Sophia Hyun, Arnav Shah, and Redwan Arosh were recently named Commended Students in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program. Commended Students are recognized for the exceptional academic promise demonstrated by their outstanding performance on the qualifying test used for program entry. All three scholars attend Newburgh Free Academy Main Campus.
Sophia Hyun plans to study computer science in college after graduating from NFA. She is currently undecided, but Carnegie Melton University is a top contender. She plans to become a Software Developer or AI (Artificial Intelligence) Engineer. Currently, Sophia enjoys her STEM classes the most, especially AP Physics. Sophia also really enjoyed VisCom (Visual Communication and Design) when she took the class in freshman and sophomore year. Prior to attending Newburgh Free Academy Main Campus, Sophia attended Balmville Elementary School and Heritage Middle School.
Aside from her academics, Sophia is part of Science Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society. She joined the NFA Anime Club her freshmen year. Sophia is currently part of the Guidance Advisory Council and was a peer tutor her junior year.
Outside of school, Sophia has been virtually volunteering with Library of Congress’s By the People and Be My Eyes, to help blind and low-vision people lead more independent lives. Sophia has also managed an online print-on-demand shop where she sells her graphic designs since the summer of 2020.
Sophia credits her parents, her fourth grade teacher, Mr. Mohammed, and her 11th grade English teacher, Mrs. Mordecai-Moore for teaching her valuable lessons and helping her reflect and adjust her approach to academics and life in general.
“Be honest with yourself,” said Sophia. “If you have a specific goal in mind, be serious about dedicating time and effort towards achieving it. At the same time, be realistic with your expectations and take a break when you need it. You know yourself best, and lying to yourself will only harm you in the long run.”
Arnav Shah plans to attend college to student biochemistry with a focus on pre-med after graduating from NFA. He plans to be a physician. Currently, his favorite class is AP Chemistry. Prior to attending Newburgh Free Academy Main Campus, Arnav attended Horizons on the Hudson.
Arnav credits his parents for motivating him to follow in their footsteps in the medical field. Arnav recognizes and appreciates the opportunities provided by his parents that have nurtured his love for the medical world.
Outside of the classroom, Arnav has played on the Varsity Tennis team for four years. His accomplishments include a 2nd and 3rd place finish in 2019 and 2018 respectively in the OCIAA championships and a second place finisher in 2019 for the NYSPHSAA Section IX championship. Also in 2019, Shah was a qualifier for the NYSPHSAA State Tennis Tournament. In 2018, Arnav was a recipient of the Newburgh Goldbacks Booster Club Scholarship to participate in a Cornell University tennis summer camp run by New York Junior Tennis & Learning (USTA affiliate)
Off the court, Arnav has been a member of the Zero Waste Club, the Concept Vehicle Racing Team (CVRT), Key Club, Math Club, Spanish Honor Society, Science Honor Society, and American Honor Society. He is currently the Treasurer for the NFA Debate Team Executive Council.
Arnav is also an active volunteer in his community. He has participated in Cyclathons and Walkathons, volunteers in the Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall Emergency room, and has participated in multiple events in support of the Newburgh Goldbacks Tennis Club. Additionally, Arnav held a Research Internship at Health Quest, Vassar Brothers Medical Center during the summer of 2019.
When asked what advice he would give to his younger peers, Arnav said, “High School contains some of the most important but fun times of your life. Enjoy it, do well, and let it prep you for college and life beyond.”
Redwan Arosh declined to be interviewed for this artcile.