WAYNE, NJ – This week’s Wayne Board of Education (BOE) meeting began with a recognition program for Wayne’s National Merit Scholarship (NMSC) Semifinalists and Commended Students, as well as Wayne’s National AP Scholars.  Although the public meeting was broadcast via Zoom, the principals of both High Schools joined in to present the names of Wayne’s class of 2021 top students.

“We’re very happy to be returning back to normal, at least a little bit,” said Wayne Superintendent of schools, Dr. Mark Toback. “In that we are going to conduct our student recognition section of our board meeting. We’ve done everything we can to make the program as similar to the live program we would normally run for our students.”

The program began with Kenneth Palczewski, the Principal of Wayne Valley High School, who presented the National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists and the National Merit Commended Students. 

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“I have the pleasure of recognizing the national merit semi-finalists from both of our high schools,” said Palczewski.

Each of the three Wayne Semifinalists scored in the top one percent of students who took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT) in the fall of 2019.

As previously reported by TAPinto Wayne, the three NMSC Semifinalists from Wayne are: Alexandra Kazakov and Hope Mandler of Wayne Valley, and Anshul Sinha of Wayne Hills.

Palczewski then presented the names of 21 Wayne Seniors who qualified as NMSC Commended students.  These are the students who scored in the top three percent in the 2019 PSAT.




“Congratulations to all the students and their families who are being recognized here tonight,” said Palczewski in conclusion.

Michael Rewick, the Principal of Wayne Hills High School spoke up next. “It is my pleasure to congratulate all of the recipients tonight for their outstanding academic achievements,” he said before presenting the AP scholars for Wayne.

AP Scholars are high schools seniors who scored at least an average of 3.0 on all of their AP exams taken in May of 2020. AP stands for Advanced Placement, and AP tests are taken in May, after students complete a college level AP course in a variety of subjects.  For those who score high enough, college credits may be earned. AP tests are scored between 1.0 and 5.0.

AP Scholar students are ranked into several groups. National AP Scholars, AP Scholars with Distinction, AP Scholars with Honor and AP Scholars.

National AP Scholars are those who have scored an average of 4.0 on all of their AP exams and scored at least a 4.0 on eight of these exams. There were three Wayne students who earned this distinction.

Wayne Hills National AP Scholars: Ben Dayan and Jessie Lu

Wayne Valley National AP Scholar: Sophie McNeal

“Our AP Scholars with Distinction awards are given to students who average a minimum of 3.5 on all their AP exams,” explained Rewick, “and scored 3.0 or more in at least five of these exams.” There were 24 seniors from Wayne Hills and 11 seniors from Wayne Valley who earned this recognition.






AP Scholars with Honor awards are for students who have scored an average of 3.25 on their AP exams and scored at least a 3.0 on four of these exams.  Wayne Hills had four students on this list while Wayne Valley had eleven.




AP Scholars earned this recognition by scoring 3.0 or higher on at least three AP exams. Wayne Hills had nine seniors on this list, while Wayne Valley had 12 seniors on this list.





The Lead School Counselor at Wayne Valley High School, Felicia MIller finished the presentation by announcing all of the class of 2021 Wayne seniors who earned NMSC or AP Scholar awards.  Each student’s picture was displayed as Miller explained where the student wished to attend college, what major they wished to pursue and their individual academic/extracurricular achievements.

“We wish all of these bright and talented seniors the very best,” she said in conclusion. “We know that these students bring so much to our schools and community, that I’m confident that they will be amazing contributors to society for many years to come.”

Speaking on behalf of all the trustees on the BOE, President Cathy Kazan said, “The Wayne Board of Education could not be more proud of the accomplishments of the 73 Wayne students honored at both high schools. You are among the top one percent of students nationwide. This is an example of hard work and outstanding academic achievement. Congratulations to all, and best of luck to our semi-finalists.”