The top 10 scholars in the Johnston High School Class of 2012 distinguished themselves early in their careers by having set high goals for their academic achievement. Assistant Principal Dr. Elizabeth Mantelli boasted about the students’ constant focus on academics and their ability to exhibit maturity beyond their teenage years. The same 10 scholars were ranked as the top 10 in their class since first semester of their junior year.
“It is not a surprise that the extracurricular activities which they tended to pursue were of an intellectual nature; for example, Academic Decathlon,” Mantelli said. “In fact, thanks in part to these students and others’ dedication to the team, Johnston High School was the highest performing public high school in the Rhode Island 2012 Academic Decathlon.”
This auspicious group will be missed by Johnston High not only for their leadership and work ethic but also for their kindness and beautiful empathic qualities.
All of her hard work has paid off because in addition to earning the spot as valedictorian of her class, Zeng was awarded the URI Book award in her junior year. She was also a member of Academic Decathlon, president of Tri-M Music Honor Society and a pianist in the jazz band. Aspiring to get a degree in Pharmacy at the University of Rhode Island, Zeng thanks her teachers and friends for pushing her to achieve greatness.
“I want to do well, not only for my sake, but so that I will be able to give back in the future, to my family, those who have helped me and many more.” Zeng said.
During her high school career, Zeng experienced a number of firsts, such as her first dance and band trip. She says the relationships she has built with her teachers and friends will carry with her throughout her life.
Boston-bound Rajsombath plans on attending Simmons College in the fall in pursuit of a degree in Biology. Throughout her four years at Johnston High, she was a member of the Academic Decathlon and won several awards for her extraordinary academics. During her years on the team, Rajsombath won a variety of medals, including second top honor student, highest scoring individual on the team, and gold and silver in the Super Quiz and Language and Literature.
“Having been a part of Academic Decathlon for all four years of my high school career, I will hold onto those memories most,” Rajsombath said. “It taught me diligence and perseverance.”
She says her parents are the most important people in her life and contributed to motivating her to excel in academics.
Receiving a full scholarship to Rhode Island College, Kulczyk plans on pursuing a degree in Nursing. Her outstanding achievements throughout high school landed her a spot as third in her class.
“I have always pushed myself to do well, it is part of my type A personality,” Kulczyk said. “I also largely attribute my motivation from my family, especially my brother Michael, who encouraged me to challenge myself.”
Her Polish roots played a big part in Kulczyk’s extracurricular activities. She was a Lector in Polish at St. Aldalbert’s Church, president of the World Cultures Organization and a former student of the Janusz Korczas Polish Saturday School.
The success in her academics will be greatly missed, also the great abundance of Panther Pride that runs through JHS.
Ranking fourth in his class, Zheng plans on attending Syracuse University majoring in Biology and Mathematics. His proficiency in math earned him top mathematics student, outstanding achievement in Algebra II Honors and won the American Mathematical Society Award.
“I will miss the average school day, which was coming in at 6:30 a.m. and heading straight towards the library to finish homework,” Zheng said. “Also, I will remember all the teachers who made an impact on my life and all the friends I have made over the past four years.”
His long days at after-school extracurricular activities kept him active in Panther Pride and shaped Zheng into the diligent, hardworking adult he has become.
Out of 202 students, Madonna ranked fifth in her class and contributed to the abundant amount of school spirit. She was a representative of Student Council for two years, along with participating in various events like float, which is a huge part of homecoming festivities.
Madonna is graduating with multiple awards to her credit, including the RIC Book Award, Holy Cross Book Award and the Pell Medal Award.
“Gregory Russo, my teacher and Student Council advisor, contributed most to my enjoyment of high school,” Madonna said. “He pushed me to become more involved in my school during my sophomore year and through his motivation, I became a leader and participant in many activities.”
For college in the fall, Madonna is pursuing a degree in nursing at Rhode Island College.
Claiming the number six spot in her class, Ansaldi plans on attending the University of Rhode Island achieving a degree in Animal Science and Technology. Her musical talent was showcased in the high school band, along with singing in the chorus.
Ansaldi will remember her homeroom experiences with Mr. Dimaio and her participation in the band. She won the Saint Michael’s College Book Award and was a member of National Honor Society in her high school years.
She credits her success to teachers Ronald Lamoureux and Ryan Barrette, along with the values her parents instilled in her as a child.
Coming in seventh in the top 10, Simoneau is staying in Rhode Island, attending Salve Regina University and earning a degree in Nursing.
“When people hear that I am a part of the top 10, they usually assume that I study for hours on end, dedicating my life to books and school,” Simoneau said. “I am actually extremely lazy and I have to thank my friends for forcing me to pick up a pencil when I wouldn’t want to put down my cell phone.”
She surely wasn’t sluggish when it came to extracurricular activities, considering all she was a member of. Not only was she a member of National Honor Society and the Spanish Honor Society but also was a participant in Students Against Dangerous Decisions (SADD) and wrote in the Newspaper Club.
Her teachers taught her that it is possible to have fun and learn simultaneously. She cannot remember a dull moment during her years at JHS and will remember all of the relationships she has developed, regardless of their friendship in the future.
Cheering her way through high school, Antonucci plans on traveling north to attend the University of Vermont, graduating with a double major in Latin and Art History. Antonucci’s competitive personality landed her spot as eighth in the class of 2012.
“The majority of my friends are ranked in the top 10 percent of the school and it’s because of our strive for the best that has made us all so successful,” Antonucci said. “My bond with my teachers has extended beyond the curriculum; they have been there to offer inspiration and advice at every turn in the road.”
She was awarded with excellence in English, science, history and Italian, also winning the silver and gold metal in Academic Decathlon competition. The community that JHS has created will be missed by Antonucci, along with the close-knit group of students she graduated with.
With his sights on a Pharmacy degree, Oliveria will attend the University of Rhode Island this fall. His proficiency in academics earned him the rank of ninth in his class. His love for sports followed him throughout high school by playing on the junior varsity baseball team, varsity cross country and varsity golf.
“All the memories made are due to sharing so many classes with the same students,” Oliveria said. “I will miss the familiar faces and the comfort of having class with so many friends.”
Oliveria claimed the title as JHS Ideal Student in 2011 and contributed his musical talent in band and jazz band. His father consistently motivated him throughout his schooling and taught him to put effort into his schoolwork before anything else.
Rounding out the top 10, D’Andrea was awarded the Class of 1972 Legacy Scholarship, amount totaling $1,972, which he will use in pursuit of a Civil Engineering degree at the University of Rhode Island. Extremely driven, his aspirations to become an engineer motivated him to excel in his academics.
When asked who helped contribute to his success throughout his schooling career, he said, “My mother, who has MS, has taught me responsibility and helped me succeed in high school.”
D’Andrea sang in Chorus and was a member of Select Chorus, a vigorous group of students who auditioned to participate. He was also a member of National Honor Society. His time spent with his friends, both learning and outside of school, is what he will remember most about JHS.