Class of 2020 Valedictorian: An Interview With Justin Reicher


By Jimmy He, Senior Editor

As the school year comes to a close, we’d like to congratulate Justin Reicher on achieving the prestigious title of valedictorian for the class of 2020.

Throughout high school, Justin participated in a variety of clubs and activities including varsity baseball, student council, and student ambassadors. He was also the president of the national honors society, taking on an assortment of responsibilities ranging from running meetings to organizing fundraisers.

Justin has also volunteered as a camp counselor at New Jersey Audubon Society’s Lorrimer Nature Sanctuary, where he taught kids about the natural world. He also worked as a counselor at the Wayne Education Foundation’s Camp Adventure, and as a teacher for Idea Lab Kids, where he taught children about science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics.

We interviewed Justin about some of his high school experiences as well as his plans for the future.


Q: What would you say was the hardest part of high school? What, if anything, do you think you would’ve wished you’d known earlier or could’ve improved on?

Justin: Waking up at 6:30! I guess I would just tell my freshman self to enjoy the next four years, because they’re going to fly by quickly.


Q: What was your favorite class you’ve taken at Hills and how has it come to shape you? Who was your favorite teacher? Why? How did they influence you?

Justin: I’ve had so many amazing teachers at Hills. I learned so much from Mr. Shale in History and Government about having my own opinion and being an informed citizen. I was really lucky to have Mr. Green teach me Calculus and Ms. Sherger teach me physics, each for two years. Mr. Poalillo is a great math teacher and an amazing NHS advisor. He has taught me so many valuable lessons about leadership, and I will always be grateful for his guidance.


Q: Since you’re an athlete, how has playing a sport affected your high school experience? Was it difficult to balance a sport and school work?

Justin: Playing a sport makes high school much better in so many ways. It’s such a fun way to let off steam and not think about school work. I’ve been playing sports for as long as I can remember, so I can’t imagine life without them. Whenever I was in season for a sport, I found myself being much more organized and on top of my work. I always feel more productive after a workout, practice, or game.


Q: What do you think about the virtual circumstances of senior year and graduation? Do you think it takes away from the experience you guys would usually get giving speeches at grad or are you more relieved that you no longer have to do it in person?

Justin: Of course I’m very disappointed about how senior year had to end for us, and I would have loved to give a speech in person at graduation. I’m more upset about missing senior baseball season, and so many of the fun events that were planned for us. This is a universal problem right now, and there’s plenty of disappointment to go around. As long as everyone stays healthy, we still have plenty to be thankful for.


Q: What college are you planning to go to and what are you studying? Why did you choose the said field and what do you hope to gain out of studying it? 

Justin: I’ll be going to Binghamton University in the fall to study engineering. I like the idea of engineering because of the creative applications of science and technology. The field will give me the chance to design something really interesting, and have a career with a lot of flexibility. Whatever my career ends up being, I hope it will allow me to help others and make a real difference. That’s why I’m considering biomedical engineering, which bridges the gap between engineering and medicine.


Q: What people do you think have had the biggest influence in your success and how you are as a person? Who are your biggest supporters?

Justin: My parents have had the biggest influence on me and are definitely my biggest supporters. They show me how to work hard but always have a balance and never lose your sense of humor.


Q: What advice/words of encouragement would you give to underclassmen?

Justin: If you think you’re too busy to exercise, you’re probably wrong! Contrary to popular belief, schoolwork isn’t the priority. Your health and happiness is!


We’d like to congratulate Justin on his amazing achievements and wish him the best of luck in all his future endeavors!