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Here are B.M.C. Durfee High School’s top 10 seniors for 2024



Emma McDonnell

B.M.C. Durfee High School has announced their top 10 seniors for 2024.

Emma McDonnell, Valedictorian, is the daughter of Steven and Erin McDonnell of Hood Street. Emma will be attending the University of South Carolina in the fall where she will major in marketing in the prestigious Darla Moore School of Business while in the Honors College. Emma was a four-year Durfee Girls Varsity Soccer player and captain, a three-year Durfee Girls Varsity Swimming and Diving swimmer, and also ran Durfee track. Emma was the recipient of numerous athletic awards. She was a member of the National Honors Society, founding member of Durfee’s first-ever Active Minds/KyleCares Chapter in support of mental health awareness, a member of the Durfee History Abroad Club, Durfee Sixth Man Club, Durfee DECA club, and Durfee’s Ski & Snowboard Club. Emma had the great honor of being chosen as the 2023 Fall River Youth of the Year, in recognition of her outstanding accomplishments in her school, contributions to the city of Fall River to build a brighter future for all, and for acting as a positive role model for her peers. Emma was also awarded the Harvard University Book Prize Award and the Hero of Peace Award. Emma received the Fall River Municipal Credit Union Scholarship, Club Madeirense S.S. Sacramento Scholarship, Fall River Scholarship Foundation Scholarship, Lions Club of Fall River Scholarship, Fall River Forward Scholarship, General Federation of Women’s Club Scholarship, Merrimack Valley Credit Union Scholarship, Durfee Alumni Scholarship, and Foley Family Scholarship. Emma participated in several community service initiatives throughout her high school years talling many hours of volunteering. In the future, Emma aspires to have a career in marketing and real estate. Emma’s determination and work ethic has allowed her to achieve a 5.00 GPA, something rare in Durfee history. She will continue to work hard in everything she does, showing her Durfee pride and never forgetting her roots, regardless of where life takes her.

Faheem Azeemi, Salutatorian, is the son of Jamil and Mehar Azeemi of North Main Street. He
will be attending Massachusetts Institute of Technology, pursuing a degree in computer science. Faheem was awarded the Rensselaer Medal, Exceptional Commitment in Mathematics Award, Paula Grillo Excellence in Chemistry Award, Questbridge Prep Scholar Award, Certificate of Academic Excellence from the Massachusetts Association of Superintendents, AP Scholar with Distinction, Dollars for Scholars Scholarship, Durfee Alumni Scholarship, and was a QuestBridge National College Match Finalist. Faheem was the founder and president of the Computer Science Club, led the Next Level Technology Club, and was a member of the Astronomy Club and Upward Bound. He also interned at the Broad Institute as a computational biologist and is an outreach officer for a non-profit organization that aims to reduce socioeconomic inequity for children across the US. He has also volunteered at the BattleShip Cove and tutors students from across the country. In the future, he would like to help design rockets that take humanity beyond Earth and explore the mysteries of space.

Julia Raposa is the daughter of Kimberly and Brian Raposa of Bullock Street. She will attend
The University Of Tampa in the fall as a double major in Biochemistry and Forensic Science.
Julia has received honors such as the University of Pennsylvania Book Award and the Hero Of
Peace Award. She is also an AP Capstone Candidate. She has been awarded the Club Madeirense Scholarship, Fall River Scholarship Foundation Scholarship, Lions Club Scholarship, Durfee Sports Boosters Scholarship, Southcoast Health Scholarship, Dollars For Scholars Scholarship, The Durfee Alumni Association Scholarship, Edward J. (Jud) Sullivan Scholarship, and Foley Family Scholarship. She was a 5 year member of the Durfee Girls Varsity Soccer Team, Senior Captain being award the Coaches Award and SEC League All Star Honorable Mention, a 2 year member of the Track and Field Team, Social Coordinator of the History Abroad Club, a founding member of Durfee’s first-ever Active Minds/KyleCares Chapter in support of mental health awareness, a Member of National Honor Society, Ski and Snowboard Club, Sixth Man Club, Lacrosse Club, Fall River Youth Soccer and South Coast United Soccer Club. Julia was a scholar in the Early College Program taking 9 college courses at both BCC and BSU, accumulating 29 credits. Julia has also volunteered her time at numerous Durfee Events, Our Lady Of Light Band Events, Day Of Portugal, and Spencer Borden Field Day.

Daiyaan Faruque is the son of Golam Faruque & Shakih Haq of Fountain Street. He will be
attending Johns Hopkins University in the fall and majoring in Electrical Engineering. Daiyaan
was Vice President of the Senior Class, Treasurer of Interact Club and Secretary of the French
Club. He was in the Orchestra and a member of the National Honor Society, Tech Club,
Computer Science Club and Robotics Club. Daiyaan was on the Winter and Spring Track &
Field teams and the Swim team. He was an Early College scholar and was named the Early
College Student of the Year. Daiyann was also an AP Scholar and part of Trio and Upward
Bound. Daiyaan received the Yale Book Award, the Fall River Forward Scholarship, Lions Club
Scholarship, Rotary Club Scholarship, Durfee Alumni Scholarship, and the Salvatore and Maria
Pizzi Foundation Scholarship. He volunteered his time at the Durfee Summer Enrichment Camp (Engineering Section), Annual Craft Fair, Fall River Earth Day Clean Up, and the Orchestra Rental Night. Daiyaan’s future plan is to build a new tech start-up business.

Margaret (Maggie) Carol O’Connell is the daughter of Kara O’Connell of River Street. She
will be running D1 cross country at Seton Hall University and majoring in biochemistry on the
4+3 pre-med track. Maggie maintained straight A’s in all her AP and college level classes
throughout her 4 years at Durfee. She was honored with the Harvard book award, Heroes of
Peace Award, Incredible Student Award, Durfee Sports Boosters Scholarship, Prima Care
scholarship, and the James Holding Memorial Academic Scholarship. Maggie also received an
academic merit scholarship and an athletic scholarship from Seton Hall. Maggie was actively
involved within her school, as the captain of the cross country and basketball teams, player on
the tennis team, member of the history abroad club, national honor society, sixth man club, ski
club, and a founding member of Durfee’s first-ever Active Minds/KyleCares Chapter in support
of mental health awareness. During her freetime, Maggie would often help out at middle school sporting events and Portuguese feasts. She plans on going into med school after graduating from Seton Hall with the hope of becoming a dermatologist.

Chloe Pacheco is the daughter of Peter and Ana Pacheco of Ridgecrest Road. In the fall, she will attend Boston College as a nursing major. Chloe was a member of the Varsity Field Hockey
Team, National Honor Society, Portuguese Club, Durfee History Abroad Club, Sixth Man, Book
Club, and a competitive dancer at Pirouette Dance Academy. She has volunteered for numerous events such as English Classes for Multi-Language Learner (MLL) Families, the annual Day of Portugal Feast, World Portuguese Language Day, Our Lady of Light Band Hall events, and events hosted by Durfee. Chloe received honors such as the Brown University Book Award, Certificate of Academic Excellence from the Massachusetts Association of Superintendents, Excellence in Portuguese Award, St. Anne’s Scholarship, Southcoast Health Scholarship, Fall River Scholarship Foundation Scholarship, Club Madeirense Scholarship, Durfee Alumni Scholarship, Fall River Rotary Club Scholarship, Fall River Forward Scholarship, and the Day of Portugal Scholarship. In the future, she hopes to become a travel nurse in order to travel the world while helping as many people as she possibly can.

Daniel Baez is the son of Efrain Baez and Axa Hernandez of 4th Street. In the fall, he will attend the University of Massachusetts at Amherst majoring in Computer Science. Daniel was a scholar in Durfee’s Early College program and an AP Capstone candidate. He received the Bausch + Lomb Honorary Science Award from the University of Rochester, the John Philip Sousa Band Award, the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship, as well as the Francis L. Charlotte G. Gragnani Scholarship, the Colonel Ronald Silvia, USAF Scholarship, Class of 1954 Scholarship, and Diane J. Silvia Scholarship awarded by the Durfee Alumni Association. Daniel was a member of the Computer Science Club, and a dedicated member of Durfee’s Concert, Marching, and Jazz bands and Symphony Orchestra. His future plans include completing his undergraduate studies and pursuing a career in the field of software engineering while never forgetting his roots in Fall River and Durfee.

Abigail Katherine Comstock is the daughter of Cynthia and Daniel Comstock of Pearce Street. She will attend the University of Massachusetts at Lowell as a Music Performance major. She was part of the Durfee Theater Company in their production of “Matilda the Musical”, works as an artist in a non-profit organization, and is the substitute organist at Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church. Abigail was honored with the Providence College Book award, Frédéric Chopin award, John and Abigail Adams Scholarship, Isabel White Memorial Scholarship, Durfee Alumni Scholarship, Nickels for Notes Scholarship, Bobby Justin Scholarship, Janet S. Phelps Scholarship, and the Dean’s Scholarship from UMass Lowell. She has volunteered to play piano at Charlton Memorial Hospital, and created artwork during her senior year to display in the Keeley Library. In the future, Abigail plans to further her musical education and continue to write and produce original music. She believes that passion and creativity are two of the most valuable things in life, and should never be underestimated.

Olivia Marie DeMello is the daughter of Karen Demello and Robert Demello of Jepson Street
and Ward Street respectively. She will be attending Suffolk University and majoring in Radiation Therapy. Olivia was a member of the National Honor Society, the Interact and Orchestra, for which she was president. She also was part of theater, the select chorus and student government throughout her years at Durfee. Olivia danced for 14 years and participated in community theater with the Marquee Theater Company. Olivia was awarded the Dean’s Scholarship, Gleason Archer Scholarship, Suffolk University’s Trustee Scholarship, as well as the Durfee Alumni Scholarship, Jeanne E. Violette Scholarship, and the Durfee Performing Arts Association Scholarship. Olivia was also a recipient of the George Eastman Young Leaders Book Award, the AP Scholar Award, and the Judy Bento Music Award. Olivia volunteered her time at various music, dance and orchestra related events. As for her future plans, Olivia hopes to work at a cancer institute such as the Dana-Farber institute in Boston, where she can help treat cancer patients with the utmost respect and care.

Happy Zhang is the son of Junzhong Zhang and Shuiyun Xu of Dwelly Street. He will be
attending the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth and majoring in Computer Science. He was a member of Durfee’s Computer Science Club and a student in the Early Education and
Care Career and Technical Education (CTE) Program. Happy received the CTE Student Award,
CTE Presidential Certificate of Merit, John & Abigail Adams Scholarship, Anne and Philip
Potash Memorial Scholarship, Tom Wong Scholarship, and the UMass Dartmouth’s Dean’s
Scholarship. He completed his senior affiliation at Spencer Borden Elementary School and is
employed by the Boys & Girls Club of Fall River. Happy is hoping for a financially stable future
where he will be able to help those with computer issues. His advice for future generations of
Hilltoppers is “to take advantage of your resources, study about financial aid and scholarships,
and always make multiple long and short term plans to achieve your goals.”

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