MMI students earn PJAS awards


(Freeland, PA – April 13, 2015) – Students at MMI Preparatory School recently earned awards during the regional Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science competition held at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, with awards presented afterward at a dinner ceremony at the Genetti Best Western Hotel and Conference Center.

During the competition, seventh- to 12th-grade students from 34 districts presented research from their experiments in an array of scientific categories.

The Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science competition is designed to stimulate and promote interest in science through the development of research investigations. The competition is open to all students in grades seven to 12 who wish to participate. Students conduct scientific research in one of the 12 scientific categories of research. Students present their findings to a panel of judges at the regional competition. Students who received a first-place award will move on to the state competition held in May at the Pennsylvania State University in State College.

MMI students who received first-place awards were: Ali Aijaz, who won two first place awards, son of Fakhruddin and Naghma Aijaz, Mountaintop; Angelica Alday, daughter of Senen Alday and Milagros Azcueta-Alday, Mountaintop; Lauren Babinetz, daughter of Michael and Patricia Babinetz, Jim Thorpe; Elizabeth Borchick, daughter of Lance and Cynthia Borchick, Drums; Dana Carrato, daughter of Anthony and Carmine Carrato, Hazleton; Nicholas Carrato, son of Anthony and Carmine Carrato, Hazleton; Anirban Chowdhury, son of Bhaskar and Saumitri Chowdhury, Hazle Township; Mikayla Dove, daughter of Eric and Susan Dove, Mountaintop; Tristan Gibbons, son of Russell and Edna Gibbons, Mountaintop; Shaelyn Heft, daughter of Norman and Judy Heft, Lehighton; Joshua Kalada-Kania, son of Kevin Kania and Susan Kalada, Drums; Garrett Kost, son of Joseph and Natalie Kost, Freeland; Joey Kress, son of Jessica Holliday, Drums, and Joseph and Tracy Kress, Sugarloaf; Gabriella Kupsho, daughter of Robert and Diane Kupsho, Drums; Morgan Long, son of David and Theresa Long, Drums; Megan Marchetti, daughter of David and Andrea Marchetti, Freeland; Jessica McClellan, daughter of Bruce and Patricia McClellan, Freeland; Sarah Moyer, daughter of Robert and Susan Moyer, Bowmanstown; Joshua Narrow, son of Howard and Marie Narrow, Hazleton; Gabriellia Nunez Becker, daughter of Susan Becker, Lake Harmony; Kisan Patel, son of Dilipkumar and Minaben Patel, Mountaintop; Abigail Paul, daughter of Rustin and Cynthia Paul, Jim Thorpe; Elizabeth Pinto, daughter of Karen Pinto, Mountaintop, and John Pinto, Maplewood, NJ; Lois Polashenski, daughter of Robert and Kathleen Polashenski, Freeland; Yusuf Qadri, son of Syed and Saffiyah Qadri, Drums; Erin Sari, daughter of Izzet and Mumine Sari, Sugarloaf; Alexander Sessock, son of James and Jennifer Denion, Freeland, and the late John Sessock; Claire Sheen, daughter of Kwangsup and Chaeyun Sheen, Mountaintop; Jessica Smith, daughter of Jonathan Smith and Beatrice Russo-Smith, White Haven; Jonathan Smith, son of Jonathan Smith and Beatrice Russo-Smith, White Haven; Julia Snyder, daughter of Christopher and Jill Snyder, Sugarloaf; Jay Solgama, son of Paresh and Arti Solgama, Mountaintop; and Nicholas Young, son of Christian and Nicole Young, Freeland.

Students receiving second-place awards were:  Niklas Byriel, son of Julia Byriel, Mountaintop, and the late Kim Byriel; Chiara DeMelfi, daughter of Daniel and Esme DeMelfi, Hazleton; Gabriella DeMelfi, daughter of Daniel and Esme DeMelfi, Hazleton; Michael Eisenhart, son of Stephen and Denise Eisenhart, Freeland; Alyssa Famalette, daughter of Anthony and Joann Famalette, Freeland; Annika Fisk, who won two awards, daughter of Douglas Fisk, Bloomsburg, and Sandra Fisk, Conyngham; Lacee Gera, daughter of Marianne Gera and Joseph Pavlick, Drifton; Soprina Guarneri, daughter of Vincent and Sop Guarneri, Wilkes-Barre; Wesley Guarneri, son of Vincent and Sop Guarneri, Wilkes-Barre; Anna Haber, daughter of John and Cathryn Haber, Tresckow; Sydney Karpowich, daughter of Donald Karpowich and Tracey Gallagher, Sugarloaf; Jack Malay, son of John and Kathryn Malay, Jim Thorpe; Gabriellia Nunez Becker, daughter of Susan Becker, Lake Harmony; Jakob Schwabe, son of Marybeth Hayden-Schwabe, Hazle Township; Samuel Sessock, son of James and Jennifer Denion, Freeland, and the late John Sessock; Bailey Slusser, daughter of Christopher Slusser, Sugarloaf, and Amy St Pierre, Drums; Coleman Smith, son of Keith and Laura Smith, White Haven; Stephanie Zellner, daughter of Stephen and Theresa Zellner, Drums; and Macy Zenier, daughter of Tedd and Judith Zenier, Conyngham.

Students receiving third-place awards were: Andrew Decker, son of Aaron Decker, Kingston, and Elizabeth and Troy Topolski, Sugarloaf; Brian Payne, son of Brian and Marie Payne, Sugarloaf; and Evan Spear, son of William and Marylynne Spear, Hazleton.

Additionally, Perseverance Awards were received by students who have participated three or more years. Tristan Gibbons and Soprina Guarneri participated for three years. Annika Fisk, Gabriellia Nunez Becker, Yusuf Qadri and, Claire Sheen participated for five years.

Excellence Awards were received by Lauren Babinetz, Tristan Gibbons, Garrett Kost, Morgan Long, Gabriella Kupsho, Claire Sheen, and Jay Solgama.

Perfect Scores of 5.0 were awarded to: Lauren Babinetz, Tristan Gibbons, Gabriella Kupsho, Claire Sheen and, Jay Solgama.

Yusuf Qadri received a $1,500 yearly renewable scholarship from the University of Scranton. Jonathan Smith received one of five Commonwealth Medical College Research Fellowships.


About MMI Preparatory School

For over 130 years, MMI Preparatory School has been providing dedicated area students with a comprehensive and inspiring 6th through 12th grade college preparatory program that maximizes each individual’s academic, social and character potential in preparation for success in college and beyond. The school is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS).  MMI is a school where every student can reach their full potential; academically, ethically and socially.  For more information about MMI Preparatory School, visit or call 570-636-1108.



CAPTION: Pictured are, first row, from left: Claire Sheen, Macy Zenier, Elizabeth Borchick, Bailey Slusser, Jesica McClellan, Erin Sari, Lois Polashenski, Gabriella DeMelfi, Shaelyn Heft, Dana Carrato, Alyssa Famalette, and Chiara DeMelfi. Second row: PJAS advisor Susan Moyer, Brian Payne, Tristan Gibbons, Annika Fisk, Jonathan Smith, Jessica Smith, Elizabeth Pinto, Megan Marchetti, Gabriella Kupsho, Abigail Paul, Anna Haber, Sydney Karpowich, Angelica Alday, Lauren Babinetz, Julia Snyder, Sarah Moyer, and PJAS advisor Todd Ronco. Third row: PJAS advisor Mary- Lee Hood, Morgan Long, Alexander Sessock, Nicholas Carrato, Wesley Guarneri, Joshua Narrow , Joey Kress, Nicholas Young, Mikayla Dove, Stephanie Zellner, Garrett Kost, Samuel Sessock, Anirban Chowdhury, Lacee Gera, and PJAS advisor Michael Mele. Fourth row: Michael Eisenhart, Jack Malay, Coleman Wenner, Andrew Decker, Syed Yousef Qadri, Ali Aijaz, Jay Solgama, Joshua Kalada-Kania, Niklas Byriel, Kisan Patel, Jakob Schwabe, and PJAS advisor Justin Vincent.