WEST ORANGE, NJ – West Orange High School (WOHS) recently announced that Anika Fernandes and Brett Zeligson have been named the Class of 2020 valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively.
Fernandes, who maintains a GPA of 4.79, said she “wasn’t expecting this,” but is glad she “put in all the hard work.”
In addition to her academic abilities, Fernandes serves as drum major for the WOHS Marching Mountaineers, president of the band council and co-president of the Tri-M Music Honor Society. She is also vice president of the Science Honor Society and the Health Occupations Student Association.
Along with Tri-M and the Math Honor Society, Fernandes belongs to the Escriptus Honor Society, and was recently named a Merit Scholar. She works with the student body as a Mountaineer Mentor and was also part of the newly formed fencing team, planning to fence again this winter.
As a member of the Nikhil Badlani Foundation Youth Advisory Board, Fernandes helps to promote traffic safety by speaking to younger students in the district and working with the foundation within the community. She was also named to the North Jersey Regional Band for her trumpet skills.
Fernandes plans to study biology on a pre-med track at Rutgers University.
With a difference of only 0.02 points, Zeligson was named salutatorian with a GPA of 4.77.
“I’m excited about it, and I’m looking forward to being able to give a speech at graduation,” he said.
Zeligson serves as co-president of the student council, captain of the boys varsity swim team, president of the Tri-M Music Honor Society, vice president of Skills USA and first chair violin for the WOHS orchestra.
He is also a Mountaineer Mentor and a member of the Science Olympiad and Math Teams, writes for the Cobblestone, and the high school’s literary magazine. In addition to Tri-M, Zeligson is also a member of six other honor societies (Math, Science, Escriptus, Chinese, Social Studies, and National Honor Society) as well as a fellow member of the Nikhil Badlani Foundation Youth Advisory Board.
He plans to major in civil engineering, but has not yet decided on a college.
“Anika and Brett are two outstanding student leaders,” said WOHS Principal Hayden Moore. “Both are not only bright, but amazing young people with a passion to serve their community. They represent West Orange and WOHS well.”