Watchung Hills Inducts 121 Seniors into National Honor Society


WARREN, NJ - Some 121 members of the Class of 2018 at Watchung Hills Regional High School (WHRHS) were inducted into the National Honor Society (NHS) during an induction ceremony, Thursday, Oct. 26, at the school.

Parents, families and guests witnessed the ceremony in the school’s Performing Arts Center (PAC). Superintendent Elizabeth Jewett welcomed all students, parents, teachers and guests who were in attendance, and congratulated the students. Principal George Alexis also congratulated all the students on the high achievement of being inducted into the National Honor Society.

Alexis challenged the inductees to consider the meaning of the NHS's four core values, Character, Scholarship, Leadership, and Community Service, in the context of their own lives and encouraged them to see their senior year as "a series of opportunities to continue being a role model and serving others." 

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"As much as this ceremony feels like a culmination, it's really just the beginning of your responsibility,” he said. “I leave you with one essential question: What can you do daily to breathe life into these core values in our school community?"

The inductees also selected their “Teacher of the Year,” WHRHS History Teacher Ryan Murray. Three of his students, fellow NHS inductees Vamsi Desu, Calvin Le and Kevin Tan, introduced Murray, speaking highly of him as a teacher. They noted his endless enthusiasm in encouraging them to share in his having a thirst for learning.

The 2017-18 Class of NHS inductees at WHRHS are: KeerthiAdusumilli, Reid Baltuch, Kathryn Berger, Spencer Bokach, Peter Bosco, Michael Brady, Carson Brooks, Isabella Burt, Alison Cabrera, Shaun Cagnetta, Matthew Canary, David Cantone, Demetra Chang, Rebecca Chang, Shane Checko, Abigail Chutnik, Sean Coleman, Julia Cunningham, Vincent Dai, Gavin DeFuria, Anthony DeNave, Michael Deo, VamsiDesu, Michelle Du, Michael Erickson, Lindsay Fogel, Julia Fullowan, Andrew Giniger, Ian Glass, Julia Glickman, Nina Goliyad, Justin Halper, Nathanael Hanna, Aaron Hao, Thomas Hemsworth, Maura Herkert, Melissa Hertzberg, Sierra Heuvelman, Alison Hoffman, Jessica Hoffman, Daniel Hold Jack Horan, Ashil Jhaveri, Emery Jochnau, Brittany Keller, Stephanie Keller, Nila Kirupaharan, Emily Krouk, Mary Kusik, Rachel lee, Calvin Li, Rachel Lu, Alanna Margulies, Ethan Marmolejos, Andres Marquez, Emma Marzalek, Sarah McCracken, Marlise Moesch, Sydney Moholkar, Katherine Morris, Angela Munoz, Camryn Murphy, Ryan Murray, Eliana Neuwirth, Gillan O’Meara, Lauren Olin, Caitlyn Park, Micah Parker, Jessica Pearlstein, Joshua Pester, Carl Peterson, Matthew Piccirilli, Brady Pilsbury, Jared Pincus, Andrew Pluta, Lexi Pollner, Alyssa Printz, Brigita Przybylski, Deepta Raghavan, Michael Raman, Gabriella Roca, Andrew Roth, Shahab Sahranavard, Neha Saju, Nicole Salk, Gillian Santos, Diana Sarrico Jarett Schwartz, Lindsey Shi, Connie Situ, Andrew Song, Emma Sonta, Anusha Srinivas, Jeffrey Stickler, Sophia Su, Sanjay Subramanian, Annika Surapaneni, Chantal Taluba, Kevin Tan, Marlene Tartaro, Alexis Tekin, Michael Tobin, Caitlyn Tong, Eris Ulaj, Foram Vaidya, Craig Vergilio, AmreetaVerma, Julia Waldman, Jennifer Walpow, Ella Walsh, Kevin Wittmaack, Olivia Xu, Helen Yang, Michelle Yang, Neil Yang, Jason Ye, Linda Ye, Zachary Young, Christopher Yu, Carrie Zhang, and Cherlin Zhu.

This year’s inductees’ selection as student Executive Board members are: President, Julia Waldman; vice president, Emery Jochnau; secretary, Vincent Dai; and treasurer, Demetra Chang.

Core Values

Six new student NHS members read and personalized the NHS four core values, a staple of every NHS induction ceremony. They are: Thomas Hemsworth, addressing Character; DemetraChang and Sophia Su addressing Scholarship; Alanna Margulies and Cherlin Zhu addressing Leadership, and Olivia Xu addressing Community Service. This part of the ceremony also includes having the students light a candle representing each of the core values.

In the discussion about Character, Thomas Hemsworth said that being inducted into the NHS does not mean that he and his fellow inductees are perfect. Character means a trait much more dynamic and complex than that. To be inducted into the National Honor Society, you have to have identified with the idea that the“quest for perfection, and the acknowledgement that it will never be satisfied, is what makes us who we are,” he said.

Among the many facets of character Hemsworth spoke about, he said “Resilience” is a trait he admired in one of his favorite historical figures, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. “We get knocked down in our pursuit of happiness, our chase of success, but we keep getting back up,” he said. “We don’t complain, and we certainly don’t give up. We are: Resilient, stubborn, determined.”

About Scholarship, Sophia Su said, while NHS inductees are required to have a combined GPA of over 7.905 out of 9.3 and to have taken at least 12 accelerated, honors, or AP courses by the end of their junior year, much more is required. A broader consideration of being a scholar includes having a significant, creative, or original engagement with an idea, having a passion for something and pursuing it with commitment not just for entry into the NHS but as a lifetime mentality. 

Demetra Chang said NHS members tend to take advantage of the resources available to further their growth as scholars. They also tend to manage to excel academically yet still dedicate their efforts to extracurricular activities and other interests, and they tend to walk through the doors of high school every day open to learning about ways to become better people.

About Leadership, Alanna Margulies used as an example her own experience as a freshman. She wanted to join and compete on the high school’s Fencing Team even though she had neverplayed before.  She said her success and that of other Freshman fencers in the same situation, and her continuing love for fencing now as a senior, “are the result of a few upperclassmen on the team who spent hours on end fencing against the freshmen, giving us advice, critiquing us, and cheering us on.  In many cases, these leaders were not captains or even starters.  They were just teammates who cared enough to show the initiative to take a lost freshman like me under their wings and exert the patience and time necessary to teach us the ropes. There were no awards for these fencers, but seeing the people they taught succeed is their source of satisfaction, and they did not need trophies to feel fulfilled. These leaders instilled in me the value of hard work and of selflessly dedicating yourself to what you love.  It was from these leaders -- who, although they weren’t chosen to lead, chose to do so anyway -- that I learned what it means to be a leader.”

Cherlin Zhu added, “A leader is someone who leads a group, but there is so much more than that. True leaders recognize the potential of those they lead. They see the dedicated individuals, the ones struggling on the side. They take the time to listen to each and every voice, to ensure that each person has the opportunity to contribute. Above all, a leader selflessly dedicates themselves to the people who look up to them. The best leaders are the ones who put their teammates or fellow members above themselves, giving everything they have to realize the goals of the group.”

About Community Service, Olivia Xu said “within our school, we foster a generation of students that are willing to devote time and energy towards improving our local, national, and global community. This quality is clear and present throughout our numerous public service clubs and many of our students’ extracurricular activities - and this help is appreciated and valuable, no matter where it comes from and to whom its given.

She added, “Community service not only creates a better society for all of us, but brings everyone within that society closer together. As the year progresses and we continue to work on our collective community service project, let’s hope the values of dedication and selflessness we nurture at Watchung Hills stay with us even once we graduate from being Warriors.”

NHS Teacher of the Year Remarks

NHS Teacher of the Year Murray said to all parents sitting in the audience, “It is an honor to teach your children. They inspire me every day and it is a testament to the love and support you all provide them.” He encouraged the students, “Never cease to be a lifelong learner.”

He said that in his 12 years of teaching, he has had the good fortune to teach all kinds of students, “From carpenters to engineers, from musicians to lawyers, from entrepreneurs to doctors, I have had opportunity to interact, and most importantly, learn from all of you. I look forward to hearing about all the different branches you all set forth on. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your special night… Congratulations.”

Interdisciplinary Acknowledgements

Before the students left the stage, Executive Board members Vincent Dai and Demetra Chang remembered to formally thank the many people in the WHRHS family who helped stage the NHS Induction Ceremony. 

“A special thank you to: The members of the WHRHS National Honor Society Faculty Council,” they said. “Also, the Theater staff for setting up the sound system. Building and Grounds for setting up the stage. The Hills Kitchen Staff for setting up the refreshments for the reception. And the musical performers (who in small groups of quartets and quintets, performed before and after the induction ceremony): Students Ryan Branco, Taylor Hestvik, Timothe Iroudayassamy, Jack Horan, Omar Lateef, Alexandria Logan, Ethan Marmolejos, James Narayanan, Carl Peterson, Cristina Sarrico, Sanjay Subramanian, and Brandon Tang.”


WHRHS CAPTIONS 2017-18 National Honor Society


WHRHS PHOTOS 2017-18 Nat Hon Soc Exec Bd

Some 121 members of the Class of 2018 at Watchung Hills Regional High School (WHRHS) were inducted into the National Honor Society (NHS) during an induction ceremony, Thursday, Oct. 26, at the school. With National Honor Society Faculty Advisor and Chemistry Teacher Michelle Nunez, left, are this year’s student NHS executive board: From left, vice president Emery Jochnau; secretary Vincent Dai; treasurer Demetra Chang; and president Julia Waldman. 


WHRHS PHOTOS Student Speakers

This year’s National Honor Society (NHS) student inductees who spoke during the induction ceremony are, from left: Demetra Chang, who spoke about the core NHS Value of “Scholarship;” Alanna Margulies, who spoke about “Leadership;” Thomas Hemsworth, who spoke on the core value of “Character;” Sophia Su, who joined Chang speaking about Scholarship; Olivia Xu, who spoke on the core value of “Community Service;” and Cherlin Zhu, who joined Margulies in speaking about Leadership.


WHRHS PHOTOS Ryan Murray and Students

Named National Honor Society teacher of the year by this year’s class of WHRHS National Honor Society inductees is WHRHS History Teacher Ryan Murray, second left. He was introduced at the induction ceremony by NHS student inductees, from left, Calvin Li, Kevin Tan, and Vamsi Desu.

WHRHS PHOTOS Nunez Congratulates

From left, WHRHS Principal George Alexis, Superintendent Elizabeth Jewett, NHS Teacher of the Year and History teacher Ryan Murray, and NHS Advisor and Chemistry Teacher Michelle Nunez were among the administration and faculty members who congratulated student inductees to the National Honor Society immediately after they were called to the stage and presented with certificates and “Gold Cord.” The NHS Induction Ceremony was held Thursday, Oct. 26. Among the newly inducted WHRHS students is Gavin DeFuria, right, receiving the congratulations from Nunez. Students will wear the NHS Gold Cords with their cap and gown at graduation. 



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