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Student Spotlight


Although we are only two months into the 2013-2014 school year, several students from High School West have already been recognized noteworthy achievements in academics as well as the arts.

Siemens group photoHills West is proud to have three semifinalists in the Siemens Competition.  Siemens is a prestigious annual competition in the fields of mathematics and science and technology. This competition recognizes talents of high school students who take interest in challenging themselves through academic research.  This year, Joshua Wende, Rose Bender, and Daniel Rudin received semifinalist honors, outcompeting students from across the nation  These juniors were the only three students to achieve this title in the whole district.  Individual and team winners will be announced and these winners will be presented with scholarships ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 on Tuesday, December 10, 2013. After receiving this distinction, Rose Bender stated, “Being a Siemens semifinalist was probably the biggest surprise of my life.  But when I saw my name on the list, I was so happy and proud that all my hard work with Josh had paid off.” Junior Joshua Wende also commented on his proud reaction to the good news. “I’m honored to receive this recognition; I honestly could not have done it without Rose and Tyler, our partner from Minnesota.” The trio’s project was entitled, “Enhanced Tolerance to Fuel Impurities Demonstrated in PEM Fuel Cell Utilizing Nanoparticle Coated Nafion Membrane.” Third semifinalist Daniel Rudin’s project concentrated on “Engineering a Novel Cimex lectularius Trapping Mechanism Utilizing Electrospun Recycled Polymers.” Half Hollow Hills is proud to recognize these students who display dedication and intellectual potential through the Siemens Competition.

Another recognition rewarded to students of High School West is the All-County and NYSSMA All-State Conference in Rochester, New York for students who demonstrate a high level of musicianship and skill. Approximately 900 students are notified to participate in the NYSSMA Conference All-StateThis year, Gene Chen, Tahra Friedman, Liana He, Simon Lee, Samantha Novotny, Wesley Ogata, Daniel Rudin, Jason Zelamsky were selected for All-County and/or All-State. Liana said in response to her recognition: “in early June of this year, as a sophomore, I invested countless hours into practicing my piece, rehearsing with my pianist, and perfecting the audition. I was extremely pleased to find out that I received a 100 several weeks later. However, I was not picked for All-State, but rather for All-County, most likely because of the seniority preference when making selections for All-Sate. I will try again this year!” Daniel Rudin also expresses his excitement for taking part in the 2013 All-State Conference: “It’s such a great opportunity that I get to perform alongside and be surrounded by so many talented and dedicated young musicians.”

National meritSophomores and Juniors alike prepared for the PSAT/NMSQT on October 19th, 2013. Just this September, three students, Travis J. Swartz, Cody Cao, and Simon Lee, have been recognized as Semifinalists for the National Merit Scholarship Corporation of 2014. There are around 1.3 million entrants for this scholarship, but only around the top 4% with the highest PSAT/NMSQT index scores qualify for the recognition in the National Merit Scholarship Program. Hills West boasted a total of 14 students to be commended for their scores on the PSAT. These students are Swasti Mehta, Max Park, Monica Chen, Kevin Liang, Bailey Liao, Jake Weiner, Jason Rahimzadeh, Rohan Savargaonkar, Jason Zelamsky, Jackson Rubinowitz, Andrea Ramsay, Arthur Ramsay, Harris Durkovic, and Lea Silverman. Only approximately the top 1% of all students qualify as Semifinalists. Furthermore, the highest scoring entrants in each state and students who meet high academic standards and other requirements advance to be the finalists of the 2014 National Merit Scholarship program. Great job to all who were recognized.

Congratulations to the students listed above for their outstanding achievements!

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