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 Nottingham High School.

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.

Sarah Nicole Pierce


Yale University / Neuroscience / Researcher

Class rank: 1

GPA: 4.9582

Sports: Cheerleading

Clubs: Math Club (president), National Honor Society (president), Coding Club, DECA, Peer Leadership, Math Honor Society, Science Honor Society

Prior schooling: University Heights, Crockett

Teacher who inspired me: Mr. Meinhardt inspired me because of his dedication to teaching and passion for math. Both in class and in the math club, I was pushed to study hard and problem solve in creative ways. It’s clear how much Mr. Meinhardt cares about his students, and he’s made learning both fun and challenging for me.

Favorite memory: Being a part of my cheerleading team and cheering at football games. I made so many friends and grew a lot as a person. When I look back on all of our practices and time together, I’m reminded of friendship, hard work, and having fun.

Muskan Patel


Rutgers University / Biological Sciences / Physician assistant

Class rank: 2

GPA: 4.8105

Sports: Tennis

Clubs: Medical Club, Peer Leadership, National Honor Society

Prior schooling: Mercerville, Crockett

Teacher who inspired me: Ms. Bowen inspired me to pursue a future in science when I was in her Biotechnology class.

Favorite memory: Our pep rallies!

Mariana Salama


Thomas Jefferson University / Accelerated 5-Year PA program / Emergency Room physician assistant

Class rank: 3

GPA: 4.7083

Clubs: Medical Careers Club (president), Newspaper (editor-in-chief), Debate Team (co-captain), Key Club, Peer Leadership, Environmental Club, Math Team, National Honors Society

Prior schooling: Mercerville, Crockett

Teacher who inspired me: Mrs. Kelliher, my AP Language and Composition teacher had the greatest impact on my education as well as my creative freedom. Mrs. Kelliher unleashed my love for writing and through her impact, I discovered the beauty of writing, the power of words, and the freeing nature of expressing myself. AP Lang was a challenging class, however, that was my favorite part. Mrs. Kelliher’s help and support influenced me to work harder than ever.

Favorite memory: when I did lab experiments and dissections in AP Bio as well as Anatomy and Physiology. I was fascinated by the pig brain I dissected.

Aamina Arain

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The College of New Jersey / Psychology / Undecided

Class rank: 4

GPA: 4.6668

Sports: Marching band

Clubs: Coding Club (president), Star Status (newspaper—editor), Caelestis literary magazine,

Mock Trial, Environmental Club, Peer Leadership

Prior schooling: Mercerville, Crockett

Teacher who inspired me: My Computer Science teacher, Ms. Manzano has inspired me to never back down from a challenge no matter how difficult it may seem, and she has taught me I can achieve anything I put my mind to.

Favorite memory: A memory I will never forget is the competition when the marching band broke the school record, and the moment the score was announced the entire band cheered and ran onto the field to celebrate with hugs and happy tears.

Hazel Cox

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Brigham Young University / Geology / Environmental geologist

Class rank: 5

GPA: 4.666

Sports: Swimming, track and field

Clubs: Key Club, Hamilton NEWS, Peer Leadership, Environmental Club, National Honor Society

Prior schooling: Mercerville, Crockett

Teacher who inspired me: Mrs. Dunham made an impact on me through Peer Leadership and in her classroom. The amount of work that Mrs. Dunham put into Peer Leadership inspired me to look outside myself and constantly work to help others and be someone they can look up to and confide in. She taught me, in AP Calculus, how to think critically and apply my knowledge to new problems. I have learned how to use the tools that she has given me to have personal accountability for furthering myself and my success.

Favorite memory: My favorite memory of school was being part of the swim team, a place where I could spend time with my friends and work towards bettering myself. I realized the importance of having a place to destress, especially with my heavy class load. I appreciate that being part of the swim team gave me that opportunity.

Zachary Shafer


University of Pittsburgh / Astrophysics / Research astrophysicist

Class rank: 6

GPA: 4.656

Clubs: Nottingham Marching Unit (drum major), School Musical, Jazz Band, National Honor Society (treasurer), Math Team (treasurer)

Prior schooling: University Heights, Crockett

Teacher who inspired me: Through the past four years, Mrs. Klek has been an inspiration to me through music and life in general. As a member of the marching unit and various other musical extracurricular activities, Mrs. Klek pushed me to become the best version of myself that I could possibly be. She taught me perseverance, good character, and patience, both in and out of the classroom. Mrs. Klek has been someone that I was able to look up to for my entire high school career, and I will proudly carry the lessons I have learned from her with me to college and beyond.Favorite memory: Breaking the Nottingham school record in competition for marching band.

Mariam Daoud


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

Class rank: 7

GPA: 4.64

Clubs: National Honor Society, Environmental Club, Newspaper, Debate Club, Key Club (treasurer), Medical Careers Club

Prior schooling: Langtree, Crockett

Teacher who inspired me: Mrs. Wilkes is the most kind hearted person ever and has motivated me in every step I took to better my education. Lets just say it was an honor to have her as my teacher. If I had not had her as a teacher in my sophomore year, my life would be incredibly different. I am not saying it would be bad, but she has opened my eyes to what I could be, and what I could do, in a way that I have never thought possible. Till this day, I can not believe I have made it where I am now and that is definitely because of her. I am not going to lie, my strong dislike towards English class was unbearable but she has managed to completely change my perspective towards it. Mrs. Wilkes encouragement and persistence has taught me to never give up.

Favorite memory: My favorite memory of school is when I had Top Ten Dinner!

Sean Duigon


Mercer County Community College / Education or Political Statistics / Teacher or political statistician

Class rank: 8

GPA: 4.6269

Clubs: Future Educators of America, National Honor Society, Outreach for the Stars, School Play

Prior schooling: Kuser, University Heights, Morgan, Reynolds

Teacher who inspired me: My 10th and 11th grade teacher, Ms. Kelliher. This is because during the two years I had her as my English teacher, she was the one who helped advance from struggling with English to becoming a better writer and being able to better interpret novels. It is also because of her recommendation that I took English 101 as a part of the Dual Enrollment Program which I was able to excel in because of what she has taught me.

Favorite memory: My favorite memory of school was the times I spent with my friends at lunch throughout my time in high school. Whether this was having enjoyable conversations with my friend, Maddie, in my sophomore year or playing Uno with my friends Eddy and Jimmy in my junior year.

Laila Nashir

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N.J. Institute of Technology / Chemistry / Nuclear chemist

Class rank: 9

GPA: 4.5424

Clubs: Marching Band (section leader), School Play, Celaestis, Math Club, National Honor Society, Swim Team (manager)

Prior schooling: University Heights, Crockett

Teacher who inspired me: Mr. Banka has changed the way I view challenges. Now whenever I try to push my limits, it’s always an enjoyable experience because I get to see myself grow and I come out with new life lessons every time. Since I welcome challenges now, Mr. Banka has also been responsible for why I decided to pursue chemistry in college. I’d like to see where I go from here; I hope Mr. Banka will get to see that too.

Favorite memory: During a marching band competition, the freshmen and I got lost in the woods trying to come back to the buses. It was night and we couldn’t see much; and despite the fear that crawled up in me, we were saved by an upperclassmen who blew his trumpet so loudly that it resonated throughout the school grounds. What followed next was a horde of us freshmen running out of the woods. This was the experience that made me want to stay in band; it was the power of us running that made me laugh till my sides hurt. I knew I would be in a great group for the next four years through this experience.

Sibette Vasquez


Princeton University / Molecular Biology / Biological researcher

Class rank: 10

GPA: 4.5288

Sports: Cross country, winter track, spring track

Clubs: DECA (vice president), FBLA (president), National Honor Society (vice president), Math Team/Math Honor Society (vice president), School Play (student producer), French Club (president), Language Honor Society, Princeton University Preparatory Program, and Peer Leadership

Prior schooling: Klockner, Crockett

Teacher who inspired me: Mr. Fleurmont, my french teacher for 4 years. He really inspired my love for language and constantly pushed me to challenge myself. Without his motivation, I probably would not have taken AP French or planned to continue learning the language.

Favorite memory: Traveling to Europe with some of my best friends sophomore year. Despite the cold, hunger, and jet lag we all experienced, we truly enjoyed ourselves and formed some great memories.

Nottingham 2021

(Facebook photo.)