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Westfield announces valedictorian, salutatorian

Katie Bodenmiller

WESTFIELD — Katie Joy Bodenmiller, daughter of Thayne and Louella Bodenmiller, is the 2020 Westfield Academy and Central School valedictorian.

Katie said she has grown up in a very loving, but driven, home. She has been a WDOE Player of the Day and Player of the Week for soccer, as well as a Post-Journal Player of the Week. She was voted Westfield Female Athlete of the Month also. In the fall, the girls soccer team was a co-sectional champion while Bodenmiller received the Character Player of the Game. She has been named a first-team all-star twice for soccer and a second-team all-star selection for basketball. She also was named Offensive Player of the year for the league for soccer. In 12 varsity seasons, she have been a scholar athlete 12 times and been a three-sport scholar athlete for five years. She has also been chosen for all-county for band and chorus and all-state for chorus. Outside of athletics, Katie has been the High School Student Government treasurer, freshman and sophomore class vice president, junior class president, Varsity Club treasurer, and Senior High Chorus president. Katie has been on the Firecrackers for four years, Westwinds for one year, a member of the Drama Club for musicals Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Into the Woods, Newsies and A Christmas Carol, a three-year member of the Environmental Club, a three-year member of the FHL Bible Study, a three-year member of the Varsity Club, a two-year member of the National Honor Society, a member of the FBC Youth Group for seven years and a member of the FBC Worship Team for two years.

“My parents have always pushed us to do our best, no matter the circumstances,” she said. “Whether that is in school, sports, or music, they are proud of us no matter the outcome as long as we do our best.”

Her hobbies are sports and music. In the community, Katie enjoys singing and playing instruments in the First Baptist Church of Westfield youth worship team, refereeing youth soccer with the Westfield Recreation Department, running the concession stand at the Northlake Family Recreation Center and her internship with the athletic director/dean of students at Westfield Academy and Central School. Katie has also been employed as a camp counselor at the Bethany Camp.

In the future, she wants to be a high school chemistry/physics teacher.

Dhananjay Patel

“I have learned to appreciate the little things in life,” Katie said. “Throughout my years in high school, I have been very busy. Sports and music things have been a big part of my life and I spend a lot of time doing them. It has made me appreciate the quiet times, which I’ve had a lot of recently. It is so important to have those quiet moments in your life to just breath.”

Dhananjay Minesh Patel, son of Minesh Patel, Geeta Patel and Rina Patel, is the class salutatorian.

“My motivation is to make my parents proud and I know that if I am successful I will achieve my goal,” Dhananjay said.

Dhananjay has been an academic all-star with honors in science and math, has earned a Busch + Lomb Honorary Science Scholarship and is JCC Student of the Year. He has been a member of band, chorus, the Westwinds, the Ape-men and a math tutor. Dhananjay’s hobbies include cooking, music activities and playing games. Community service includes being a math tutor, band events, Westwinds events and National Honor Society.

He works at his family’s business, the Holiday Motel. Future goals include attending the University of Rochester and studying to become a physician’s assistant.

“The most important lesson I have learned at Westfield Academy and Central School is to always have an open mind,” Dhananjay said. “To often are the people of todays society only looking at things from one point of view. Having an open mind is important as it allows a person to sympathize more with others. I know that having and open mind has helped me understand situations that I would have a hard time understanding before.”

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