Part 2 of 2.

The Hamilton Post is proud to recognize four Hamilton High School West seniors as Academic Achievers this month. The first four appeared last month.

Shaye Kavanagh, history

Teacher Anthony Funari writes:

I have had the privilege of knowing Shaye Kavanagh for four years and, recommend her without reservation. Shaye is a capable, intelligent and hardworking individual. She is a polite, respectful and pleasant student. I am impressed by her continued drive to be successful in all her endeavors.

Shaye, as a student in my A-Level World History and Geography and AP U.S. History II classes, was required to perform several tasks including reading and interpreting primary documents, participating in group historical simulations, and completing several analytical papers. She demonstrated her enthusiasm for learning by volunteering for oral reading assignments and participating in classroom discussions and debates. In a group setting, she is able to work cooperatively with her peers to complete the required tasks while maintaining a friendly working environment.

Shaye’s excellent grades, hard work and dedication, and impressive attendance reflect her ability and determination to succeed in future endeavors. She is a dynamic young woman who is capable of accomplishing amazing things. She is an excellent role model. She is responsible, articulate and exhibits a maturity that surpasses that of her peers. This is further demonstrated in her participation in extracurricular activities such as being a member and team captain of winter track and field hockey, voted junior and senior class secretary, and also part of the National, Italian, and Science Honor Societies, to name a few.

Shaye Kavanagh writes:

History has been one of my favorite subjects since elementary school. Many people credit that due to the fact that my mother is Tracy Quinn, a history teacher at Steinert. My mother often teases that she named me after Shays’ rebellion, an event that occurred in the 1700’s; though untrue, this is what it is like to grow up in a “history household.”

However, it was not until my freshman year of high school that I truly began to appreciate history. I stepped into Mr. Funari’s classroom, and my whole perspective of the subject changed. Mr. Funari had so much knowledge and passion for everything he taught that I felt like I was living through whatever event we were discussing. The more he taught, the more questions I had, and the deeper I wanted to dive into the discussions. It’s been quoted that “A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love for learning.” Mr. Funari was that teacher to me.

To me, learning history is not about facts and dates. History is a story of the world’s greatest triumphs and accomplishments but also some of its darkest moments. Looking back on these moments within the story, shows how far we’ve progressed. It’s unimaginable to me that over 150 years ago our country where “all men are created equal” still supported slavery and women having no rights. Same-sex marriage was unheard of. These stories from the past hopefully will help the generations to come create a better future.

In the future I hope to be an influential, pivotal person in history. My studies of history have connected with so many courageous people whose actions and beliefs prompted changes and challenges. I inspire to be as strong as one of my biggest historical role models, Rosa Parks. I want to stand up for what I believe in just like her, despite the risks, to create a chain of cause and effect to better our country and our world. Throughout high school, history has become a passion for me. I’ve absorbed in every story and every lesson within them. I would like to thank Mr. Funari for everything he has inspired in me.

Tracey Mraw, math

Teacher Maryann Kinsley writes:

Tracey Mraw has excelled in the area of mathematics during the past four years at Hamilton High School West. She was outstanding in AP Calculus as a junior. Her senior year schedule includes AP Statistics, as well as other AP and honors level courses. With a weighted grade point average of 4.4696, Tracey currently ranks third in her class. She is a highly motivated, critical thinker.

In addition to her academic achievements, Tracey is a well-rounded student who finds time to participate in clubs and various other activities. Tracey is the vice-president of Hamilton’s National Honor Society, and is a member of the Math, Science, and German Honor Societies. She also participates in Math Club and Key Club, and serves as a peer leader.

Tracey is also a standout on the athletic fields in her positions as soccer goalie and softball catcher. She has played both sports for all her years at Hamilton West, and has the honor of being varsity team captain for both soccer and softball this year. She also plays in softball and soccer leagues outside of school. Tracey is highly regarded as a team player and a role model of dedication, tenacity and drive. She was honored by the NJEA as the Hamilton West Scholar Athlete for the class of 2016.

Tracey has always set high standards for herself and demonstrates maturity, responsibility and dependability in all aspects of her high school career. She is a positive influence on all those that are associated with her. Her future plans include going to college to prepare for a career in biomedical engineering.

Tracey Mraw writes:

Most people don’t like math, and I always get strange looks when I say that I love it. I have always enjoyed working with numbers and formulas. I like the fact that there is not much room for interpretation and that there is always a set process or formula for solving a problem. No matter how high the levels of classes I take, I continue to be intrigued and challenged by math. From the basics (like knowing how much of a tip to leave) to the advanced (finding derivatives and integrals), math is used every day. There is and always will be a need for math.

My junior year, I took AP Calculus and joined math club. Most people thought I was crazy for taking calculus in high school and even crazier for enjoying it so much. While the majority of the students join math club for the doughnuts, I did it for the math. I would go around talking about how much fun they are and trying to convince my friends to take the class and join math club. Calculus was so different than any math course I had taken before. Once you know the basics of it, everything throughout the course continues to build off of it. There are endless possibilities of what you can do with it. It is also a very important subject to know in the field of engineering. How much I enjoyed this class is what made me certain that I wanted to study and pursue a career in biomedical engineering.

I have been lucky enough to have many great math teachers throughout the years. A teacher can make or break a subject for some people, and my teachers have continued to challenge me and make me enjoy math even more. It is a privilege to be nominated for this honor and I cannot wait to continue to explore the endless possibilities math has to offer.

Timothy Munoz, technology

Teachers Jesse Smith and Luke Drake write:

When students were exposed to real-time 3D modeling for the first time in our introductory Computer Aided Design class, Tim Munoz was one of the quickest to learn the technical skills associated with the software. More importantly, he was one of the most adept at putting those skills to use to complete creative and compelling visual solutions to the design challenges put before the class. Tim often completed assignments ahead of schedule, allowing him the time to create final designs that possessed a level of sophistication above that of his fellow students. The outstanding 3D models he created led to very high marks in his technology classes, though it is evident Tim strives to succeed for reasons beyond just grades.

Many students in design classes enjoy the challenge and satisfaction of creating 3D models using the computer, but Tim takes it a step further. He is one of the few students who continually seek to push the envelope. One of Tim’s hobbies is building plastic models of characters from pre-made kits. Now, with knowledge of CAD and access to a 3D printer, Tim is creating his own fully articulated models from scratch. He makes small adjustments to his designs, prints a new part in a few minutes, and then tests how the components interact with each other. Watching Tim combine his imagination and technical skills to make tangible things that have never existed before is a glimpse into our technological future.

Having Tim in class is a great asset not only for me as the teacher, but for the other students in class as well. Tim’s ability to be an independent worker, as well as a team player, helps create a more productive classroom environment. One of Tim’s greatest strong points as a student is his ability to take previous and current knowledge from other classes, and apply it to what I am teaching in the upper level robotics course. Tim has a solid concept of architectural drawling as well. I know that whatever Tim decides to go to college for, he will excel in it and create a bright future for himself.

Tim has proven himself in the other technology courses he has taken. All posed unique challenges, but Tim’s sharp, analytical mind saw him rise to the top. Tim handles new technical knowledge with ease, and he is always willing to lend a hand to students requiring assistance. His enthusiastic, well-rounded approach to engineering design and technology and personal interest in these fields are all traits of a future professional in a technical world.

Tim Munoz’s future is very bright and his talent and inner drive will see him succeed in whichever field he chooses.

Timothy Munoz writes:

Technology has always interested me, especially since it’s a necessary part of most work places. During my final year of middle school, when deciding on my high school electives, I chose CAD and Robotics without any knowledge of what might be in store for me.

CAD and Robotics represented a whole new world for me at the time. For CAD, it was making 3D objects in a program that had a sense of scale and depth. I was able to create anything that I could imagine if I put my time and effort into it. Robotics wasn’t just making robots, but also learning how electrical circuits function. It was fun building in class and seeing our robots move, or building a circuit and seeing it light up and flicker.

The best thing is taking what I learned and applying them to projects when I’m home in my spare time. I build model kits of robots from shows and novels I happen to like. I’ve been building these since I was 4. Now I can apply the things I learned to my hobby. If I want to make a part, I could make a real world model of it in CAD and then print out the pieces with our school’s 3D printer. And if I want to light up the model or give it a function of some sort, I could make a diagram of a circuit and implement it when finished. With this new knowledge and access to tools, I could do more in my hobby than I could have previously.

It’s amazing what I learned during the past four years in my technology classes. I certainly see myself using these skills in the future as a career. Who knows what I will be able to do with what I have learned? But for now, all I can do is wait and see as technology advances so that I may learn and adapt as time moves forward.

Allison Reed, world languages

Teacher Maria Alberta Baril writes:

It is vitally important to recognize students who shine in a particular subject area, and I have always known I would nominate Allison Reed to represent World Languages for the Hamilton Post’s Academic Achievers. I have had the privilege of being her Italian teacher for three years, and from the beginning I was impressed by the effort and commitment she has shown to her work in Italian II, III, and IV Honors.

Allison is driven by her desire to do well and her enthusiasm to gain knowledge. She is attentive in the classroom, always working to meet the expectations of the class. Furthermore, she accepts complete accountability for her actions; it is this kind of maturity that has afforded Allison excellent growth in the academic realm of World Languages. A 4.0 average in Italian since freshman year is a testimonial to Allison’s dedication to academics.

Moreover, Allison actually enjoys learning; she approaches every project and assignment with focus and interest. She does not consider Italian work as an arduous task, but rather as an opportunity for learning and improving.

Allison is also a dedicated officer of the Italian National Honor Society and has been a most valuable member since sophomore year. She is a caring and thoughtful tutor and a role model for her classmates.

Allison Reed writes:

Although I did not enter high school with the intent of learning Italian, I am grateful that I chose the language and have had the privilege of being educated in the language and culture by excellent teachers. Without their enthusiasm and support, I would not be the student I am today. The last four years in Italian class have been rewarding and have brought me many moments of enjoyment.

Throughout my years at Hamilton High West, Italian has always been one of my favorite classes. I get to learn something new each day and communicate with other students who enjoy learning the language as well. The class has a welcoming atmosphere that is both fun and challenging. Additionally, being a member of the Italian National Honor Society and currently serving as vice president has been a valuable experience. It has continued my interest in the language by offering opportunities outside the classroom for exposure to the vivid Italian culture.

Excelling in the language has not only allowed me to be selected for this honor, but it has aided me in other classes. When performing a song in Italian in my choir class, I am able to help other students with pronunciation and translation of lyrics so they are better able to sing the song and understand its meaning. It is such a personal accomplishment when I am able to use my skills in everyday use, whether saying phrases to friends or translating a sentence from a movie.

The Italian language has also contributed to my preparation for my future. It has expanded my appreciation and understanding of opera, which I am sure will be beneficial in my goal to pursue a degree in musical theater. It has introduced me to the idea of studying abroad and using my skills while there. I know that learning Italian has not only made me a better student but it has opened my eyes to a new culture that I have enjoyed incorporating into my education and life.

Thank you to Mrs. Baril and the World Language Department for selecting me for this honor.