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High School Juniors Receive New Presidential Excellence Award
Contact: Maria Matteo Maria Terrone
  (718) 997-5590 (718) 997-5591


-- Local Talent Honored at College’s June 4 Ceremony --

NEW YORK, June 6, 2003 – Outstanding juniors representing a majority of high schools in the borough were honored by Queens College President James Muyskens at a June 4 ceremony packed with proud parents, principals, and guidance counselors. Also attending was John Lee, the Queens High Schools superintendent.

The honorees who gathered in the college’s LeFrak Concert Hall were the first to receive the annual Queens College Presidential Excellence Award.

"As one of the major institutions of higher education in the borough, we wanted to honor exceptional students in Queens and the high schools that fostered their success,” says President Muyskens.

The juniors, who each came from a different school, were nominated by their guidance counselors. “We felt it was important to recognize the best in the borough,” says Vincent Angrisani, the executive director of admissions for Queens College. “Awards were based not only on the students’ academic record, but also on their leadership qualities and service to their schools.”

The outstanding students (see list of winners below) represented a wide range of backgrounds and high schools—from the private Garden School in Jackson Heights and St. Francis Prep in Fresh Meadows, to public schools including William Cullen Bryant High School in Long Island City and the Business Magnet High School in Cambria Heights.

In his address to the honorees, President Muyskens called them “an all-star team,” and urged the students to emulate the great philosopher Socrates, “who dared to show his ignorance by continually questioning.

“Dare to hope,” said Muyskens, a former professor of philosophy. “Those who live most successfully and contribute most to their families and communities are the people who dare to hope, the people who work hard so that justice will defeat injustice, beauty will win over ugliness, love will wipe out indifference, and knowledge and understanding will conquer ignorance and prejudice.”

Muyskens, who will complete his first year as president this July, also told the young achievers to “give of yourself…When you share yourself, you gain interest on your intelligence that will make you priceless.”

Roger Sanjek, a Queens College professor of anthropology, also spoke to the students. His book, The Future of Us All: Race and Neighborhood Politics in New York City (Cornell University Press, 1998), won the 2002 J.J. Staley Prize, the most prestigious book prize in the field of anthropology. Recently awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, Sanjek spent two decades researching the Elmhurst and Corona neighborhoods as they experienced major ethnic and racial change from the 1970s through the 80s. The book was one of six published under the college’s New Immigrants, Old Americans project, which Sanjek directed.

Queens College of the City University of New York (CUNY), founded in 1937 and located on a 77-acre campus in Flushing, Queens, enjoys a strong national reputation for the liberal arts and sciences and professional programs. Master’s degrees are offered in nearly 50 disciplines. Queens College was founded on the conviction that a high-quality education should be accessible to talented individuals from all backgrounds. Its 16,000 students come from more than 140 nations and speak 66 languages—creating an extraordinarily diverse, and welcoming, educational environment. Students are taught by an award-winning faculty renowned for scholarship and dedicated to teaching. Many special programs are offered for honors students, students in pre-law, pre-med and business, adults and “fresh start” students; weekend learners; and students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. For more Queens College news, please visit:


June 4, 2003


Melissa Monteleone – Benjamin Cardozo High School; 98.4 College Admissions Average; member of ARISTA, National Honors Society; Member of the Jazz band, and drama club; First place Winner in the British Airways “Ambassadors of Excellence” Writing Contest.

Jake Pesquira – Bayside High School; 97.2 College Admissions Average; member of the senior band and jazz band; member of LYFE (Leading Youth to Find Empowerment) through the Filipino American Human Services Inc.; loves poetry and music; pursuing a career in the medical profession.


Nashid Islam – Franklin K. Lane High School; 96.1 College Admissions Average; Ranked first in the Junior Class; Member of the National Honors Society; Junior representative to the Student Government.


Shawna McCalla – Business Magnet High School; 93.7 College Admissions Average; Member of ARISTA, National Honor Society; Member of the Future Business Leader of America, Distributive Education Club of America and School Leadership Team; Member of the United Black Men of Queens Mentoring Program; she dreams of a career in accounting and/or computer science.

Asamau Mohammed – Campus Magnet Humanities & the Arts; 89.0 College Admissions Average; Member of ARISTA, National Honors Society; Member of the National Society for High School Scholars; Pursuing a career in Medicine.


Orquidia Torres – St. Agnes Academic School; 96.8 College Admissions Average; top student in her junior class; Member of the National Honors Society and Mu Alpha Theta; Special interests in piano, singing and dance; Pursuing a career in medicine.


Olivia Ntim – High School for Arts & Business; 94 College Admissions Average; Enjoys music, poetry and romantic novels; she will be pursuing a college career to further the studies of her choice.


John Moloney – Catheral Prep Seminary; 95.7 College Admissions Average; Ranks first in the Junior class; Member of the National Honors Society; Member of the Student Council; Excelled on the Championship Varsity Basketball team; Career goals are still being formulated.


Shanique Nelson – Far Rockaway High School; 92.3 College Admissions Average; Member of the Student Government; Sees education as vital to her growth as a person; Pursuing a field of study in math and science.


Jessica Berger – Townsend Harris High School; Ranked first in the junior class; She volunteers her time in Project Hope; Member of the Junior Statesman of America Club; Pursuing a career in medicine.

Christine Chan – John Bowne High School; 90.9 College Admissions Average; member of ARISTA, National Honors Society; President of the Student Union; Girls Varsity Volleyball and Softball teams; Will be pursuing a career in education.

Miriam Mittel – Shevach High School; 97.8 College Admissions Average; Number one student in the Junior Class; Vice President of the Student Government; Recipient of the American Chemical Society Award; Donates much time to the school and to the community.

Michael Murphy - Holy Cross High School; 100 College Admissions Average; First in the Junior Class; All-League Football center for the Catholic High School Football League; Will be pursuing a college career.

Jonathan Peterson – The Lowell School; 87.7 College Admissions Average; outstanding artist; will be continuing his education in college in Fall 2004.

Stacey Weisman – Robert F. Kennedy Community High School; 83.9 College Admissions Average; Member of the Student Government Council; Serves as the student on the schools Leadership Team; True leader for her school.


Yafa Abrakhimova – Ezra Academy; 96.2 College Admissions Average; She is the top of her class; Tutors students and pursues interest in art.

Joanne Kong – The Kew-Forest School; 95.9 College Admissions Average; Girls Varsity Softball and Basketball; Pursuing further studies in mathematics and sciences.


Richa Gujarati – Francis Lewis High School; 98.3 College Admissions Average; Member of the Math Team and Key Club; Dedicated to high performance; Pursing a career in Medicine.


Vishal Patel – Garden School; 100 College Admissions Average; Member of the Key Club, Chess Club, Intramural Basketball and Yearbook; Recognition by National Merit Scholarship Corporation.


Shirley Cueva- Queens Gateway to Health Sciences; 97.1 College Admissions Average; She is an advocate for her school; will be taking summer courses as an exchange student this summer in Germany; Pursuing a career in science and medicine.

Manoucheca Isaac – August Martin High School; 92 College Admissions Average; Member of the National Honors Society; member of the Queens Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council.

Gary Ng – Thomas Edison High School; 95.0 College Admissions Average; Member of the National Honors Society; Member of the Student Council and the Consultative Council; Volunteers numerous hours to the school and extracurricular events; A pianist playing at school festivals and public recitals.


Jonathan Bearak – The Summit School; 99 College Admissions Average; Member of ARISTA, National Honors Society; Bright, devoted and hard working always striving to improve the quality of his own life and the lives of others; He will continue his education after high school.

Robin Lynch – The Mary Louis Academy; 96 College Admissions Average; Member of the National Honors Society; Bright, articulate and personable; Received awards from the National Achievement Academy and the Woman in Science Award from St. John’s University; Pursuing a career in medicine (pediatrics).


Nathalie Alonzo – Queens Vocational and Technical High School; 97 College Admissions Average; member of the Urban League Debate, Student Organization and Mock Trial; Her goal is to always be successful in what ever she does.

Mohammed A. Mannan – William Cullen Bryant High School; 88.6 College Admissions Average; Member of the Arista, National Honors Society; Active in sports and a member of the Tennis Team; A student who always gives his best; He will be furthering his education in college after high school.

Rachel McMichael – Frank Sinatra School of Art; 92.3 College Admissions Average; President of the Student Body; Outstanding leader in school and the community; Extraordinarily talented actress and playwright.

Carolina Mondelo – Academy of American Studies High School; 91.6 College Admissions Average; A member of the Queens Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council; Member of the Academy’s Chorus; She likes music and working with children; She dreams of becoming a teacher.

Dimitrina Prangova – Newcomers High School; 99.4 College Admissions Average; an International student who has overcome language difficulties to be an honors student in her school; pursuing a career in medicine.

Amanjot Singh – Long Island City High School; 96.6 College Admissions Average; member of ARISTA, National Honors Society; Advanced from ESL classes the first year to Honors classes; Pursuing a career in medicine.


Ellen Coltrinari – Christ the King High School; 99.5 College Admissions Average; Ranks first in Junior Class; Captain of the girls track team; Will be pursuing a career in the sciences.


Nehal Shukla – Martin Van Buren High School; 92.6 College Admissions Average; member of ARISTA, National Honor Society; summer Internship at Cooper Union; Sophie Davis School of Medicine Bridge to Medicine Program; will be pursuing further studies in medicine.


Katarzyna Maslowska – Grover Cleveland High School; 96.1 College Admissions Average; An outstanding international student who has excelled since her arrival; Loves mathematics and the sciences; Pursuing further education in college.


Durya D. Narone – Beach Channel High School; 91.1 College Admissions Average; a member of ARISTA, National Honor Society; member of the Key Club, Explorers and Beach Channel Choir; goal is to pursue a career in medicine to help others.

Amanda Young – Stella Maris High School; 95.3 College Admissions Average; Member of the National Honor Society; Top student of her class; Beyond her stellar academics, she volunteers in all aspects of the community; She will continue her academic career by attending college.


Christelle Domercant – Springfield Gardens High School; 93.4 College Admissions Average; Top ranked Junior; Member of the Multicultural Club, the Future Business Leaders of America, and the Haitian Club; She looks forward to continuing her education after high school.


Selma Abdul – Razi School; 94.2 College Admissions Average; representative at the United Nations International School Youth Conference; Creative writer who loves literature; possible goal of being a teacher.


 Office Information

Deputy Director of News Services
(Position vacant)

(718) 997- 5597

Maria Matteo
Assistant Director of News Services
Queens Hall, Room 270B
(718) 997-5593

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