SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Spotswood High School senior Jessica Addesso was honored on Sunday at the 34th Annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day at Seton Hall University. Addesso was one of nearly 200 student athletes from high schools throughout the Garden State to be nominated to attend the event, which was sponsored by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association.

"This celebration inspires girls and women to play and be active, to realize their full power," said Spotswood High School Athletic Director Michael DelAlversano. "The confidence, strength and character gained through sports participation are the very tools girls and women need to become strong leaders in sports and life."

Addesso was nominated by her longtime basketball coach Vincent Vizzi. The final selection was made by the Spotswood High School Athletic Department. Addesso was the first student athlete from Spotswood High School to attend a National Girls and Women in Sports Day celebration.

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"Jessica is a great student who has taken on a true leadership role this year on the basketball team," DelAversano added.

"When I found out about this award by the NJSIAA, I was honored to make some nominations to represent Spotswood High School," Vizzi said. "Ultimately I am very happy Jessica was able to represent our school. After listening to the opening remarks from Sunday's luncheon, Jessica checked off many, if not all the characteristics that were described. As a female athlete she is a role model, a leader in the community and a passionate competitor."

Vizzi has coached Addesso on the court since sixth grade when he coached the Memorial Middle School girls basketball team before moving over to the high school's girls basketball program. Addesso was a four-year varsity starter on the court and also ran cross country and track for the Chargers.

"Over the course of her basketball career, she has evolved into a complete player," Vizzi continued. "At a young age Jessica was always a scorer, but over the years, she has become more than just a shooter. Jess worked hard to improve on the defensive side of the ball and that is a testament to her striving for more success."
 

Addesso took her first basketball coach with her to Sunday's luncheon at Seton Hall University; her father David. David Addesso was his daughter's first coach when she was a kindergartner, teaching her the basics of the game she loves.
 
"I'm so proud of Jessica for the young woman she has become," David Addesso said. "And also the leader she has developed into on and off the court."
 
DelAversano and Vizzi also attended the event along with Addesso and her father. National Girls and Women in Sports Day started in the late 80s. The first event was held in 1987 as a way to recognize women's achievements in sports. Since then, the event has grown to incorporate the positive influence participation in athletics has for young women as well as the continuing fight for equality for women in athletics.
 
"Representing Spotswood was an honor," Addesso said. "Playing basketball for Coach Vizzi over the years has made me into the person I am today. I'm proud to be a role model to younger female athletes."
 
"As a captain to the basketball program this year, Jessica has exemplified what it means to be a role model," Vizzi added. "She honestly cares about each member of our team and is constantly looking for ways to help her teammates on and off the court. Her being a recipient of this award is an honor that is well-deserved!"