MONTVILLE, NJ – The fourth marking period Montville Township High School ShopRite Stars were announced at the May 16 Montville Township Board of Education meeting. The students were nominated by faculty, and the winners were selected by an administrative committee. High school administration was thankful to Sunrise ShopRite of Parsippany for their generous $1,000 donation towards Project Graduation, a drug- and alcohol-free event held on the evening of graduation.
Zara Aamer was honored in the academics category.
“Zara was nominated by various teachers, all who categorized her as an exemplary student and an excellent role model,” said teacher Guida Faria.
“Zara takes great pride in her academics by working diligently to continuously improve and deepen her understanding of challenging concepts as well as assisting her peers. Academically, Zara has challenged herself by taking a total of 11 AP level classes, all while maintaining a cumulative 4.7 GPA. Aside from her academic success, Zara’s compassion and kind-heartedness are evident in the various charity work she does, such as working with a local soup kitchen, organizing activities for the youth group at her mosque, and being an instructor at Mathnasium, where she first started as a volunteer. She is also part of the Northern New Jersey chapter of the volunteer group called The Citizen’s Foundation, which helps to build and run schools for poor children in Pakistan. This fall, Zara will be attending Cornell University.”
Nick DePasquale was honored in athletics.
“Nick has played lacrosse since fifth grade and is a defensive starter this season,” Faria said.
“Nick has shown that with hard work and determination anything is possible,” she said. “In December of 2015, Nick tore his ACL while playing off-season lacrosse and later had surgery. After his surgery, Nick was told that he may not be cleared to play lacrosse again. However, he set a goal to be able to play again, and through determination and a lot of hard work, Nick was able to strengthen his knee and was cleared to play again his senior year. He is one of the hardest-working senior leaders on the lacrosse team and one of the most selfless, always working towards the team goals rather than his own.
“Aside from being a role model for hard work, he also likes to spread his love of lacrosse by volunteering at the annual youth lacrosse camp. Additionally, he has volunteered with the Special Olympics for the past five years and finds it very satisfying to see children with special needs have a great time competing in a sport they might never have the chance to play. Since fifth grade, Nick has been the man of the house, which is why it will be particularly hard this fall when leaves for James Madison University in Virginia.”
Catherine Tsilionis was honored in the arts category.
“Catherine is the lead bass player and a singer for Montville Township High School School of Rock,” Faria said. “In addition to being a very talented bassist, she has an amazing voice and has covered songs by popular singers such as Gwen Stefani, Beyoncé, and Sara Bareilles. The comfort level with which Catherine expresses herself across complex key and time changes would impress even the most seasoned artists.
“As president of the School of Rock, she has realized that leadership roles often involve service to others. She has worked meticulously and tirelessly to plan School of Rock’s benefit concerts which have helped a number of nonprofit organizations including Homeless Bus, Emma’s Angels, Eleventh Hour Rescue, the Montville Drug Awareness Council, the Montville Educational Foundation, and the Carol G. Simon Foundation. This fall, Catherine will be attending Loyola University in Maryland.”
Samantha Grossman was honored for her leadership.
Faria called Grossman the “driving force” behind MTTV, the high school’s weekly video news report.
“Samantha provides leadership to underclassmen in many areas including technical expertise and artistic direction. She spends numerous hours capturing and editing video, establishing work schedules, and being the final check for every moment that gets broadcast throughout the school and via YouTube. Samantha has established an institutional memory to ensure that MTTV continues after she graduates and maintains the same high quality news segments. She has been integral in the rising of MTTV and her legacy will continue to thrive even after she graduates.
“In addition to MTTV, she is a member of marching band and film club which recently had a winning entry in the Montville Film Festival. This fall, Samantha will be attending Ithaca College in New York.”
Sara Schneiderman was honored in the field of community service.
“Sara has been both a secretary and a co-president for the Gay-Straight Alliance where she has shown herself to be a conscientious, diligent community member who values inclusivity and acceptance for all,” Faria said. “She is also an active member of Robotics, Peers as Leaders, International Concerns Club, and Interact; all extracurricular activities focused on service to others.
“In addition to her volunteer work through school, Sara also volunteers every Sunday at temple, where she teaches the Hebrew alphabet and culture to first graders. She also does work through various foundations including the New Jersey Foundation for the Blind, which helps visually impaired adults become independent. Recently, the foundation moved to a new location and Sara helped the patients get acquainted to the new spaces. Sara feels deeply about all that she does and is constantly looking for ways to help others. This fall, Sara too will be attending Ithaca College in New York.”