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Senior Scholars Reflect on Their Success

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Maryam Ahmed '19
11 January 2019


This article is the first in a series highlighting students who were recognized during the Superintendent's Breakfast for achieving a GPA of over 4.25. A few students from each grade level will be highlighted in each article. Look out for pieces on the Junior, Sophomore, and Freshman Classes soon.

Academic achievement is an important factor in the high school experience. Three seniors, who have excelled throughout their four years and established themselves among the top five academically ranked students, shared their reflections on their experiences with the Valley Echo. Catherine Fergesen, Jake Son, and Kadie Cathcart have taken several immense steps to get to where they are right now. Catherine Fergesen'19; property of Catherine Fergesen'19

Catherine, member of the Passaic Valley Varsity Tennis team, has valued her education ever since she was a freshman in high school. Catherine has taken many challenging honors/advanced placement courses, including AP Biology and English II Honors. "Although these two classes were very challenging, I put forth my best work effort," remarked Fergesen. 

Recently, she was accepted into Oxford University, one her dream schools throughout her years of high school. Catherine wishes to major in Linguistics and Psychology at the university. Some teachers that have influenced her decision are Mrs. Elena Shtraks, Mrs. Kathleen Dellanno, Dr. Susanne Iobst, Mr. William Pantale, and Mme. Bresson. 

Jake Son'19 at the Hey Jude Concert in 2018 Jake, a member of the Passaic Valley Track and Field team, has accomplished much throughout his high school years. Jake has taken plenty of challenging courses, but English II Honors was the most challenging for him. "After taking this course, I became a much better writer from it," said Jake. 

He was accepted into Rutgers University-New Brunswick, and has yet to decide what he wants to major in, but is interested in science and engineering. Mr. Salvatore Sileo's Pre-Calculus class has made him realize how beautiful mathematics is on a conceptual level. "My teachers have been very supportive of me and have bestowed in me a genuine passion for learning," remarked Jake. 

Lastly, Kadie, a member of the Passaic Valley Varsity Cheerleading Team, has shown her academic excellence throughout her high school years as well. Leading her to become the eager student that she is today, her most challenging courses throughout her years were Mr. Sileo's Pre-Calculus Honors class and Mrs. Shtrak's Physics I Honors class. "I really had to adjust the way I approached my STEM classes and find new ways to study and understand concepts," Kadie noted. 

Kadie Cathcart'19 at the National Honors Society Meeting with her mom; property of Kadie Cathcart'19 Not only does Kadie value academic performance, she also tries to be involved in extracurricular activities such as being a president of the French Club, Writing Lab tutor, a peer mentor, member of the Physics Club, and Green Chief 2019 of Girls Show. She is also a member of a competitive dance team at Prestige Academy of Dance in Fairfield, NJ, and has been attending since she was seven years old. 

Kadie has been pleasantly surprised with the schools that she has been admitted to so far. However, she is still waiting to hear from many of her top choice schools. "I am very happy to know I will have the option of going to an amazing university!" exclaimed Kadie.

In college, Kadie intends to major in Political Science and Public Policy, since she is very fond of the topics and would be interested in thoroughly exploring them. Though she has been honored to receive the teachings of every teacher she has had here at PV, she has always been indebted to Ms. Mary Garofalo, Mr. Thomas Deeney, Ms. Jamie Peters, Mrs. Dellanno, and Dr. Susan Clinton. "My parents, siblings, extended family, and friends have all been major influences on my high school academic life as well," revealed Kadie. "They have pushed me to not only become a better student, but overall a more informed person."