Meet the Milford valedictorians (and salutatorians, of course)
MILFORD — The city has a lot to cheer about this week as seniors from Joseph A. Foran High School and Jonathan Law High Schools head out into the world with diplomas in hand.
The initial graduation ceremony for Foran will be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday and the same time the next night for Law. Foran and Law will hold graduation ceremonies over three days — July 7, 8, 9. The rain dates are July 10, 13, 14.
And while we have shared some news about area valedictorians and salutarorians, here is more about Milford’s top four.
The valedictorians are Andre Jin of Foran High School and Madeline Papcun of Jonathan Law. Arunika Shee of Law and Brianna Aguilar of Foran are salutatorians.
Ranking first in a class of 227, Jin has completed a rigorous collection of courses, including 11 Advanced Placement courses, according to the school. (Calculus, English Literature & Composition, Macroeconomics, Physics 2, Psychology, U.S. History, English Language, European History, Physics 1, Statistics, and Government & Politics).
“Notably, all of the courses Andre took during his senior year were at the Advanced Placement level,” Foran Principal Max Berkowitz said. “He was named an AP Scholar with Distinction in 2019 by The College Board.
“During his years at Foran, Andre earned a wide variety of awards for academic excellence. In 2019, he received the Yale Book Award, and the STEM Excellence Medal for outstanding performance in mathematics and science from Fairfield University and Sikorsky Aircraft.”
Jin also received the Rensselaer Excellence in Math and Science medal in 2019 and served as a representative of Foran at MathCon 2019, winning an honorable mention. He also was selected to serve as a member of the Junior Honor Guard at last year’s commencement ceremony at Foran, according to the school.
Jin was admitted to the National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta/Math Honor Society in 2018, and was recognized for completing the Electrical and Computer Engineering Young Engineering Science Scholars module as part of the Explore Engineering E2 Program at UCONN in 2019, according to the school.
“Beyond his academic responsibilities, Andre was an enthusiastic participant in extra-curricular activities,” Berkowitz said. “As a member of the Foran Science Olympiad team, Andre participated in several Olympiad events across the region, with his team placing first for their Circuit Lab project in 2020 at the Sacred Heart University Olympiad Invitational.”
Jin was a member of the Foran Mathletes Club, the Foran Orchestra, and was a member of Foran’s Student Government. He will attend the University of Connecticut in the fall, where he plans to pursue a degree in science/engineering, according to the school.
“During her time at Law, Maddie successfully completed one of the most rigorous courses of study available to her, including eight Advanced Placement courses (Calculus, English Literature & Composition, Environmental Science, Psychology, English Language, Human Geography, Statistics, and Government & Politics),” Fran Thompson, principal of Jonathan Law, said of Papcun, who ranked first in a class of 201.
“She was named an AP Scholar by The College Board in the fall of 2019 and Maddie has received numerous academic awards during the past four years, including the notable Yale Book Award in her junior year. She also received the President’s Gold Medal for academic excellence.”
A member of the National Honor Society, Papcun served this year as the vice president of the Keyette Club. She was captain of the girls’ cross country team and earned the SCC Scholar Leader Award in 2019, according to the school.
“Maddie also found time to give back to the school community, participating in the Forever Friends Club, serving as secretary,” Thompson said. “Having contributed more than 200 hours of community service in a variety of venues, Maddie will graduate ‘with distinction’ this year.”
Papcun will attend the University of Connecticut in the fall, where she plans to pursue a degree in social work, according to the school.
“Ranking second in a class of 201, Arunika has demonstrated excellence in her courses throughout her entire high school career, including the successful completion of 11 Advanced Placement courses (Calculus BC, Chemistry, English Literature & Composition, Psychology, AP Research, Biology, English Language, Human Geography, Physics, AP Seminar, and Government & Politics), as well as a deep reservoir of honors level coursework,” Thompson said.
“Arunika has received a wide variety of academic awards, including the coveted St. Michael’s College Book Award in her junior year for her outstanding academic achievement and social conscience and was named a semi-finalist as a Connecticut Governor’s Scholar.”
Shee received the STEM Excellence Medal for outstanding performance in mathematics and science from Fairfield University and Sikorsky Aircraft, according to the school.
“An active member of the school community, Arunika served as president of the Science Club, working with school advisors to arrange for the club’s participation in the UConn State Science Olympiad, as well as the Brown University Olympiad,” Thompson said. “She also served as secretary of the National Honor Society and was a member of the girls’ junior varsity cross country team.”
Shee has volunteered at the John B. Pierce Laboratory in New Haven, Yale New Haven Hospital, Milford Hospital, and the American Red Cross, as well as several other community-based ventures (Milford Public Library, Registrar of Voters, and tutored students at Kumon in Milford, according to the school.
Shee will enter the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) in the fall, where she plans to pursue a degree in science/engineering.
“Brianna has exhibited an outstanding interest in academics as well as representing her school in a variety of leadership roles and activities,” Berkowitz said of Aguilar, who ranked second in a class of 227. “She chose to pursue a strong mix of academic interests, including a cadre of Level 1 and Advanced Placement courses.”
Aguilar successfully completed nine AP courses, including Biology, Calculus BC, English Literature & Composition, European History, Statistics, Chemistry, English Language, Psychology, and Government & Politics, according to the school.
“Brianna was the recipient of the Harvard Book Award and was named an AP Scholar with Honor,” Berkowitz said. “In 2019, she was named a National Hispanic Recognition Scholar and a finalist in the Questbridge National College Match program.”
A member of the National Honor Society and the Math Honor Society (vice president) at Foran, Aguilar also participated in the Yale Young Global Scholars Program in 2018, according to the school.
She will graduate ‘with distinction’ having volunteered more than 200 hours across the community in a variety of capacities.
“Brianna demonstrated her leadership skills at Foran serving as the captain of the cheerleading team, where in 2019 she received the All-American Cheerleader Award,” Berkowitz said. “She also served as president of both the Science Olympiad Team and the Medical Career and Professions Club. She was also a member of the Key Club, Mathletes, Social Awareness Club, World Culture Club, DECA, and Foran Innovative Thinkers.”
Aguilar will attend the University of Pennsylvania in the fall and plans to major in biochemistry and biophysics.
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