WARREN, NJ - The video of the Watchung Hills Regional High School (WHRHS) Senior Outstanding Achievement Awards Ceremony was premiered on Thursday, June 11. WHRHS Principal William Librera welcomed all guests. WHRHS Faculty members joined him in introducing the awards and student recipients.

Opening the Senior Awards ceremony were remarks by two Class of 2020 graduates, Senior Class President Deepa Irakam, and her twin sister, President of the All-School Council (ASC)Roopa Irakam. To view the video of this ceremony, go to www.whpac.live.

Student Speaker Remarks

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Rather than give two talks, the speakers gave one, taking turns delivering several paragraphs at a time.

Deepa Irakam started, noting that after graduation from WHRHS, life for her and her fellow graduates will soon become different, “It will be difficult for anyone to tell us who to be, where to go, or what to do.”

She added: “We get to decide if we want to make something happen, whether it be in the work place or as a volunteer. Instead of looking for the easiest way to get that perfect grade, we must be able to face challenges and accept the result of our efforts.”

Roopa Irakam then broadened the discussion, saying that each senior award presented at the awards ceremony means more than merely a label or certificate.

“It represents our determination to learn more. It conveys our commitment to our community and it shows us that if we put our minds to something, we can achieve it,” she said. “Whether it is helping someone in our high school with directions in our hallways, or leading teams, or at libraries, animal shelters, or hospitals, we have always been role models, someone to be looked up to.”

Deepa said she has seen the power of the Class of 2020 to initiate change. “…especially now, more than ever. It is important to use our voices, our achievements, and ourplatforms to fight for justice, and be forces for change. We are the class that will be remembered for standing up for change,and making a difference in this moment of history and beyond.”

Roopa echoed her sister’s sentiments: “We will be remembered as the ones who used our voices to ask questions, to help others, and make the world a better place. We remember people like Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr., who used their dreams to make a difference. And, we remember people like Malala, who reminds us every day just how important it is to embrace every day.”

Senior Awards

The Senior Awards Recipients are as follows:


Excellence in English Katie Tan; Excellence in Creative Writing Tamara Hadzic; Excellence in Journalism Sana Mamtaney; Excellence in Expository Writing Niharika Iyer.


Clifford A. Warren Excellence in Mathematics Mayur Sharma; Calculus Calvin Khiddee-Wu; Statistics Tina Chen; Computer Science Jagdeep Bhatia.


Excellence in Biology Mayur Sharma; Chemistry Laura Baeyens; Enviromental Science Ariadna Sosa; Physics Emma Kotar.


Stephen Bartlett Excellence in Social Studies/History RoopaIrakam; DAR Excellence in History Award Portia Rowley; DAR Good Citizens Award Eliana Sussner; Raoul Wallenberg Humanitarian Service Award  Amanda Aschoff and Tamara Hadzic; Republican Committee Award, Warren Township JakobMalin and Tyler Lipton.


Excellence in Chinese Zachary Rieger; French Sana Mamtaney; Italian Kimberly Briceno; Spanish Tamara Hadzic.


Excellence in Accounting and Business Matthew McCracken.


Excellence in Child Development Francesca Ellis; Culinary Arts Elijah Davis.​


Nancy O’Reilly Excellence in Art​Marianna Renda; Ceramics Julianna Miller; Directing Portia Rowley; Acting Jack Melillo; Photography Mahia Rusul; Video Production​Lilli Iannella; Band Director Award Katie Tan; Choral Award Christine Tanko; John Philip Sousa Award Miah Manning.


NJSIAA Scholar-Athlete Maya Zhang; Skyland Conference Scholar-Athletes Joseph DeNave and Vivian Zhang; Somerset County Scholar-Athletes Victor Osoliniec and Laura Baeyens; Excellence in Athletics and Leadership​Mahogany Jenkinsand Jack Taub.


Marching Band Award Hannah Marszalek.

Excellence in U.S. F.I.R.S.T. Robotics Kyle Schlingloff and Nicole Harris.

Dr. Thomas F. DiGanci ASC (All School Council) Award RoopaIrakam; ASC Awards ASC President: Roopa Irakam; Vice President: Scott Romankow; Secretary: Cayla Park; General Board Member: Katerina Calvo.

Senior GLC Awards Deepa Irakam – President; Michael Wong - Vice President; Phillip Ding – Secretary; Jayden Baltuch –Treasurer; Dave Ki – Parliamentarian; GLC Advisory Award Anthony Lee.

Interact Community Service Club Awards Ava Melillo, Carly Gaebele, Julianna Miller, Samantha Moran, Sarah Flynn, Haley Burton; Mary Elias, Jessica Sindel, Jack White, May Lee, Jacqueline Mills, Jacqueline Pontes, and Monica Rodriguez Escobar.


Coccia Foundation Andrew Burt, Alexandria Minetti, Chloe Rebelo, Teresa Rotolo, Christine Tanko.

WHRHS Education Association Scholarship Alyssa Krutis and Kelly Saum.

National Merit Finalists Phillip Ding, Dave Ki, Jessica Young, and Vivian Zhang; National Merit Scholarship Recipient Dave Ki and Jessica Young.

Elmer Bieler Award Mary Theoclitus and Michael Harrison

NEXT UP: Community Scholarships