As the 2019-2020 school year wraps up, Hopewell Valley Central High School seniors are looking ahead to college, their future plans and post-high school life—and, as we do every year, the Express sent each of the Class of 2020’s Top 10 students a questionnaire about CHS life and their post-Hopewell plans.

This year’s interview questions included the usual fare, like what college they plan to attend, CHS extracurriculars and favorite quotes.

The Class of 2020 was active at CHS, to say the least. They participated activities like varsity sports, Diversity Council, National Honor Society, Girl Up, Science Olympiad, The Bulldog Reporter and Vox Central.

They will attend colleges like Cornell University, Georgia Institute of Technology, UCLA, Princeton University, Boston College and the University of Maryland, where they will study computer science, biology, neuroscience, music and computer engineering.

And the students were able to decide all of this as their senior years—and lives—were upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. Each student was asked about their school experiences during isolation and how the virus affected their final semester of high school.


Trent Demers

Rutgers University
Computer engineering and computer science

Career plans: Software engineer

CHS activities: Golf, ice hockey, National Honor Society, badminton club

How do you feel about the way your senior year turned out? School has been challenging at home, as students have to motivate themselves to learn in an at home environment not suited for such learning. For the past 11-12 years it felt like things like graduation and prom would never come. Yet, at the beginning of this year, they were finally within reach. They managed to slip away, however.

Favorite quote: “I often warn people: ‘Somewhere along the way, someone is going to tell you, ‘There is no ‘I’ in team.’ What you should tell them is, ‘Maybe not. But there is an ‘I’ in independence, individuality, and integrity.” –George Carlin

Grace Hoedemaker

Cornell University

Career plans: Working in energy conversion and storage, artificial intelligence, health care or climate change

CHS activities: Swim team, HOSA

How do you feel about the way your senior year turned out? I have to admit that for the first time in who knows how many years, I’ve had the opportunity to consistently go to bed on time. While I appreciate the time flexibility, I do miss seeing all of my friends and teachers in person.

Favorite quote: “Somewhere, a voice calls, in the depths of my heart; May I always be dreaming, the dreams that move my heart” –Wakako Kaku, translated from Japanese

Alyssa Liu

Undeclared in the School of Letters and Sciences

Career plans: Something math-related

CHS activities: Swim team, Mini-thon club, symphonic band, National Honor Society, class officer

How do you feel about the way your senior year turned out? Doing online school during quarantine has made me miss sitting in a classroom and seeing my classmates and teachers every day. Although I’m sad that we are missing out on the second half of our senior year, I’m grateful that we still had three years of high school to make friends and memories.

Favorite quote: “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”–Verna Myers

Jessica Llewellyn

Boston College

Career plans: Cognitive research science

CHS activities: Global Connections club, ASL club

How do you feel about the way your senior year turned out? It has been tough adjusting to online learning and trading in-person instruction for online instruction. However, my teachers are doing a great job helping us through with Google Meets. It is disappointing that we are missing out on our senior year, but I understand the sacrifice that we are making, and I am confident that the administration will find a way to honor our departure.

Favorite quote: “Well done is better than well said.” -Benjamin Franklin

Sophia Musienko

The College of New Jersey

Career plans: Finance

CHS activities: HOSA, Girl Up

How do you feel about the way your senior year turned out? I have been stuck at home for the most part and it has its ups and downs. I get to spend more time with family and have a lot of free time to relax in between doing school work, but it sucks that I don’t see my friends as often. It’s especially unfortunate because it’s my senior year. I might not see many of my friends again or any of my teachers. Graduation and senior year ending just isn’t the same, but I’m grateful to CHS for trying to make it as memorable as possible.

Favorite quote: “You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”–Robin Williams

Priya Naphade

Princeton University
Neuroscience and music performance

Career plans: Researching the neuroscience of music

CHS activities: Vox Central Jazz, STEMinists, Leadership Corps, National Honor Society, Performing Arts Academy

How do you feel about the way your senior year turned out? Isolation has been hard. I’m extremely grateful for my health and safety, but it’s so sad that we have lost the rest of our senior year. I feel like I took the experiences that come with the end of the year for granted. I didn’t think that March 13 would be the last day of school. I wasn’t prepared to let everything go. I miss seeing my friends and my teachers, especially because I have no idea when I’ll be able to see them again.

Favorite quote: “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” –Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Anna Neal

Georgia Institute of Technology
Business administration, statistics

Career plans: Business analytics

CHS activities: Student council, Youth Advisory Board, Leadership Corps

How do you feel about the way your senior year turned out? Having our senior year cut short has been really unfortunate. I wanted to enjoy my last moments at HVCHS with my friends. The worst part of it all is knowing I will not get closure and may never see some of my classmates ever again (possibly til a reunion).

Favorite quote: ”Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”–Ferris Bueller

Eva Nee

University of Pennsylvania

Career plans: Physician

CHS activities: HOSA, the Bulldog Reporter, Science Olympiad, UNICEF club, orchestra, pit orchestra

How do you feel about the way your senior year turned out? During the coronavirus isolation period, staying motivated to study for exams and complete schoolwork has been increasingly difficult. I was looking forward to participating in senior events and having fun with my friends for one final time. I wish I had known that March 13 would be the last time I walked out of the HVCHS doors. Even though I may not have a prom, senior trip, or a traditional graduation, the health of our community takes precedence.

Favorite quote: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” –Maya Angelou

Lindsay Parker

University of Maryland

Career plans: Undecided

CHS activities: Class president, Diversity Council, Leadership Corps, National Honor Society, student council, yearbook club

How do you feel about the way your senior year turned out? We are all sad that we can’t experience events like prom and graduation as we normally would. Thankfully Ms. Smith, Mr. Brittell, and Ms. Pinelli, together with the teachers, are doing everything they possibly can to make our last few months of high school memorable and special. They have been working so hard to make the best of a very difficult situation. Our administrators and teachers have been driving around Hopewell Valley with gifts, visiting each and every senior multiple times! Their visits are appreciated and are another reason why these are days we will never forget.

Favorite quote: “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

Hope Zheng

Cornell University
Computer science

Career plans: Undecided

CHS activities: Tennis, Girl Up, Science Olympiad, UNICEF club

How do you feel about the way your senior year turned out? It has been an adjustment moving to remote learning, and I really appreciate all of our teachers’ efforts to make this new experience as effective and engaging as possible. While I do feel disappointed to lose many of our senior year milestones and our last moments with friends, it is much more important that we are keeping our community safe. We have had nearly four great years together, and even though this isn’t the ending anyone could have imagined, we can’t let it overshadow those years. All we can do is make the best of the situation and keep moving forward.

Favorite quote: ”In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” –Robert Frost