NORTH CALDWELL, NJ - West Essex High School Principal Gary Suda has announced that the following are the fourth marking period ShopRite STARS winners for the 2014-15 school year: Roseland junior Bethany Hou for academics; Roseland senior John Frangione for the Arts; Fairfield senior Roberto LoCascio for Athletics; Roseland senior Elizabeth Sohn for Leadership; and Roseland senior Kelly Smith for Service to the Community.
The ShopRite STARS program was created in 1999 by Ned Gladstein, the owner of the West Caldwell ShopRite, to recognize the accomplishments of West Essex High School students.
Each marking period, Suda asks the high school staff members to nominate students for the ShopRite Stars program by recognizing their accomplishments in academics, the arts, athletics, leadership and service to the community. Each student winner has their photograph displayed in the High School main office and in the West Caldwell ShopRite. ShopRite also makes a $1,000 award toward Project Graduation.
All five students said they are honored to be selected for this prestigious award.
Hou, who has a 4.65 GPA, has never received a grade below an "A" on her transcript. She is a National Merit finalist who received a perfect score on the math section of the PSAT. She took two AP classes last year, is taking five this year and has registered for six AP classes next year. Hou plays the oboe and snare drum and has played with the New Jersey Youth Symphony, the North Jersey Area Band, the Essex County Honors Band and the Caldwell College Honors Band. At West Essex, she is a member of the marching band, wind ensemble, indoor percussion group and woodwind quintet.
Frangione has developed a passion for technical theater after volunteering his time to work on his numerous West Essex High School shows. He started back when he was in the eighth grade and has been involved ever since. John is a member of the West Essex Masquers. He specializes in lighting and sound, but has explored all aspects of technical theater. Last year, he was nominated for the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Award for outstanding light design in the Masquers' production of "Guys & Dolls." He has also volunteered to do lighting design for several area theaters including the Barn Theatre in Montville and the Oskar Schindler Performing Arts Center in West Orange. He also volunteered as crew manager for the second annual "Cabaret for A Cause." John plans to study theater design production at Fairleigh Dickinson University in the fall.
LoCascio, a three-sport standout athlete, has played on the varsity level of the West Essex High School football, wrestling and lacrosse teams since he was a freshman. He served as captain of all three sports teams this year. On May 12, Roberto was honored as a 2014-15 Essex County Scholar Athlete by the Essex County Athletic Director Association. He was also honored as the Essex County Chapter of the National Football Foundation's Scholar Athlete representative from West Essex. This is the 50th anniversary of the award and it is given to one player from each of the 27 football schools in Essex County who demonstrates leadership, dedication, and excellence in the field, in the classroom and in the community. LoCascio was also one of 57 New Jersey football players awarded the Mini Max award by the Maxwell Football Club this past January. LoCascio played on a lacrosse travel team during his sophomore and junior years. He was captain of the lacrosse and wrestling teams as a junior. LoCascio has signed his letter of intent to play lacrosse at Villanova University this fall.
Sohn is a founding member and president of the West Essex SADD group or Students Against Destructive Decisions, vice president of the Chinese Club and a member and vice president of the Chinese Honor Society. She helped plan the High School Chinese New Year Festival, participated in the DECA state competition and is the High School Choir Council President. Sohn plans to study liberal arts at New York University in the fall.
Smith is a member of the Roseland Municipal Youth Advisory Committee and volunteers her time regularly at several area soup kitchens. She chaired the "Bring Dinner Home Coat & Book Drive" this past fall benefiting the students and families of Camden Street Elementary School in Newark. She not only organized the drive, but also orchestrated drop off locations at her local church, the town hall, gym and library, making weekly trips to each location to collect and sort donations. She is a member of the West Essex High School Track & Field team. Smith plans to attend the Merchant Marine Academy in the fall.