On Friday, June 17, Haddonfield Memorial High School (HMHS) announced the names of the 2022 Valedictorian and Salutatorian. They are Cleo Hamilton (Val) and Jack O’Donnell (Sal).
Valedictorian Cleo Hamilton has pursued academic excellence in all of her classes, but especially mathematics and life science. She has taken 12 accelerated and six AP (Advanced Placement) classes including AP Calculus AB, AP Biology, AP Physics, AP Environmental Science and AP Chemistry. Hamilton is president of the National Honor Society (NHS) and co-president of the HMHS Environmental Club. It is her goal to pursue a career that will help people by protecting the environment.
In addition to her academic achievements, Hamilton is an enthusiastic rock climber and a dedicated vegan. She played cello and soccer through high school, and she enjoys knitting, woodworking, and other hands-on projects.
This spring, Hamilton organized an NHS/Red Cross blood drive at the high school. During the pandemic, she sewed hundreds of masks and fancy “prom masks,” raising hundreds of dollars for the Feeding America organization. Hamilton also served as a tutor in the HMHS “Haddons Helping Hands” and peer-tutoring programs. She has worked at Redwood Durable for the past two years.
Hamilton’s teachers and counselors credit her positive outlook and diligence for her continued success. She will attend Cornell University’s College of Engineering this fall and will study biological engineering.
Salutatorian Jack O’Donnell has also excelled academically at HMHS, particularly in math, science and technology. He has taken 11 Honors courses, eight AP courses and two High Honors (post-AP level) courses. O’Donnell was recognized as an AP Scholar with Distinction, a Commended Student in the National Merit Scholarship program, and is the Vice President of the NHS. He earned Summa Cum Laude scoring on the National Latin Exam in Latin I and Latin II, and is a member of the National World Language Honor Society. In the summer of 2021, he participated in the New Jersey Governor’s School of Engineering. The work his group completed earned them the privilege of presenting at the Undergraduate Research Technology Conference at MIT. He is contemplating a career as a software engineer or a data scientist.
His other activities include playing soccer for four years at HMHS (two seasons on the varsity squad) and serving as captain of the Academic Challenge club. He enjoys “speedcubing” (solving a Rubik’s cube as fast as possible: his average is 47 seconds!), investing in the stock market, and coding.
O’Donnell has volunteered as a tutor for both youth soccer and at Kids Alley Café. Since 2013, he and his family have run a marathon on Black Friday to raise money for victims of Typhoon Haiyan.
As an entrepreneur, O’Donnell worked for a start-up eSports gaming website as their lead graphic designer and social media guru.
O’Donnell’s teachers and counselors recognize his intense work ethic, self-discipline, and positive attitude as primary elements in his high achievement and success. O’Donnell will attend Princeton in the fall, studying computer science in their engineering school.