist and person.
Rebecca Turner, ranked number seven in the 2010 graduating class of Bayonne High School, is excited to be attending The College of New Jersey in the fall. She plans to major in math, science and technology through elementary education, along with a minor in graphic design. Additionally, Rebecca was accepted to Rutgers University, Rider University, Monmouth University and Montclair University.
While attending Bayonne High School, Rebecca has earned numerous awards and honors. Turner feels that the honors mathematics program has encouraged her to continue her studies of math beyond high school. She has received First Honor Roll for not only high school, but throughout Washington Elementary School, where she graduated as salutatorian. A member of the National Honor Society, she has gained Principal’s Honors and was a member of the French Honor Society for the past two years.
Yearbook Club, Drama Club, “The Beacon,” and the Executive Committee of Ambassadors are some of the activities to which Rebecca has lent her talent. She won the Holocaust essay contest for the Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony in 2009, along with third place in this past year’s Fire Prevention Poster contest through her graphic design work.
A passionate hobby of Rebecca’s is graphic design. She took a digital photography class at The College of New Jersey in the summer of 2009. She also won an award at the Newark Museum, where her artwork was presented. To her credit, she received the Faculty, Student, Alumni Scholarship in graphic design at this year’s annual District Art Show.
Rebecca is the daughter of Gary and Francie Turner. She has one brother, Brian, who was a member of the B.H.S. Circle of Ten in 2005. Rebecca would like to give recognition and thanks to her grandparents. She feels as though she would not be where she is today without them.
Sarah Vargas will be attending Saint Peter’s College to study Computer Science come September 2010. Based on her outstanding academic achievements and SAT scores, she received the Dean’s Academic Scholarship and numerous grants from the college. She was also accepted to and received scholarships from Rutgers University, Seton Hall, and the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Sarah is a member of the Bayonne High School Chapter of the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society. To her credit, Vargas was also named a National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar. Throughout the past four years, Sarah has been on the Honor Roll and has been a part of the math honors program.
A violin player since the fifth grade, Sarah is a member of the Bayonne High School’s string orchestra. Vargas was also a participant in the Hudson Teen Arts Festival. During her sophomore year, her honor’s history class was awarded second place at the New Jersey “We the People” competition. The citizen and the constitution competition are held in Trenton, N.J.
Not confined to academics, Sarah also enjoys swimming and reading.
Sarah is the daughter of Karen and Heriberto Vargas. She has one sister, Diana.
Alexa Sanniola will be attending Rutgers University in the fall of 2010. She has received numerous scholarships to include the Bloustein Distinguished Scholar Award and Rutger’s Scarlet Scholarship. Alexa will be attending the Mason Gross School of the Arts, majoring in dance based on a talent scholarship. To her credit, Sanniola was also accepted into Arizona State University’s dance program with a partial scholarship.
While at Bayonne High School, Alexa has been recognized as a National Hispanic Merit Scholar. A member of the National Honor Society, she was also their president. Alexa served on the Senior Class Council as well as the Spanish National Honor Society. Additionally, she participated in the Dance Team, S.P.H.E.R.E., STUCO and the Drama Club.
Alexa has been dancing since the age of three. She has had starring roles in the “Nutcracker Ballet,” “Cinderella,” and “Coppelia.” She has won various awards, including a summer scholarship for the “So You Think You Can Dance” workshop, “The Pulse,” and most recently, was awarded Platinum and Outstanding Interpretation for her contemporary solo “Hallelujah” at the New York City Dance Alliance. During her freshman year, Alexa placed first at the Hudson County Teen Arts Competition for her lyrical solo “The Waves,” and second place in her junior year for self-choreographed contemporary solo “Damaged.”
Sanniola also enjoys art and placed sixth in the digital arts and third overall at this year’s Fire Poster Competition. Of special interest, her computer graphics piece “United We Stand” was featured in the Newark Museum.
Aside from these accolades, Alexa organized a fundraiser in her junior year for Dancers Responding to AIDS and raised over two thousand dollars.
Alexa is the daughter of Marc and Nilda Sanniola. She has one sister, Melanie.
Mark Merhom plans to attend Rutgers University in New Brunswick come September 2010. Based on his academic achievements, Mark has been awarded over $58,000 in grants and scholarships. Most recently, Mark was selected along with two other students from New Jersey to receive the prestigious New Jersey Association of Federal Administrators Scholarship. Merhom plans to major in either engineering or business to pursue a career in one of those fields.
Mark has received Honor Roll recognition throughout all four years at Bayonne High School. He was a member of the National Honor Society in his junior and senior years. In addition, Merhom was selected by “Who’s Who Among American High School Students” for his four year cycle.
Mark has participated in a variety of activities and programs at Bayonne High School. He was a homeroom representative for the Student Council and a member of the Future Business Leaders of America. Furthermore, he belonged to the Wrestling Team, Chess Club and Latin Club.
Outside of school, Mark was involved in several educational programs. Of special note, Mark was selected to represent Bayonne High School in the American Legion New Jersey Boys State Program. This program enlightens young men about the American system of government, and allowed Mark and his constituents to learn about becoming prominent citizens and to stay involved in their communities.
Aside from his rigorous academic schedule, Mark has managed to maintain a part-time job at Dunkin Donuts for the past three years.
Mark is the son of William and Ebtsam Merhom. He has one sister, Fayrouz, and one brother, Sameh.