WAYNE, NJ - Wayne Valley’s Steven Simonetti was honored as the school’s NJSIAA Scholar Athlete of the Year. This prestigious nomination is awarded to one student athlete who is a senior, a varsity athlete, holds a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 and “exhibits outstanding school and community citizenship,” according to the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association.
“It was a surprise to me,” said Simonetti. “I was very honored to be given this award and very happy.”
Dave Drozjock, the Athletic Director for Wayne Valley had high praise for Simonetti: “Steven is the ultimate student athlete,” he said. “Throughout his career at Wayne Valley I would see him doing schoolwork in the hallways while he was waiting for practice to start. He has the self-discipline to put the extra time in to study and practice more and inspires his teammates to do more.”
Drozjock added: “Steven inspires me every day to give my best, to do more, and to always be respectful and friendly. We are going to miss him greatly at Wayne Valley.”
Simonetti held a 3.55 GPA throughout his four years at Wayne Valley, and was a three-sport student who played football, basketball and volleyball, earning varsity letters in all three sports. He was also a member of the National Honor Society and became an Eagle Scout for Wayne's troop 108.
The highlight of his athletic career was in his senior year when Simonetti started as an Offensive Tackle and played an integral role in his team winning the 2019 State Championship.
“In a way, for me, it was poetic, because in my freshman years, Coach called up some of the freshman guys to join the team in the ride up to MetLife four years ago,” he said. “So, it was nice that my first experience with the varsity team and my last experience with them began and ended at MetLife Stadium.”
Winning the Junior Varsity County Championship in Basketball was also a great memory for the Valley senior, and so was winning the Passaic County Championship in Volleyball, both of which happened in his Junior year.
“Coach [Jason] Carcich is a great coach and a great guy,” Simonetti said with obvious affection for his Volleyball coach. Like [Head Basketball] Coach [Joe] Leicht, Coach Carcich had a straight-to-the-point style, which I like, but Carcich liked to have a little fun with it as well. He can teach us, get us to work and still be able to bring some humor to practice.”
His favorite teacher is Dennis Carroll, who taught AP Government. “He made everything interesting because he was always on top of the current news, and he was always neutral,” said the scholar athlete. “In his mind, if you were going to have a certain view, you needed to understand why you had them. So, no matter what side of a subject you were on, Mr. Carroll would challenge you from the other side just to make you think it completely through. And all the kids loved that of him because he made us all think.”
Simonetti was asked about his overall experience at Wayne Valley. “I loved the last four years,” he said. The experience at Wayne Valley allowed me to become myself, to branch out, meet new people, engage in different things. And, it allowed me to play sports, which I loved.”
The Valley Senior be attending Rowan University but is undecided as far as a major.
“I was hoping to do something in Medicine or Engineering, or maybe both in biomedical engineering, but I’m not really sure right now,” he said.”
When he learned that he was given this award, it came via a screenshot sent to him by his volleyball coach, Jason Carcich that showed the post on the school’s social media sites. Simonetti’s first reaction was to run to his Dad and show him the achievement.
“Other than the coaches and my teammates and friends at school, I would like to thank my parents for raising me right,” he said. “They helped me so much in becoming the person I am today. I don’t know where I would be without them.”