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Class of 2021's Academic Top Ten Reflect on Their Time at Passaic Valley


Chelsea Nakhleh' 21

31 March 2021

With the end of the school year fast approaching, many seniors, including the Academic Top Ten, are excitedly preparing for the next chapter of their lives. As they prepare, the Academic Top Ten has also been reflecting on their time as Passaic Valley Hornets and are offering their fellow students advice on how to be academically successful while also involved in extracurricular activities.  

Valedictorian Elizabeth DubovValedictorian - Elizabeth Dubov:

Elizabeth Dubov plans to pursue a career as a quantitative financial analyst working internationally. Though she is unsure where she will attend school next year, so far she has been accepted into Stevens Institute of Technology, Georgetown University, and Boston University’s Kilachand Honors College. An involved member of the Passaic Valley community, Dubov has been a part of the following activities during her time at Passaic Valley: Volleyball, Track, Cross Country, Officer of the Academic Team, President of the Interact Club, Officer of Junior State of America, Italian Club, Peer Mentoring, Writing Lab Tutor, Math Tutor, Science League, and Math League. Dubov urges future and current Passaic Valley students to stay organized and not be afraid to reach out for help when needed. “It’s important to manage your time well and stay productive, especially with sports, activities and jobs. If you have a deadline coming up, plan to do the work a couple of days in advance so you don’t have to do it the night before,” said Dubov. “Also, getting extra help will actually help! I took advantage of all the extra help I could get in order to prepare for a test or just to get clarification on a concept.” 


Salutatorian Raima IslamSalutatorian - Raima Islam:

Raima Islam has hopes of becoming a college professor. Islam has been involved in a myriad of activities throughout her time at Passaic Valley such as the Academic Team, Future Medical Professionals, Spanish Club, Junior State of America, Peer Mentoring, Writing Lab tutoring, and Math League. Islam appreciates all that the Passaic Valley staff has done to help her succeed. “I don’t think I’ll ever forget about the impact some of the teachers and faculty have had on me,” said Islam. “They’ve been by my side throughout this whole journey, and I can never forget all that they’ve done for me.” 


Betul KocThird - Betul Koc:

Betul Koc will be attending the prestigious Dartmouth College this fall. After completing her undergraduate degree, Koc hopes to attend medical school and become a neurologist or a pediatrician. Koc has participated in the following activities throughout her time at PV: Vice President of Future Medical Professionals, President of Student Senate, Treasurer of the Italian Club, Academic Team, and one of Girls’ Show Poster Heads. Koc is grateful for the Passaic Valley community, which has had a huge impact on her. “One of the things I cherish most about PV is how we all appreciate the people who surround us and celebrate our unique, diverse backgrounds every day,” explained Koc. 


Daniel KaniaFourth - Daniel Kania:

Daniel Kania has yet to decide where he will attend in the fall, but he plans on majoring in mechanical engineering. Kania has been a part of Volleyball, Marching Band, Physics Club, Science League, Math League, and Peer Mentoring throughout his time at PV. Kania believes that in order to balance academics and activities, it is important to have structure and priorities. Kania appreciates the environment PV has created and the support the entire community has for each other. “PV Pride is perseverance, students from PV supporting each other and helping each other accomplish their goals," explained Kania.


Jasmin NuestroFifth - Jasmin Nuestro:

Jasmin Nuestro is excited to become a student of Ramapo College in the fall. She plans on studying nursing, but is unsure of which field she would like to specialize. Nuestro was ecstatic to receive a full scholarship to Ramapo College, and credits her academic success to her persistence throughout her courses. “Put in effort in everything that you do but also realize that grades aren’t everything and they do not define you as a person,” said Nuestro. “Don’t let one bad grade on a test or quiz discourage you from continuing to try in school.” Nuestro has participated in the following activities throughout her time at Passaic Valley: Future Medical Professionals Club, Girls’ Show Posters, French Club, Peer Mentoring, and Student Senate.


Natalie RofailSixth - Natalie Rofail: 

Class Treasurer Natalie Rofail plans on becoming a pediatric emergency doctor or a biomedical engineer. As a Hornet, Rofail has participated in Field Hockey, Lacrosse, Peer Mentoring, Future Health Professionals, Academic Team, Italian Club, and Science League. Rofail recommends students have an academic mind set, but also to make sure to enjoy your time at school. “Make sure to live high school to the fullest,” said Rofail. “Be aware of your grades and academics, but also go out and have some fun with friends.” Though she is not sure what school she will be attending next year, Rofail has been accepted into Boston University, Lehigh University, and Stevens Institute of Technology,


Crystal SandavolSeventh - Crystal Sandavol:

Crystal Sandavol plans on becoming an orthopedic surgeon after college. Sandoval has always emphasized the importance of both mental and physical health, “While grades and academics certainly are important, prioritizing your health and happiness will make you so much more satisfied at the end of the day,” she explained. Sandavol has been involved in the following activities throughout her time as a Hornet: Track and Field, Girls’ Show, Academic Team, Italian Club, Physics Club, Future Medical Professionals, Peer Mentoring, Writing Lab tutor, Science League, National Honor Society, and Passaic Valley Honor Society. Sandavol has been accepted into the University of Connecticut, the University of Scranton, the University of the Sciences, Stony Brook University, University of Delaware, Rutgers-New Brunswick and Seton Hall University.


Daniel DransfieldEighth - Daniel Dransfield:

Daniel Dransfield hopes to study chemical engineering in college. Dransfield stated his biggest accomplishment is achieving the rank of Eagle in Boy Scouts. “It was a goal of mine from the very beginning, and it took a lot of effort to reach that goal,” stated Dransfield. He appreciates all Passaic Valley has done to make his high school years enjoyable and fulfilling. Throughout his time at Passaic Valley, Dransfield has been involved in Fencing, Marching Band, Boy Scouts, Culinary Club, Italian Club, Concert Band, Jazz Band, Student Senate, Varsity Club, Peer Mentoring, and the Theater and Drama Club. Dransfield says he will always remember the high energy of school events and the friendships he has made over the years. 


Colby SellittoNinth - Colby Sellitto:

Though he has yet to decide where he will attend in the fall, Colby Sellitto plans on graduating with a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering and hopes to attend medical school and become an orthopedic surgeon. Sellitto has participated in the following sports and activities throughout his time as a Hornet: Varsity Cross Country, Captain of Varsity Wrestling, Track & Field, Lacrosse, Future Medical Professionals, Athletic Leadership Council, Science League, National Honor Society, PV Honor Society, Peer Mentoring, Student Senate, NJSIAA Student Ambassador and NJSIAA Student Advisory Council. Sellitto is appreciative of the influence Passaic Valley teachers and staff have had on him. “So many teachers and staff members have been a great influence in my life. Their guidance helped lead me to becoming the student I am today,” explained Sellitto. “Mrs. Picarelli and Mr. Benvenuti have both been such a great support system during my years at PV. I can’t thank them enough for their constant encouragement and belief in me.”


Brianna DeLucciaTenth - Brianna DeLuccia:

Brianna DeLuccia has participated in numerous activities throughout her four years at Passaic Valley, this includes Varsity Softball Captain, Varsity Volleyball Captain, Varsity Soccer, Peer Mentoring, Girls State Delegate, Vice President of Interact Club, Academic Team, Girls Show, Italian Club, Summit Leadership Team, and Athletic Leadership Council. She is unsure where she will be attending college in the fall, but she plans on majoring in engineering. She states her biggest accomplishment as having been accepted into the the United States Naval Academy STEM Camp her freshman year. She was chosen as 1 of only 250 rising sophomores across the country. DeLuccia is appreciative of the staff and all her fellow classmates for helping make her time at PV an enjoyable one. “PV pride means three towns, one heart,” stated DeLuccia. “It means coming together as Hornets to achieve great things.” DeLuccia is particularly grateful for Mr. William Pantale and the support he has provided her throughout her years as a Hornet.


The Passaic Valley Echo congratulates the Class of 2021’s Academic Top Ten on their hard work and is excited to see what they will accomplish in the future.