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December Students of the Month

Gabriella Pimenta-Fujikawa

Gabriella Pimenta-Fujikawa is a determined Woodland Park local with both a fascination and talent for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. As a proud Project Lead the Way senior, Gabriella chose PCTVS to get a jumpstart on a bright future in which she envisions herself advancing technology for the greater good.

With an impressive 4.35 GPA, Gabriella ranks in the top 3% of the class of 2020. Her rigorous course load has included 12 honors classes and 5 AP courses, and her hard work has paid off. The fluent speaker of Portuguese and student of Japanese is a member of the World Language Honor Society. She also earned membership to the National Honor Society and was named a State Qualifier in the National History Day competition. Most recently, Gabriella was recognized by the College Board as a Hispanic Scholar for her excellence in academic achievement and outstanding performance on the PSAT.

After graduating, Gabriella’s plans include earning a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering and attending graduate school for research in virtual reality. It is her hope to study how virtual reality can be used to help others, specifically individuals with mental health conditions. She credits her experience in the School of Applied Engineering with providing her with a strong foundation to help her accomplish these goals. “The time in my shop has been so valuable. Not only have I practiced critical thinking, problem solving, and the design process, but I have also learned about the ethics surrounding these disciplines,” she said.

Throughout her high school career, Gabriella has been actively involved in many extracurricular activities including Astronomy Club, Environmental Club, Robotics, and National History Club. But what she enjoys most are the creative outlets of music and performance. Outside of school, she has graced the stage in several musicals and plays through the Smiling Rhino Theatre and Passaic Valley Summer Theatre. Additionally, she plays the piano, guitar, and ukulele. Contrasting her academics and her extracurriculars, Gabriella commented, “In school, math is my favorite subject because there is just one correct answer. But in my free time, it is the opposite. Performing gives me a creative outlet and a chance to think outside of the box.”

In her community, Gabriella is a youth leader at Saint Philip the Apostle Parish in Clifton. She contributes her time and efforts to the church by planning and speaking at youth retreats and religious education classes.

Congratulations, Gabriella! Best wishes for your continued success!

Highlights


Michael Saykali

Senior Michael Saykali is a Little Falls resident whose aptitude for science and passion for helping others form a winning combination for an undoubtedly bright future. With a GPA of 4.36 and a class rank of 19, he is a shining member of the Academy of Health Sciences. As such, Michael has earned the well-deserved accolade of PCTVS Student of the Month for December 2020.

Having excelled in Anatomy and Physiology and AP Calculus B/C, the self-proclaimed “science and math guy” has his sights set on studying Biology as an undergraduate. His ambition does not stop there, however. It is Michael’s dream to attend medical school and become a physician, possibly in the field of oncology.

Michael attributes his desire to pursue a career in medicine to his experiences as a community volunteer. Through countless hours spent assisting the elderly at Arbor Glen Nursing Home and helping to feed the needy through work with The Apostles House and the Trenton Soup Kitchen, he has come to the realization that he wants to continue to help others. “I have always had an interest in medicine. But the more I volunteer, the more I know that I have a true passion for care-taking,” Michael acknowledged.

Many of Michael’s valuable volunteer experiences have been provided by his involvement with his church. As a parishioner of St. George Orthodox Church, he is the current President of the youth group, Teen Soyo. Through the church, he has helped plan fundraisers, coordinate events, participate in service projects, and lead his peers.

In addition to balancing his academics and volunteerism, Michael’s involvement in numerous school clubs and athletics has remained steady throughout his entire four years of high school. He is a varsity tennis player and member of Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA), Astronomy Club, and Student Council.

With his sights set firmly on the future, Michael offered some profound advice to students who are not as sure about their future career paths. He said, “As you grow and learn about the world -- the events and how people are affected by them -- you will start to see what it is really important. Keep your eyes open, and you will start to notice possibilities.”

Congratulations, Michael, on your academic success! We wish you the best of luck in the future!

Highlights