In keeping with a well-established tradition, Principal Richard J. Baccarella proudly announced the Bayonne High School Class of 2018 Circle of Ten, representing the top ten grade point averages at Bayonne High School. Listed here in order of ranking, these outstanding scholars will be the first to receive their diplomas at the June 25 commencement ceremonies. The graduation starts at 6 p.m.
1. Abigail Isaac is this year’s valedictorian. She will be attending the Honors College at Rutgers University, with a major in Biology. She was accepted to Princeton University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, and Stevens Institute of Technology.
Abigail took honors and advanced placement courses in computer science, biology, chemistry, and calculus. As assistant editor in chief of The Beacon, she wrote a number of articles and helped guide her peers through the journalistic process. In her sophomore year, Abigail was captain of her unit in the “We the People” Constitution Competition. The following year, she was a coach for this same competition. She also participated in the Student Movement Against Cancer, Science League, Math League, Coptic Society, and the Hudson County Science Fair. She took a trip to New York City last year, during which she and a friend performed on the stage of Richard Rodgers Theatre, prior to watching the hit Broadway show, Hamilton. The pair presented an original poem about Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton.
She also participation in the Young Biologists Summer Academy.
In her junior and senior years, Abigail was inducted into the National Honors Society, National English Honors Society, and World Language Honors Society. She was also named a member of the 800 Club and was recognized for her achievements in biology and chemistry. Abigail also received Principal’s Honor Roll and First Honor Roll all four years.
Abigail attributes her success to God. She also thanks her loving parents, Gigi and Michael Isaac, for their limitless support.
2. Talha Iqbal is the class salutatorian. He will be attending Princeton University and is considering majoring in Psychology or International Affairs with a focus on Public Health and Policy. Talha is considering going to medical school. While at Princeton, he hopes to study abroad and learn another language fluently.
Talha took many of AP classes: Computer Science A, English Language and Composition, Calculus BC, Physics 1, US History, Biology, English Literature and Composition, US Government and Politics, Statistics and Economics. He received the AP Scholar with Distinction from the College Board. Talha also received senior awards for Civics and Harmon Mudd, an award given to one economics student each year.
Talha spends time with Boy Scout Troop 27 at Trinity Church and has become an Eagle Scout. As a requirement for this rank, he set up a CPR course for up to 30 BHS students to be certified.
He also participated in Mock Trial and Model United Nations. He wants to continue these activities at Princeton with the support of his teachers, Dr. John Bransfield, Mr. Evan Wexler, and Ms. Stephanie Fleck. Talha is also a member of the Bayonne Muslim community.
Talha would like to thank his teachers, faculty, troop members, the Muslim community, family, and friends.
3. Vincent Lam will be attending Cornell University’s College of Arts and Science with a major in Biological Sciences. He was also accepted to New York University, University of Southern California, and Stevens Institute of Technology. He plans to enroll in an MD-PhD program and hopes to research cancer.
Vincent took a number of honors and advanced placement courses, routinely making the honor roll and becoming recognized as an AP Scholar with Honors. He is a member of the National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, and the NJCL Latin Honor Society.
He was a unit captain for “We the People” Constitutional Competition, a Latin Club parliamentarian and webmaster, and a delegate for the school’s Model United Nations chapter. He was also involved in Science Club, Science League, and Guitar Ensemble. He recently performed as part of NJMEA’s All-State Guitar ensemble.
He served as a CarePoint Health volunteer and attended two sessions of Bayonne High School’s Academy of Fine Arts and Academics’ Young Biologists’ Summer Academy. Vincent was also a part of the New Jersey Governor’s STEM Scholars program.
After cancer touched his family, Vincent cofounded Bayonne High School’s Student Movement Against Cancer chapter. He participated in the Rutgers University Oncology Olympiad, served as a Relay for Life captain, and became part of the Bayonne Relay for Life Committee’s Event Leadership team. Recently, he became a volunteer Legislative Ambassador for the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network. Last summer, Vincent served as a laboratory volunteer at the Rutgers University Cancer Institute of New Jersey.
He attributes his success to the love and support of his grandparents, mother, and uncle.
4. Stephanie Peters will be starting at Rutgers Business School in New Brunswick this fall. A Girl Scouts since Kindergarten, Stephanie earned both her Bronze and Gold Awards. During her senior year of high school, Stephanie collected and distributed Christmas decorations and trees to impoverished families in Bayonne for her Gold Award. These two awards have been her mark on the world so far, and Stephanie plans on using the tools Girl Scouts has taught her to grow her mark in the future.
Stephanie has been on both the Varsity tennis and basketball teams since freshman year. She played 1st singles in tennis her junior and senior years and led her team to become HCIAA Red Division champions this past season. During her senior year she was fortunate enough to be captain of both varsity teams, and her academic achievements have earned her New Jersey’s top athletic award, the NJSIAA Distinguished Scholar Athlete.
Stephanie altar serves at St. John Paul II Parish, volunteers at their CCD program, and participates in their Youth Group. The most life-altering experience for her was traveling to Krakow, Poland in 2016 for World Youth Day. WYD is a world-wide Catholic celebration of young people from every country in the world. Stephanie admits was the best time of her life so far, giving her new inspiration for life. Stephanie and her sister will be traveling to Panama in January of 2019 for another World Youth Day hoping it will inspire them.
5. Jared Chimento will attend The College of New Jersey as a Criminology Major and will double major in International Studies, which will further his dream of working for the FBI; he hopes one day to become FBI director.
Jared consistently earned First Honor Roll and earned Principal’s Honors twice. Jared has taken 12 honors courses and was awarded the AP Scholar Award for his performance AP US Government and Politics, AP US History, and AP Economics.
Jared participated in the Model United Nations Club since junior year. He was instrumental in forming a Model United Nations Class based on the club. He also participated in Mock Trial Team, the Academic Challenge Team, and Polish Cultural Society. He volunteers on the Juvenile Conference Committee for the New Jersey Courts.
Jared was accepted into the National Honor Society, National World Language Honor Society for Spanish, National English Honor Society, and the Rho Kappa Social Studies Honor Society. At his last Model United Nations Competition, Jared won the best delegate award in his committee. He received a scholarship from The College of New Jersey and has won scholarships from The Morris County 200 Club, The New Jersey Italian American Police Society, and the New Jersey Honor Legion. Jared was also one of five students in the nation to win the FBI-LEEDA Scholarship.
Jared credits his success to his loving and supportive parents and family. He’d like to thank all his teachers, including Dr. John Bransfield, Mr. John Rodrigues, and Mr. James Murphy.
6. Nafee Ullah will attend the Honors Program at Rutgers University, majoring in Cell Biology and Neuroscience following a pre-med track, and double majoring in Computer Science to delve into the increasingly technology-reliant field of medicine. Nafee aspires to be a cardiologist and believes Bayonne High School has prepared him to pursue his goals.
Though STEM-oriented, Nafee has also taken courses in the humanities. He has taken several honors and AP courses ranging from AP English Language Composition to AP Computer Science Principles, AP Biology, and AP Calculus BC. His performance in his courses made him a consistent recipient of First Honors and earned him the AP Scholar Award. The classes helped develop a strong work ethic and prepared Nafee for college and beyond.
Nafee was involved in many extracurricular activities. He is the standing vice president of Science Club, a member of the school’s Science League and Math Olympiad team, former captain for the Academic Challenge team, a former member of the BioDome Club, Computer Science Club, a former competitor at the AAPT Physics Bowl, and a member of the Muslim Students Association. Nafee also co-founded the Bayonne High School chapter of the Student Movement Against Cancer, which works with the Bayonne Relay.
Nafee is a brother to Mahima Aktar and Ayan Ullah. He is the son of Dr. Mohammed Ullah and Mrs. Shirin Aktar. Nafee attributes his successes to his supportive family. Nafee would also like to thank his teachers for nurturing his thirst for knowledge and the Bayonne Muslim community for its spiritual guidance. Last, he would like to thank his friends who made his high school experience unique and something he will forever cherish. He would also like to thank all who have been a part of his journey, and urges those who are still in or entering high school to make the most of their four years.
7. Nicole Passariello will be attending Rutgers University in the fall, studying Biochemistry at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and participating in its Honors Program. Nicole hopes to advance her knowledge and experience in the field of scientific research for a career in the pharmaceutical or medical industry.
Nicole was a member of the Bayonne High School Chapter of the National Honor Society, and was inducted into the World Language Honor Society, studying Italian for all four years. Nicole received the Brian Piccolo Memorial Scholarship Award in recognition of her cultural background and academic performance. She participated in the Polish Cultural Society, Science League, and BioDome Club. She was also a member of the varsity softball and track and field teams.
She collected various awards for a science experiment she conducted, including a Silver Medal at the Hudson County Science Fair and the U.S. Surgeon General’s Award. Nicole participated in the Young Biologists Summer Academy, graduating with Honors from the Biology II class, and traveling to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands for scientific research.
Nicole flourished in athletics, holding various Track and Field titles. She earned the spot of HCTCA First Team All-County discus thrower after taking the title of Hudson County Champion for the varsity girl’s discus event. She placed third in the varsity girl’s discus at the NJSIAA State Sectionals, advancing to the State Groups meet. She was also awarded HCTCA Third Team All-County for the shot-put. She was awarded Most Improved Female Athlete by the Bayonne Track and Field Team. Early on in her softball career, Nicole was awarded the James M. Maggio Jr. Varsity Memorial Sportsmanship Award. She was selected as HCIAL All-County Honorable Mention for softball as a sophomore.
Nicole would like to acknowledge the support of her family. Her parents, Joan and Giulio Passariello, pushed her to participate in various extracurricular activities while striving to maintain academic success. Her siblings, Gina, who graduated from BHS in 2016, and Anthony, who attends Marist High School, have achieved similar academic and athletic success, motivating Nicole along the way.
8. Khadija Mughal will attend Rutgers University as a Biology Major, pursuing a career in the pharmaceutical industry. She plans to attend the pre-pharmacy program at Rutgers University. Afterward she hopes to apply to pharmacy school and earn her Doctor of Pharmacy Degree.
Throughout her four years at Bayonne High School, she achieved First Honor Roll and Principal’s Honor Roll. She took AP Physics 1, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Computer Science Principles, and AP Psychology. She has also been part of the National Honor Society, World Language Honor Society and English Honor Society. She is the treasurer for the Rho Kappa National Social Studies Honor Society and has been part of the Student Government for four years as a class representative. Khadija has also won a bronze medal in the Hudson County Science Fair, the National Etymology Exam, and the Classical Literacy Exam. She has participated in the Girls in Technology Symposium in her sophomore and junior years, as well as the Technology Student Association competition.
Khadija is the daughter of Shamim and Humayoun Baig. She has two older brothers, Hammad and Haseeb Mughal. Haseeb graduated from Bayonne High School last year and was also part of the Circle of Ten. He now attends Rutgers University. Her oldest brother Hammad, recently graduated from Rutgers University. Khadija would like to thank her friends, teachers, and especially her family for supporting her and encouraging her to take on the tasks ahead.
9. Jhaelin Shei Mira-Bautista will attend the New Jersey Center of Science, Technology, and Mathematics at Kean University in the fall, majoring in Math Education. Her goal is to impact students and help make learning math a fun experience for everyone.
Jhaelin took nearly every honors course, multiple AP courses, and has consistently been on the First Honor Roll. She was inducted as the secretary of both the National Honor Society and the Rho Kappa Social Studies Honor Society. Jhaelin was also inducted into the National English Honor Society and the World Language Honor Society for Spanish. She has won various awards in areas ranging from photography to essay-writing.
Jhaelin took part in Student Government, Student Ambassadors, Peer Leadership, Honors Choir, Track and Field, and BioDome Club, her favorite clubs because she was a pioneer member and it nurtured her love for animals. It was also one of the gateways for her to travel to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands in the summer of 2017.
Jhaelin volunteers her free time to helping younger students at her alma mater, Woodrow Wilson School, with homework and taking part in activities held by her youth group, Couples for Christ Youth for Family and Life.
Jhaelin is the daughter of Jayhdeeh Bautista and Noemi Mira-Bautista, and sister to Jhaeden and Jhian. Jhaelin would like to thank her parents, siblings, and everyone in her family for supporting her, especially her grandparents, Justo and Dolores, for being her first teachers and showing her how to be a genuine and kind teacher in the classroom and out. Last, Jhaelin would like to thank God because none of her success would be possible without Him. “With God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26
10. Phoebe Durak was accepted into all nine universities that she applied to and will be attending George Washington University in Washington D.C. with a major in Public Health, a minor in Biology, and will be studying on a pre-med track.
Phoebe has taken part in many activities, and hopes to be a part of just as many in college. She has taken a heavy load of honors and AP courses while consistently maintaining First Honors. She has also been part of the Varsity Soccer and Softball teams. Phoebe took part in Bayonne High School’s recently developed Model UN Program, and has attended the National High School Model UN Conference twice. Participating in Model UN prompted her to live and learn in D.C. Phoebe was inducted into the National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, and the World Language Honor Society. She has travelled to England, Ireland, Wales, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Ecuador, and the Galapagos Islands with Bayonne High School, and hopes to study abroad in college. She also enjoys doing community service in her free time. Between balancing academics and activities, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends; having a fun high school experience was just as important to her as being academically successful.
Phoebe would like to thank her parents, Eve and Steve Durak, her sister, Leah Durak, her friends, and her teachers for always pushing her to do her very best. Without their constant support and guidance, she would not have achieved this monumental feat.