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Queens Chronicle

SCHOOL SPOTLIGHT What's happening at Hillcrest High School?

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Posted: Thursday, May 5, 2016 2:53 pm

Dawa Sangmo,  2016 Hillcrest Valedictorian


Dawa Sangmo, a member of the Pre-Med Small Learning Community, one of nine into which Hillcrest High School has been divided into, has been named the Valedictorian for the Class of 2016. She said, “It is an honor to be named the Valedictorian of my graduating class. I never even thought of the chance of me being first in my class.”

Dawa had an abundant number of influences that have led her to where she is now in life. She said that her sister has helped her to get to where she is now in life. She helped her in her studies and has been her main support as she went through school. “My sister was always there for me when I’m stuck with a problem or when I needed a study buddy.” Dawa’s father was another person who made her want to become successful and be the person she is today. She said that, “When I was about 4 years old her father came to America and worked hard to send what little money he made back to us in our country.”

Dawa has a passion for helping others. She has participated in a tutoring program named P.U.M.P., where in she tutored students struggling in chemistry and also in a Red Cross fundraiser for rubella and measles. In 2014 she interned at a program called The Center for Excellence in Youth Education in the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, where she took a course in zebrafish toxicology. As part of the internship they were assigned dyads and were also given the opportunity to do experiments on zebrafish embryos.

She said that she had the education challenges of finding the time to understand the material and staying up at night to finish her work. She hopes she will be accepted into the Sophie Davis Biomedical Education Program in City College or the Macaulay Honors Program in City or Hunter College.

— By Anthony Sifuentes for the Highlighter



Kids’ Biz is the cats MEOW. Raise virtual record $76K


Two students in Ms. Michelle Gensler’s virtual enterprise class just returned from the California Bayside Trade Fair. Their class is operated as if it was a business and the students do all the things a businessperson has to do.

This year the class is a Cat Adoption Service, which the class named MEOW. Although the business is “virtual” or make-believe, they have made a real contact with the North Shore Animal League, the largest nonkill shelter in the United States, to advertise their activities through the class’ website.

The class does sell virtual products a cat owner might buy. At the Trade Fair Mohammad Ahmed, left, and Abibat Balogun set up a booth with other entrepreneurs and sold their products. They made $76,000, which is the most ever made.

The students felt they learned about being salespeople. They also loved places like Muir Woods, the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Prison. Balogun is even talking about going to live in San Francisco. They made a report to their class when they returned.

Bottom, Gensler, left, proudly listens as former student Usman Ahmed tells her virtual enterprise students why he liked her class so much. Ahmed graduated from Hillcrest HS ten years ago and then attended Baruch College. He worked on Wall Street for a while then entered the business world doing business intelligence.

He advised the students to learn programming because that is the need for the future.

School Counseling Intern

Alex Nahorney, left, is a school counseling intern from St. John’s University working at Hillcrest High School. With her is Hillcrest College Advisor Mrs. Gordon, who has nothing but high praise for Alex’s work ethic this school year. She helps the students apply to college, even spending extra time with a few students who have family problems which is making their application process difficult. She even comes in on a day off if there are too many students who have a deadline. She has recently been hired by CUNY to do a summer Bridge to College Program.

If you would like to be featured on a

School Spotlight page, call

Lisa LiCausi, Education Coordinator,

at (718) 205-8000, ext. 110.

Online go to qchron.com/schoolnews.

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