Community News is proud to continue its long-standing tradition of recognizing the academic high achievers of the graduating class of the township’s three public high schools.

Below, readers will find profiles of the top 10 seniors by grade point average for Hamilton High School West.

Included in the profiles are the students’ plans for continuing education, as well as their favorite memories of their scholastic careers and the teachers who have inspired them the most.

Community News typically publishes these profiles in June, but the final class rankings were not available.

We congratulate all of the graduates of the Class of 2021.

Olena Mykhaylyshyn


Rider University / Accounting / Certified public accountant

Class rank: 1 GPA: 4.977

Sports: Tennis (captain) and swimming (captain)

Clubs: Spanish Club (vice president), Hamilton Environmental Youth Club/Beautification Program, Spanish National Honor Society (vice president), Peer Leadership, Literary Society, C.A.S.C.A.D.E., Science League, National Honor Society, Unified Club

Prior schooling: Lalor, Crockett

Teacher who inspired me: All my teachers have inspired me. I have had amazing teachers every year since Kindergarten all the way to Senior year of High School. Every single one of them had an impact on me and always encouraged me to do my best. They taught me many important lessons that I value. Going to school would not be the same without the caring teachers who make it fun. I want to give a special thank you to my guidance counselor, Mrs. Emmons. She always encouraged me to do what is best for me and inspired me to stay true to my dreams. She believes in me and knows I can do anything I set my mind to. She has helped me through a challenging four years and no matter what, her door was always open to me.

Favorite memory: My favorite memories are participating in club events, tennis matches and swim meets. The most memorable club event was the Haunted House; decorating classrooms and spending time with my friends. My favorite tennis memory was playing until the sun set and having my team win. And my favorite memory of swimming was our last practice, when our coaches created fun swim drills using cards.

Alyssa Clayton


University of Pennsylvania / Biochemistry / Pediatrician

Class rank: 2 GPA: 4.9697

Sports: Spring track, winter track, field hockey (captain)

Clubs: National honor society, Math National Honors Society, Math Club, Key Club (secretary), Unified Club, News Club, Senior Class vice president, Student Government, Science League, Peer Leadership, Yearbook Club (cover designer)

Prior schooling: McGalliard, Grice

Teacher who inspired me: Mrs. Campbell was a teacher who inspired me throughout my years as a hamilton west student. As my coach, she constantly believed in my ability to succeed and would push me forward to progress as an individual. She motivated me to reach for bigger goals and I am truly grateful for her support during these four years.

Favorite memory: My favorite memory of school was being allowed to paint a bathroom stall design with a close friend for a total of ten hours.

Menna Badawi


University of Pennsylvania / Biology/Pre-Dentistry / Dentist

Class rank: 3 GPA: 4.9105

Sports: field hockey (JV), winter track (freshman)

Clubs: Student Government (vice president), Math Honors Society, Math Club, National Honors Society, Key Club, Peer Leadership, Hamilton N.E.W.S

Prior schooling: McGalliard

Teacher who inspired me: Mr. Kline was an outstanding and influential teacher who amused my friends and me with random conversation and helpful tips throughout highschool, even when we casually walked into his class without warning. His classes always felt warm and accepting and I was lucky enough to have him twice.

Favorite memory: My favorite memory at HHW is hands down Peer Leadership training. I was able to make many new friends while being surrounded by fellow peers who share the common interest of helping others and becoming leaders. We not only developed friendships, but emotional connections with pathos exercises (some crying too LOL).

Julia Tavel

Vanderbilt University / Special Education / Superintendent


Class rank: 4 GPA: 4.8779

Sports: Boys’ Soccer (stats), Wrestling (stats), Winter Track (stats), Softball (stats), Tennis

Clubs: Big Brother/Big Sister, National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, Peer Leadership, Marching Band, Tech Crew, and Unified Club

Prior schooling: Sunnybrae, Grice

Teacher who inspired me: While I have had a lot of great teachers, Mr. Certo, my Piano Lab teacher, and Ms. McKinley, my Junior and Senior English Teacher, have really stood out. Mr. Certo pushed me to join Marching Band and Tech Crew, which have been some of the best parts of my high school experience, and has helped me develop into a more critical thinker with his famous “Certo Talks.” While, Ms. McKinley emulates everything that I hope to be one day as a teacher with her kindness, passion, and dedication to her students.

Favorite memory: Doing Wrestling Stats with my best friend, Julianne Pracko.

Jason Lin

N.J. Institute of Technology / Civil Engineering / Civil/structural engineer


Class rank: 5 GPA: 4.8681

Clubs: Peer Leadership

Prior schooling: PS 105, IS 223, Grice

Teacher who inspired me: Mr. Peter Certo… you were probably one of the most influential teachers and mentors I’ve ever had in school. Although I’ve only known you for a little over a year, it was because of you that music became one of my passions and hobbies ... You made it possible for me to find comfort in music despite my lack of creativity, so thank you for everything!

Favorite memory: Marching band was perhaps one of the most memorable parts of my high school career… I’ve never really been an outgoing person, but after some extremely aggressive pestering from my friends, I decided to try it out and honestly, no regrets. To me, it really felt like a second home, where every single football game or competition we went to made a lasting impression on my life. And maybe, just maybe, if I could go back in time, I would do it all over again, for the pandemic really made these types of extracurriculars complicated.

Navpaul Singh


The College of New Jersey / Finance/Pre-Law / Lawyer

Class rank: 6 GPA: 4.84

Clubs: Marching Band (drum major), Jazz Band, Math Club

Prior schooling: Robinson, Grice

Teacher who inspired me: Mr. Certo and Mr. Wheeler were my most influential teachers. They helped me use my love of music to develop into a better musician. They exposed me to different styles of music, which allowed me to become a more versatile player. It is thanks to them that I am planning to continue making music in college.

Favorite memory: Band camp during the summers were always a fun time. I was able to hang out with my friends while being able to play music and march all day. Despite the hot weather, we all had a great time and loved it.

Julia Carroll

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N.J. Institute of Technology / Chemical Engineering / Chemical engineer

Class rank: 7 GPA: 4.8306

Clubs: Robotics team (co-captain), National Honor Society, Science League, Student Government, Key Club, Courtyard Cleanup

Prior schooling: McGalliard, Grice

Teacher who inspired me: Mrs. Giampiccolo, my honors and AP chemistry teacher. She told me I was one of the best chemistry students she had ever had. She made me feel capable and smart, and led me to choose chemistry as a career.

Favorite memory: Robotics competitions, where I would drive the robot I helped build, win matches against other schools, and hang out with my friends.

Lizbeth Sanchez

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Rutgers University / Accounting

Class rank: 8 GPA: 4.7836

Clubs: National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, National Math Honor Society

Prior schooling: Sunnybrae, Grice

Teacher who inspired me: Mr. Funari is a very understanding and wise man that truly cares about his students. He made my transition from middle school to high school easier and one can tell that he enjoys the material he teaches. I fortunately had the opportunity to have him as my teacher for two years.

Favorite memory: I will always remember the lunch periods before a math test, when all of my friends would be very nervous and we would want to cram in some last minute studying. We probably looked crazy; all talking at once, rummaging through our notes, and trying to make some sense out of the numerous math concepts we had to comprehend. Although we were stressed, we were able to help one another while simultaneously having fun and joking around.

Stephanie Lopez


N.J. Institute of Technology / Chemistry / Analytical chemistry researcher

Class rank: 9 GPA: 4.758

Clubs: Literary Society, Student Government, C.A.S.C.A.D.E., and Peer Leadership

Prior schooling: Yardville Heights, Crockett

Teacher who inspired me: A teacher that inspired me in my school career was my Algebra I teacher, Ms. Ju. She was the first teacher to ever introduce me and develop my love for the maths and sciences. As such, she has been a big inspiration in my life.

Favorite memory: My favorite memory of school was when I went on a trip to Washington with the Talented Tenth. Going to D.C. was such a new but exciting experience, especially with my fellow peers alongside me.

Jessica Carroll

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Rowan University / Civil and Environmental Engineering / Civil engineer

Class rank: 10 GPA: 4.7144

Sports: Cross country, winter track, spring track

Clubs: Robotics Club (co-captain), Hey Club, Key Club, National Honor Society

Prior schooling: McGalliard, Grice

Teacher who inspired me: Ms. Gallagher inspired me. I took her APES class as a junior and her marine biology class as a senior. She is always so positive and friendly, and she is passionate about what she teaches and about helping students become better people.

Favorite memory: I enjoyed hanging out and generally being silly with my friends after school and during lunch.

Hamilton West 2021

(Facebook photo.)