Bay Ridge

Five Xaverian HS seniors all accepted by Cornell University

May 12, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The five members of the Class of 2015 of Xaverian High School who are heading to Cornell University are: Suet Cho, Oliver Sarzynski, Ritvik Taneja, Joseph Martorana, and Harrison Jamin (left to right). Photo courtesy Xaverian High School
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It’s quite a coup when a high school can say that a member of its senior class has been accepted into an Ivy League university. But five seniors? Now that’s something to boast about!

Xaverian High School, a Catholic school for boys in Bay Ridge, announced late last week that five members of the Class of 2015 have been accepted for admission into Cornell University. Four of them will be attending the Ivy League school this fall.

“It feels pretty nice,” Valedictorian Ritvik Taneja, 17, told the Brooklyn Eagle on Sunday. “I won’t be alone going to college.”

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Taneja will be joined by fellow Xaverian seniors Suet Cho, Oliver Sarzynski and Harrison Jamin when he becomes a member of the freshman class at Cornell. A fifth senior, Joseph Martorana, won acceptance to Cornell but has chosen instead to attend Boston University.

Xaverian High School, located at 7100 Shore Road, has seen thousands of graduates move on to prestigious universities over the years, including Brown, Johns Hopkins, NYU, Princeton, Notre Dame and the University of Pennsylvania. Xaverian students have also gone to the country’s military academies, like West Point and Annapolis.

But the 2015 Class has left its mark on the school by having five seniors going to Cornell at the same time. It marks an important first for Xaverian, according to officials.

Xaverian’s graduation ceremony will take place on Saturday, June 6, at Brooklyn College’s Walt Whitman Auditorium.  

Taneja, Jamin, Sarzynski, Cho and Martorana were all thrilled when they learned that they all got into Cornell. The boys credited their accomplishments to the college application preparation they received through Xaverian’s College Coordinator’s Office.   

“I’m happy that Cornell was able to see that Xaverian is a great school that does a great job of preparing its students for college,” Taneja, a Staten Island resident, said.

Taneja will be attending Cornell as a McMullen Scholar, a program reserved for students with the potential for success at the university in the field of engineering. He plans to major in Computer Science/Applied Mathematics with an eye toward a future career working at Apple or Google, where he hopes to design and building robots that could be used by man to explore space or help doctors in hospitals.

He had applied to 10 universities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford, Cal-Tech, Georgia Tech and Carnegie Mellon. He was sold on Cornell during a visit to the upstate New York campus. “I took a tour of the campus and I really liked the ambiance,” he told the Eagle. “It was kind of like Xaverian in a way. They really seem to care about the students.”

Taneja didn’t set out to become Xaverian’s valedictorian. “I just wanted to be the best I could be,” he said, adding that the valedictorian title was simply a byproduct of hard work. He said his mom Ritu, a registered nurse, and his dad, Kunal, a software engineer, who both emigrated to the U.S. from India, were supportive of him throughout his years in school. Taneja’s parents are now U.S. citizens.

His favorite subjects were calculus and U.S. history. He was surprised that he enjoyed history so much, he said. “I didn’t think I would like it. But my teacher had such passion and dedication for it, I got interested.”

In addition to his studies, Taneja played guitar in Xaverian’s Jazz Band and Ensemble. Outside of school, he plays golf and enjoys running.


Earlier version of article contained incorrect information on Joseph Martorana’s choice of university.

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