Honor Grads excited for future, grateful for support

Six students smiling at camera.
The Class of 2018 Honor Grads. Back row, from left, Anthony Palazzola, Fattum Abbad, Benjamin Madnick. Front row, from left, Jamie Wong, Judy Yim and Andie Wong.

More than 30 years ago, Goshen High School administrators began honoring the top six graduating seniors instead of the traditional top two. It was found that these high-achieving students held GPAs so close – merely hundredths of a point apart – that the district felt they all deserved to be honored for their accomplishments. And so the Goshen tradition of honoring the top six Honor Grads began.

The tradition runs strong today, and for good reason. For the past four years, Honor Grads Fattum Abbad, Benjamin Madnick, Anthony Palazzola, Andie Wong, Jamie Wong and Judy Yim immersed themselves in extra-curricular activities, volunteer work, and interscholastic athletics – all while dedicating themselves to achieving high academic standards.

It won’t be long before they head out into the world, taking with them their memories and lessons learned. But each can recall how their school chose to celebrate their accomplishments together as the Class of 2018 Honor Grads.

Fattum Abbad

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Fattum Abbad

Fattum will attend the Stevens Institute of Technology as a biomedical engineering major, with plans to attend dental school to become an oral surgeon. She is the daughter of Tatyana and Allan Abbad of Goshen.

Extra-curricular activities/athletics: National Honor Society President, World Language Honor Society Vice-President, Odyssey of the Mind, Mock Trial, Math Team, Student Voice, All-County, Chamber Orchestra, JV basketball, JV tennis.

Honors/Awards: Odyssey of the Mind World Finalists, AP Scholar, Honor Roll, Goshen Great, Various Academic Achievement Awards.

On what she’ll miss most about Goshen High School: Goshen is full of people who are not only caring and brilliant, but who are also incredibly interesting to talk to. Throughout my years here, I have had so many fascinating conversations concerning different topics and ideas – culture, politics, science. These conversations will most certainly be missed.

On feeling prepared for the future: When I was younger, I made a vow to never eat spinach, because despite its health benefits, that leafy vegetable was simply too disgusting to ingest. But life isn’t simple, and sometimes, you have no choice but to do things you don’t want to. Goshen taught me to chew my spinach through the tears and through the bitterness. It taught me to just keep going because in the end, there is a reward for all tribulations. GHS prepared me for success.  But it also taught me to appreciate spinach.

On her success: To my family and friends: You made me laugh when I thought I couldn’t, you pushed me further when I thought I’d had enough, you made me loud when I thought I was only quiet, you inspired me to be better than I thought I was – you make me successful and you are my success. Thank you for everything.

Benjamin D. Madnick

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Benjamin Madnick

Benjamin will major in physics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is the son of Alan and Jil Madnick of Goshen.

Extra-curricular activities/athletics: Student Government Treasurer, Student Senate Representative, World Language Honor Society Treasurer, Boys Varsity Tennis Co-Captain.

Honors/Awards: NYS Scholarship for Academic Excellence.

On feeling prepared for the future: Goshen High School has taught me the values of learning across a broad variety of subjects, which has increased by my eagerness and capacity to learn.

On what he looks forward to most after graduation: I look forward to spending my next couple of years at college and expanding my horizons beyond Goshen.

On his success: I credit my success to myself for working hard, and my family and friends for encouraging to always succeed at whatever it is I do.

Anthony J. Palazzola III

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Anthony Palazzola

Anthony will attend Colgate University where he will major in political science with the goal of earning a law degree and eventually running for political office. He is the son of Joy and Anthony Palazzola Jr. of Goshen.

Extra-curricular activities/athletics: National Honor Society Secretary, World Language Honor Society, Boy Scouts of America, Math Team, Varsity Swim Team Co-Captain, USBC Bowling Team.

Honors/Awards: Eagle Scout, Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen Award recipient, Goshen Great, Certificate of Achievement for Biology Honors, English 9, French II, World History 9 Honors, and AP World History, Progress in English 10 Honors, Honor Roll.

On being an Honor Grad: Being named an Honor Grad is a proud moment for me and my family. Ever since I was young, my parents ingrained in me the importance of academics and community service. Without their guidance, I would not be earning this award.

On his favorite teachers: There are multiple teachers who have had profound impacts on my academic experience: AP World History with Mrs. Panzer often included debates that opened up my mind to opposing views; AP U.S. History with Mr. Donachie inspired me to enter the political arena; AP European History with Mr. Isseks deeply exposed me to a continent that I had little knowledge of; French V with Mrs. Krish taught me the cultures and customs of America’s oldest ally; American Law with Mr. Karchawer gave me a solid legal foundation; and finally, both AP Language and Composition with Mr. Maduras and AP Literature and Composition with Dr. Schneider vastly improved my writing and critical thinking skills.

On what he looks forward to most after graduation: I cannot wait to finally have a summer without summer homework. More seriously, I look forward to publishing a book I started in the spring that predicts the 2018 midterm elections.

Andie Wong

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Andie Wong

Andie will attend Emerson College in Boston as a film production major. She is the daughter of Shannon and Nelson Wong of Goshen.

Extra-curricular activities/athletics: Student Voice, Dungeons and Dragons, GSA/ LGBTQ+, Odyssey of the Mind, World Language Honor Society, National Honor Society, Math Team.

Honors/Awards: Emerson College Honors Program, Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Gold Key, Silver Key, and Honorable Mention; National Merit Commended Student, New York Scholarship for Academic Excellence, AP Scholar, Odyssey of the Mind World Finalist, Achievement Awards for Global History, English Honors, French IV, and Interior Design.

On being an Honor Grad: I’m so excited to be named an Honor Grad and I am grateful to the school for taking the time and effort to acknowledge our years of hard work. I feel incredibly honored to be listed among these stellar students and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for all of us.

On what she’ll miss most about Goshen High School: I will definitely miss my friends more than anything else. They have been an amazing support system throughout the years and they are the kindest, funniest, most incredible group of people I could ever hope to know, much less call my friends. I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without them and though I will miss them, I know they all have bright futures ahead of them.

On her success: My parents have had a bigger im

pact on my success than anyone else in my life. They’ve always pushed me to succeed, and from a young age they’ve taught both me and my sister the value of education and personal achievement. That being said, they are also incredibly understanding and supportive of everything I do, whether it be in my academic or personal life. They have always seemed to have the ability to strike the perfect balance between valuing success and personal wellness and I could not have accomplished any of this without their constant love and support.

Jamie Wong

Head shot of teenage girl
Jamie Wong

Jamie will major in engineering at Northeastern University. She is the daughter of Shannon and Nelson Wong of Goshen.

Extra-curricular activities/athletics: National Honor Society Vice President, Odyssey of the Mind, Dungeons and Dragons, LGBTQ+ and Allies, Student Voice, Math Team, Symphonic Band (first chair flute), All-County Band, Hudson Valley Honors Band, various ensembles.

Honors/Awards: Northeastern University Honors Program and Presidential Global Scholar, National Merit Commended Student, Rensselaer Medalist, NYS Scholarship for Academic Excellence, Odyssey of the Mind World Finalist, Scholastic Art and Writing Gold Key, Silver Key and Honorable Mention recipient, AP Scholar, Achievement Awards in AP Physics, English Honors 10, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Global Studies 10, and Sociology

On her favorite teacher: The teacher who influenced me the most was Dr. MacGinite. Her AP Physics class was the hardest class I’ve ever taken but also one of the most rewarding. I really enjoyed it and it was a big part of my decision to go into engineering.

On feeling prepared for the future: The teachers at GHS have always been very hands-on and ready to help students, as well as willing to listen. I feel that GHS has helped me learn how to both ask for help and offer my opinion to the class discussion.

On what she looks forward to most after graduation: I’m looking forward to spending the best summer I can with my friends and then jumping into college and being challenged in a completely new way.

Judy Yim

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Judy Yim

Judy will attend the Carroll School of Management at Boston College where she plans to major in accounting. She is the daughter of Abby Chan and Andy Yim of Middletown.

Extra-curricular activities/athletics: Math Team, Chamber Orchestra, Odyssey of the Mind, National Honor Society, World Language Honor Society, piano.

Honors/Awards: Commended National Merit Scholar, Certificates of Achievement in Geometry H, Algebra 2H, Pre-calculus H, AP Scholar with Honor, Odyssey of the Mind world finalist, DUSO New York State Math League competitor, All-County and Area All-State Festivals, Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music Pass with Distinction.

On being named an Honor Grad: It came as a bit of a shock to me because I have such a profound respect for my classmates who have also worked hard to develop and express their diverse abilities. I am incredibly grateful to receive this recognition for my hard work.

On feeling prepared for the future: In Goshen, I was given the ability to create my own schedule out of numerous courses. Because of schedule constraints, it was difficult, and sometimes impossible, to accommodate my schedule to all of the classes I wanted to take. I learned to make decisions and follow through with them. Goshen has so much to offer in academics, the arts, and athletics that it shapes students to be well-rounded people.

On what she looks forward to most after graduation: I am still somewhat undecided about my major, so I hope to explore different fields in college. I anticipate living in a new state and discovering new passions in the upcoming years.