Three Westfield High School students received praise from the Board of Education for earning state and national recognitions. Board President Gretchan Ohlig presented Benjamin Kevelson, Kathryn Armstrong and Justin O'Boyle with congratulatory certificates at its public meeting on Oct. 17.
Benjamin Kevelson, a senior at Westfield High School, was recognized for being named a 2018 National Merit Semi-Finalist.
Approximately 1.1 percent of 1,500,000 juniors who took the PSAT qualify as National Merit Semi-Finalists. Ben is among the highest scoring entrants and is eligible to apply for a National Merit scholarship.
The program honors students who show exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies. A Westfield High School senior this year, he leads the Blue Devils Marching Band as a Drum Major and is an accomplished musician who plays the harp and the saxophone. Ben is a member of the Westfield High School Wind Ensemble and volunteers at senior citizen homes, a food shelter, and an after-school program for homeless and at-risk children.
Eleventh graders Justin O'Boyle and Kathryn Armstrong were honored for being selected 2017 Governor's STEM Scholars. The STEM Scholars program received 600 applications throughout the State and selected 85 students using very rigorous criteria, including character, leadership ability and STEM aptitude. They will be participating in a series of conferences, field trips, a research project, and professional and mentoring opportunities.
The director of the program, David Hodges, explains, "The purpose of the Governor's STEM Scholars is to take New Jersey's best and brightest STEM students and introduce them to what New Jersey has to offer." Senator Cory Booker told the scholars that "we need to empower more young people to explore, to discover, to innovate." The first meeting of the program took place a few weeks ago at Rutgers.
Kathryn's interest in STEM has included her attendance at a two-week Engineering Camp at Brown University during the summer between 9th and 10th grade. A distinguished honor roll student, she participates in Model United Nations, Westfield Plainfield Connections, and is a member of the Blue Devils Soccer team.
Justin has been described by his counselor, Christine Hough, as having a true passion for computer science. He is an active member of the Westfield High School's "Coding with a Cause Club," where he travels to two Westfield elementary schools each week to teach younger students about computer science. He is an honor roll student who is interested in history, politics and enjoys reading in his spare time.