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Highland High School Names Valedictorian, Salutatorian and Top-Ten Graduates

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Highland High School Names Valedictorian and Salutatorian 

Val. & Sal.

Superintendent Thomas Bongiovi and Highland High School (HHS) Principal William Zimmer are proud to announce that Ishani Bansal has been named the 2020 valedictorian, and Minh Tran has been named this year’s salutatorian.

Bansal, the daughter of Lily and Sandeep Bansal of Highland, earned a GPA of 103.29. She maintains a full schedule of AP classes and holds several offices, including co-president of the National Honor Society and the Model United Nations, treasurer of the French Honor Society, secretary of the Highland High School Concert Band, and first chair flute. She is a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society, Student Council, the Mathletes, the Interact Club, and the Varsity Tennis Team. She also participates in Science Olympiad tournaments and the College FED Challenge. 

Bansal is a 2020 National Merit Scholarship finalist, an AP Scholar with Distinction, and a recipient of a New York State Regents Scholarship. In preparation for her career, she has interned at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and St. Peter’s Hospital. She also volunteers at a local senior living home and a temple, and tutors at a local library.

Next fall, Bansal plans to double major in Biomedical Engineering and Applied Math as part of the pre-med WISE Honors program at Stonybrook University. Of her achievements, Bansal said, “It is extremely exciting after years of hard work to be named valedictorian. I hope to continue to make Highland proud in my future endeavors.”

Salutatorian Minh Tran, the son of Tuyen Nguyen and Phong Tran of Highland, earned a GPA of 102.8, all while maintaining a rigorous course schedule of AP classes and holding multiple offices. Tran is the co-president of the National Honor Society, president of the Tri-M Music Honor Society, president of the Highland High School Concert Band, captain and first singles player of the Varsity Tennis Team, and treasurer of the Model UN. Tran is a member of the Mathletes, the French Club, and the Interact Club, and participates in Science Olympiad tournaments. Outside of school, he plays in the Hudson Valley Youth Jazz Orchestra and the College Youth Symphony at SUNY New Paltz.

Tran is also a 2020 National Merit Scholarship finalist and an AP Scholar with Distinction. During his high school career, he has earned several music honors, including being selected for the 2019 NYSSMA All-State Jazz Ensemble as the Top Jazz Trumpet player in New York State, and placing second in the New York State Piano Teachers Association Audition Festival in 2017. Last year, he was presented with the Rensselaer Medal from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for demonstrating a high aptitude in Math and Science. Tran is also a peer tutor for Algebra I and II, a volunteer at the Highland Public Library, and a Black Belt in Taekwondo.

To prepare for his career, Tran participated in conducting cancer research at the University of Maryland Medical Institute and volunteered at Vassar Brothers Medical Center and St. Luke’s Montefiore Hospital. This fall, he plans to begin a 7-year combined Bachelors and Medical Degree program at the College of New Jersey and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. He hopes to study oncology and radiology.

“I feel honored and happy to be salutatorian in such a competitive class,” said Tran. “I am extremely thankful to my parents, teachers, guidance counselors, school administration, and friends and family for all of their support.”

Highland High School Names Top Ten Students

HHS Top Ten Graduates

To round out the Top Ten for the Class of 2020, HHS also recognizes the accomplishments of the other high-achieving soon-to-be graduates. Pictured from the left of back row: Assistant Principal Ryan Judge, Ava Rosen, Quinn Schneider, Salutatorian Minh Tran, Benjamin Vargas, and Principal William Zimmer. Front row from left: Zoe Munson, Eileen Dong, Emily Ramsay, Isabela Cuya, Isabella Fiorese, and Valedictorian Ishani Bansal.

“Highland High School faculty, staff, and administration are quite proud of the accomplishments of the top ten students of the Class of 2020,” said Principal Zimmer.  “The students’ hard work and efforts throughout their years are evident. If this is any indication of what the future has in store, then we are certain their forthcoming endeavors will be met with success.”