SPRINGFIELD, NJ – Destiny Martins is going to Princeton University in the fall and she will have friends from Jonathan Dayton High School joining her. Shir Kalati and Sabrina Sequeira are also attending Princeton. They are entering Princeton University as members of the Class of 2021, which is a very selective class. The acceptance rate was just 6.1%.
Destiny moved to Springfield from Irvington, NJ in time to attend seventh grade at Florence M. Gaudineer Middle School. These were years she called her “formative years’. Like Shir and Sabrina, Destiny’s parents moved to the United States. That makes Destiny a first generation American.
Her parents are from Nigeria and they moved to the United States. Both of her older sisters were born in the United States. Destiny visited Nigeria just after she was born, and she visited Nigeria again in 2013 with her mother and got to see “…where I came from”. When they visited in 2013, they visited Lagos and went to her mother’s village where they saw all of their relatives.
At Jonathan Dayton High School, Destiny focused on being “…well rounded” and noted one of great things she liked about Jonathan Dayton was “… the joint emphasis on academics and extracurricular activities.”
Destiny participation in extracurricular activities included sports and many other activities. In sports, Destiny played varsity doubles tennis all four years and she participated in three seasons of track thru her junior year. During her senior year she played court one doubles on the varsity tennis team and her record was 10-5 in matches. Her favorite tennis player is Roger Federer.
In her three track seasons she competed in sprinting events such as the 100 and 400 yard hurdles, the 4x100 relay and the high jump. She said, “Sports at Jonathan Dayton are for everyone.”
Outside of sports, Destiny was involved in many other activities. She was Co-President of the Medical Careers Club. She also showed another part of her competitive side by participating in the Math and Science Leagues, which vied against other schools.
Like sports, Destiny felt these other activities at Jonathan Dayton were for everyone and that the school’s offering “…catered to all interests.” She felt these activities were helpful in encouraging students to take “...leadership positions and demonstrate commitment.” She was especially grateful for the guidance given her by one of her science teachers, Irene Ornovitz for both academics and extracurricular activities. One of the things she encouraged was “…participation and just showing up.”
Academically, Destiny’s focus at Jonathan Dayton High School was on math and science, much of which follows in her sisters footsteps. Both of her older sisters attended Jonathan Dayton High School, both attended Rutgers University and both majored in biology. At Princeton, she wants to major in molecular biology and may also study history.
In the fall of her senior year, she took her first art course and was in for a big surprise. Like all art students in the Springfield School system she spent the fall designing a patch for the SSEP (Students Spaceflights Experiment Program). Of all the patches designed, one was chosen for grades K-5 and one was chosen from grades 6-12. During that one semester class, Destiny designed the patch that won the older competition. She was “…surprised by how well it turned out.” SSEP was required in all classes. First she made a paper sketch and then maybe tweaked it. After that she scanned it on to a computer and edited in photo shop. The design was then turned in and reviewed by the Board with the inspiration coming from the SSEP program.
As she starting thinking about college, she felt she “…had to reach for the stars.” She found out she got into Princeton in March. Her hard work paid off. That seems to be a family trait. Destiny said that her parents worked extremely hard and felt education is “…the most important thing”. They felt “…where ever you end up in life you will have this, the power of knowledge. That to them is the American Dream.”
Besides making the National Honor Society, Destiny was well recognized at the 2017 Senior Awards. Her honors received included 2017 Senior Awards received included the Jonathan Dayton Award for Excellence in Social Studies; Springfield Mayor’s Day at Baltusrol Golf Club Scholarship; and the Lions Club of Springfield Memorial Scholarship of Excellence – Walter A. Hohn: Science..
For the class of 2021, Princeton accepted 1,890 students out of an applicant pool of 31,056. That is an acceptance rate of just 6.1%. The only lower acceptance rates among Ivy League schools belonged to Columbia at 5.8% and Harvard at 5.2%. According to niche.com, Princeton was the fifth hardest college to get into in America behind California Institute of Technology, Harvard, Yale and University of Chicago. This is quite an accomplishment for Destiny, Sabrina, Shir, their families and Jonathan Dayton High School.