WEST ORANGE, NJ — West Orange High School has announced that the Class of 2020 valedictorian will be Anika Fernandes and the salutatorian will be Brett Zeligson.
“I wasn’t expecting this, but I’m glad I put in all the hard work,” said Fernandes, who has a grade-point average of 4.79.
In addition to her academic abilities, Fernandes serves as drum major for the WOHS Marching Mountaineers, is president of the Band Council and co-president of the Tri-M Music Honor Society. She is 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 just 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 in the community. She was 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 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 is non-stop. He is co-president of the Student Council, captain of the boys varsity swim team, president of the Tri-M Music Honor Society, vice president of SkillsUSA and first-chair violin for the orchestra.
He is a Mountaineer Mentor and a member of the Science Olympiad and Math Teams; writes for the Cobblestone, the high school’s literary magazine; and, in addition to Tri-M, is a member of six other honor societies: Math, Science, Escriptus, Chinese, Social Studies and National Honor Society. Zeligson is also a 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,” WOHS Principal Hayden Moore said. “Both are not only bright, but amazing young people with a passion to serve their community. They represent West Orange and West Orange High School well.”