WAYNE, NJ – Wayne Valley seniors Tasneem Pathan and Andrew Paul attended the same schools together since first grade and because their last names both start with ‘Pa’ they were constantly sitting near each other and in lines together. Well, they are once again in line together, as the number one and number two students, academically. Pathan is the Valedictorian and Paul is the Salutatorian for the class of 2020 at Wayne Valley High School.
These two students have several things in common, starting with the schools they attended: James Fallon Elementary School, Anthony Wayne Middle School and Wayne Valley High School. Of course, their high intelligence and drive are other common factors, but so is their musical background and the amount of extra-curricular activities they have participated in.
Pathan played clarinet and Paul played alto saxophone in the marching band, while Paul also played in the Wayne Valley Jazz ensemble.
According to Pathan, Valley’s marching band has always been one of the best in the State and in the Nation while the pair of them have participated. “We’ve been ranked in the top five in both states and nationals for the past four years,” she said.
The two have also participated in the Future Business Leaders of America and competed in state and regional academic competitions. Pathan was the Vice President and Paul was the Deputy Vice President of competitive events for the club.
Their love for learning is another common trait between the Valedictorian and the Salutatorian, as they each participated in several summer educational programs outside of Wayne Valley.
Pathan participated in the WEB Dubois Engineering Academy at Princeton. She took college level courses in math reasoning, computer engineering, and physics. After sophomore year, she joined in a Manhattan-based group called Girls Who Code “I learned a couple more coding languages,” she said. “It was a really cool experience.”
Paul took part in the Junior State of America as the Director of Debate. He spent time in the UK in the Oxford Advanced Studies Program at Brasenose College, Oxford and participated in the Columbia College Immersion Program at Columbia University in Manhattan. He was recognized as “Brightest and most promising,” and “Surprisingly inquisitive” by Professor Tim Novak, Ph.D at Columbia. Professor Valerie Gorman, Ph.D. of Oxford said: “His drive to absorb knowledge and experience and his facility of thought and expression make him a formidable challenge.”
While Paul is an only child, Pathan is the youngest of three siblings and believes it was the encouragement and support of her parents and siblings that helped her to become the Valedictorian. “I don’t thing I would be here without them,” she said.
Both Pathan’s father, Abdur and Paul’s mother, Janice expressed how proud they are of their children and their individual accomplishments.
While the two have several similarities, they are both very different people. Tasneem had a vibrant energy during her interview while Paul was very introspective, a deep thinker and cautious with his words and descriptions.
Pathan will be attending the University of Pennsylvania, will be majoring in Computer Science and believes she wants a career as a software engineer. “I just want to be happy with my job and love going to work every day,” she said.
Paul will be attending Williams College in the Berkshires of Massachusetts but is unsure of a major or his future career. "I am not undecided," he said. "I am multi-decided. I move across disciplines without care or concern,” he said. As an example, in Oxford Paul was studying subjects such as Shakespeare and Elizabethan England, Metaphysical and Graveyard Poetry of the Renaissance, Philosophy in Literature, and Psychology. While at Columbia, he was focused on Media and politics. The young man is dabbling in magic and clearly has a desire to follow his own unique path, wherever that takes him.
No matter their similarities or differences, Wayne Valley High School and Wayne Township are proud of both of these outstanding students.