Shir Kalati, One of Three Jonathan Dayton Seniors Accepted to Princeton

Shir Kalati Credits: Chip Dickson
Shir Kalati with Jonathan Dayton Principal Dr. Norman Francis, Sabrina Sequeira and Destiny Martins Credits: Chip Dickson
Shir Kalati receiving Jordan Lee Fish Scholarship for Music from Yeda Fish Credits: Chip Dickson
Shir Kalati receiving Lee Adler Memorial Scholarship for Academic Excellence from Howard Alexander Credits: Chip Dickson
Shir Kalati receiving Spanish Language and Culture Award from Candace Schiano, Supervisor of Humanities Credits: Chip Dickson
(l-r): Shir Kalati, Sabrina Sequeira and Sarah Adler at Springfield Lion's Club Dinner for Top 20 Students Credits: Chip Dickson

SPRINGFIELD, NJ – Shir Kalati is one of three seniors from Jonathan Dayton High School who will be attending Princeton University in the fall.  The other two graduated seniors are Destiny Martins and Shir Katali.  They enter Princeton University as members of the Class of 2021, a very selective class.  The acceptance rate was just 6.1%.

Shir is a lifelong resident of New Jersey.  Her parents moved to the United States and settled in New Jersey.  Her dad is from Iran , then moved to Israel where he met her mother.  Her dad is tri-lingual and she clearly listens to him.  One of her favorite books is one he suggested, Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid By Douglas Hofstader.

Before starting school the family lived in Nutley, NJ.  By the time Shir was ready to attend pre kindergarten classes the family had moved to Springfield.  At home, her parents speak Hebrew and as a result she speaks what she says she speaks Hebrew “very slightly”.  She also speaks Spanish.

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Springfield has been a great home and place for Shir to grow.  She has learned a lot and made a great many friends while living in Springfield and attending its school system.  Like many of her senior friends, she started the month of March wondering what college she would attend in the fall.  Shir found out she was accepted by Princeton near the end of March when her dad called her and told her she got a letter from Princeton, which turned out to be her acceptance to the university.    

About her education, she said she really liked her time at Jonathan Dayton and of the Springfield School System said, “I am a really big fan.  I think it is a very good school system.”  She added, she was “…especially grateful for the music program which she joined in middle school.  It helped shape my life“.  She added Shir is “song” in Hebrew.

One of the things she liked about Jonathan Dayton, was “It prepares a student for the college application process and leaves it up to the student to research choices and determine what school is best for them (student).”  She noted that “…the applying and getting accepted worked out, and hopefully the rest will work also out.”

Like many students at Jonathan Dayton, Shir was very successful academically and participated in many of the activities at Jonathan Dayton.  Her academic focus at Jonathan Dayton was mathematics, music and languages.  That last math class she took was multivariable calculus.

Not all of her learning was done in class.  Much of what she learned about instruments was self taught.  In fifth grade she learned the violin.  There were no private lessons.  In sixth grade she learned the keyboard because there was one in her house.  After waiting a few years, she added four more instruments to her repertoire in her junior year.  They are alto saxophone, guitar, snare drum and xylophone.  She is also member of Dayton’s choir and took AP Music to help better learn the instruments and music composition. 

One of her favorite things to do “…is to learn a new instrument.”  It is one of the reasons she likes music, which is “…you are never done learning.” 

Some of her other activities included participating in the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), the Math League and the Marching Band.  In the recent Jonathan Dayton High School musical “Legally Blonde”, Shir played the Violinist as well as being one of two students listed on the Stage Crew.he did a lot more than

Besides making the National Honor Society, Shir was well recognized at the 2017 Senior Awards.  Her honors received included 2017 Senior Awards received included the Jonathan Dayton Award for Excellence in Mathematics; Spanish Language and Culture Award; Springfield Mayor’s Day at Baltusrol Golf Club Scholarship; Lee Adler Memorial Scholarship for Academic Excellence; and the Jordan Lee Fish Foundation Music Scholarship.

At Princeton, she wants to major in mathematics and get a Certificate for Music with a focus on Violin.

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, 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 Shir, Destiny, Sabrina, their families and Jonathan Dayton High School.   

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