Hanover Park High School is proud to name two seniors, Sophia Wang, the daughter of Yanfeng Wang and Jeiyin Fang of Florham Park, and Jimmy Sivolella, the son of Theresa and Jim Sivolella of East Hanover, as the students of the month of January.
English teacher Colleen Harvan, who taught Sophia Wang at the AP level, said she is “thrilled” and “not at all surprised” to see Wang named a student of the month. “Sophia has so many of the qualities that make an excellent student,” said Harvan. “She’s intelligent and intellectually curious, articulate and witty—in person and in her writing.”
According to Wang’s teachers, this quick wit is what sets her apart from others. Mathematics teacher Elizabeth Ditchek said she “admire[s] Sophia’s ability to find humor in just about any situation,” while social studies teacher Ryan Thomas called her “bright, funny, and inquisitive.”
Thomas also noted Wang’s “selflessness and concern for others,” which has no doubt manifested itself in the various organizations helps lead at school. Wang is the vice president of the National Honor Society, the ERASE club, and FBLA; she is a member of both Key Club and the Academic Team; she is the soprano section leader of the audition-only Chambers Singers; and she is a news editor on the school newspaper, The Forum. She also found time to play on the school’s varsity volleyball team for the last two years.
Wang said that her involvement in Hanover Park “helped [her] know [her] limits, academically and socially.” “Hanover Park helped me to become more independent and think for myself,” Wang said. “It helped me socially, too, to learn how to cooperate with people, be the best person I can be, and build other people up, too.”
Jimmy Sivolella also learned from his extra curricular involvement, though in his case it was the Varsity Club, and his athletic performance as a three-year varsity player on the football, basketball, and baseball teams. For Sivolella, sports “played a big role in everything” throughout his time at Hanover Park.
Sivolella’s coaches have commended him for his leadership and strong values. “Jimmy is a self motivated natural leader who pursues excellence in anything he does and expects the same from those around him,” said physical education teacher and boys’ basketball coach Todd Hartman. “He puts his best foot forward always, not to prove a point, or for any type of recognition, but simply because that’s who he is, it’s in his DNA, and he couldn’t conceive of anything less.”
“I have never been closer to or more proud of an athlete I have coached,” Hartman added. “If I had a son, I would want him to be like Jimmy.”
Physical education teacher and head football coach Gerry Moore also called Sivolella a “true leader.” “Whether leading others or fulfilling various commitments at school, Jimmy is always striving to make a difference and he does,” Moore said. “He knows the rewards of hard work and the value of service.”
Sivolella named Hartman, Moore, and head baseball coach Dave Minsavage as some of his greatest influences throughout high school. “To me they’re really more than coaches,” he said. He also thanks his parents for being his “outlet” and “guiding [him] the right way.”
Wang’s greatest influence throughout high school has been her mom, who taught her that “actions have a consequence.” “She’s always told me that if I want to succeed, I need to make a plan for it,” Wang said. “I can’t just let things happen to me.”
Wang will have the most freedom to “make a plan” for herself next year, with the independence college will bring. She especially looks forward to the “opportunity to choose what [she] want[s] to do with [her] time” and “to find [her] own group of friends.”
Sivolella also looks forward to his independence, especially living on his own and deciding his own major. He is interested in attending Colgate, Franklin and Marshall, or the University of Delaware, primarily because of their football programs, as he hopes to continue the sport at the next level. While he is still deciding on his field of study, he leans towards finance or physical therapy.
Wang, on the other hand, will study biomedical engineering, a field she was inspired to explore after her stint in the Governor’s School of New Jersey, which she attended last summer. “It combines the study of biology with medical applications, like tissue engineering or programming to help distribute medicine,” she explained.
When she graduates, Wang will miss Hanover Park, especially everyone’s willingness to help. “I can come here and talk to whomever I need to,” she said. Sivolella will miss “seeing [his] friends that [he’s] grown up with every day.”
“I wasn’t going to come to Hanover Park, and now I wouldn’t change it for the world,” Sivolella said. “I have friends that I’ll have for the rest of my life from Hanover Park. I love it here.”