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Queens Chronicle

SCHOOL SPOTLIGHT End of school year happenings at Hillcrest HS

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Posted: Thursday, June 29, 2017 11:54 am

Top two students of 2017

The top-ranked student in Hillcrest High School, Jamaica, is Ababaker Ahmed, who is in the Pre-Med Small Learning Community. He is not only the top student out of 772 seniors but he is tops in service to his school and the community. He has tutored students in eight different academic subjects, was a volunteer laboratory technician in the science department, has helped different teachers grading papers, helped raise money for Toys for Tots, helped to obtain toys for the needy during the holidays, volunteered in the wards in North Shore LIJ Hospital, worked with youngsters in the community to help them become good citizens, took part in several food drives over the years, and worked with the Two 1 Seven League to provide baseball activities as well as equipment and supplies and to supplement youngster’s academic skills.

Academically, Ababaker Ahmed will be the valedictorian of the class of 2017, is a Gold Medal Physics student, is in the school’s chapter of the National Honor Society and is on the Advanced Merit Honor Roll, is a semi-finalist in the New York Times Scholarship contest, and is fluent in Arabic. The philosophy that he follows is to, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi. He thanks the school college adviser Ms. Conforti and Pre-Med guidance counselor Mr. Ertel for their help in keeping him on task.

Hamdan Jawad will be the salutatorian and is also in the Pre-Med Institute at Hillcrest. He is a member of the Scholars on Point Club which helps the juniors to cope with high school, a member of the Muslim Students Association. He tutors and helps his global history teacher Mr. Cohn and his Advanced Placement United States history teacher Mr. Ferruso. He also entered the NFTE Startup tech summer program to form a team and become president of a startup company called Unagen. NFTE is an organization which helps low-income students become entrepreneurs.

Academically, Hamdan Jawad received a 5, the top grade, on his Advanced Placement U.S. History and AP English tests and also took three other AP classes, studied software engineering at Hillcrest HS for three years, was accepted into the Electrical Engineering Program at SUNY Stony Brook University where he received the Presidential Scholarship and plans to join the Micro Electronic Track there.

His philosophy is, “The best way to be happy is to never expect anything.” His family is from Bangladesh and he was raised in Qatar prior to coming to Queens. He thanks his teachers and friends for the success he had in school.

Above Ahmed, left, is with Nelcia Skobelsky, director of the Pre-Medical Institute & NASA STEM Program at Hillcrest HS and Jawad in the Pre-Med Office.

Hydroponics research in NASA STEM Program

Last Year Nelcia Skobelsky, director of the Pre Medical Institute & NASA STEM Program at Hillcrest High School in Jamaica, enrolled students and faculty in a six-week experimental environmental science program at the Cornell University Environmental Study Center in Bergen Beach, Brooklyn. The students learned hands-on environmental science and STEM instruction and to explore the urban habitats around them and become stewards for the environment. Critical thinking was encouraged about real-world contexts and issues from which STEM concepts and skills could be learned.

The students learned about unique laboratories which are dedicated to plant and animal investigations and research. They performed research in hydroponics and are now bringing their knowledge and skills back to Hillcrest HS, where a special Plant Room is being built for research. Ms. Skobelsky, center photo at far left, planned to showcase their research at the Hillcrest High School Annual Science, Health and Engineering Fair in the Hillcrest Library.

Noa Fuzelov, above, smiles with plants at Cornell University Environmental Study Center in Bergen Beach.

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