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Five MTHS Students Receive Recognition for Excellence in Academics, Athletics, Arts, Community Service and Leadership

1st Quarter Shop Rite Stars 2021-2022

The Montville Township Board of Education (BOE) honored 5 seniors of the Montville Township High School Class of 2022 for their outstanding dedication. The five were named as 2021-2022 First Quarter ShopRite STARS. Assistant Principal, Kenneth Nadzak, introduced the students to the members of the BOE, and the community at large. The five seniors, each with extraordinary achievements during their four years at MTHS, have displayed dedication and passion for helping others. Each has had a positive and lasting impact on MTHS and the community beyond.

“Tonight’s STARS were nominated by faculty members in one of five different categories,” Nadzak explained. “The winners were selected by an administrative committee.” 

Sunrise ShopRite in Parsippany sponsors the ShopRite STARS initiative at MTHS. In addition to the recognition of five students each academic quarter, Sunrise ShopRite also annually donates $1,000 to the MTHS Senior Class.

“In the field of Academics, congratulations to Serge Kuznetsov,” Nadzak said. 

During his four years at MTHS, Kuznetsov has made remarkable contributions to the MTHS Community.  As President of Forensics, he holds a Degree of Distinction from the National Speech and Debate Honor Society. In 2020-2021, he was ranked 6th in the state at Original Oratory and went to octofinals in two categories at the state tournament.  As Co-President of the Computer Club, he programmed the Robotic Team’s robot each of the last four years, and is a National Cyber Scholarship Finalist and received Congressional Recognition for his submission in the Congressional App Challenge, where he even had an opprotunity to meet Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11). 

“Serge maintains an impressive 4.5 GPA, and is also President of Film Club, first violin in the Chamber Orchestra, a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society and National Honor Society, National Merit Scholar Semifinalist and AP Scholar with Honor,” Nadzak added.

Kuznetsov plans to major in Computer Science and Cybersecurity. 

“In the field of Athletics, congratulations to Gina Marotta,” Nadzak said as he introduced the next recipient. 

Marotta has earned a reputation from teammates as being “the quintessential team player,” Nadzak explained. “She is driven and hardworking, but incredibly modest, which is perhaps a reason why she received the Varsity Lacrosse Unsung Hero Award last season.  Unsung no more, Gina is not only a Varsity starter on the Field Hockey and Lacrosse teams this season, she is also the Captain.” 

The senior’s strong athletic talent on the field has been recognized this year through the Mustang of the Week Award, and her ranking as one of the Top 100 Senior Field Hockey players in the state. Marotta’s dedication to these sports continues off the field as a volunteer Field Hockey Coach in Montville Township, and volunteer Lacrosse Coach in Mountain Lakes, NJ. 

“In addition to coaching, Gina has participated in fundraisers each of the past four years where proceeds go directly to cancer research,” noted Nadzak. 

Marotta plans to major in Communications and continue playing Lacrosse at the collegiate level. 

“In the field of the Arts, congratulations to Jake Cassidy,” Nadzak said. “Jake’s passion and dedication for music is unmatched, and he has had an incredible impact on our entire Arts Department over the past four years.” 

Cassidy is a member of Percussion Ensemble Chamber Band, lead drumset player in Jazz Band, Historian of the Tri-M Music Honor Society, Co-President and lead drummer of School of Rock, and Percussion Captain of Marching Band. 

“Away from music, Jake is a Cadet for the Montville Township First Aid Squad, Mascot for the Towaco Civic Association, Member of Peers as Leaders, REACH and Pathways, Community Liaison of the Student Activities Council, Recipient of a prestigious Character Counts Award, Inductee of the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society, and 2021 Delegate for American Legion Jersey Boys State Session,” explained Nadzak. 

“On a personal note,” Nadzak added, “Jake was an essential part of our MTHS Peer Coaching Program last year; he served as a mentor to students struggling with virtual instruction.” 

Cassidy plans to major in Biology or Biomedical Sciences. 

“In the field of Community Service, congratulations to Grace Laurito,” Nadzak announced, adding: “There is no cause too big or small; if help is needed, Grace will be there to lend support.  During freshman year, Grace became an essential member of School of Rock.  Through performances and other fundraising efforts, Grace has assisted in raising money for dozens of charitable causes including homelessness, cancer and victims of domestic violence.  At the very beginning of the pandemic, Grace volunteered her time to a joint effort between NJIT and Morris County to make face shields for first responders.  During this past summer, Grace worked at Pasta Volo in Asbury Park, which partnered with two local organizations; Fulfill and Asbury Park Dinner Table.  Together, they made and donated over 400 weekly meals to those in need of food.”

Nadzak concluded Laurito’s introduction with: “Grace is caring and selfless, and has the spirit, determination and passion to change our community in positive and long-lasting ways.” 

Laurito plans to major in Criminal Justice or Social Work.

“In the field of Leadership, congratulations to Daniel Arena,” Nadzak said. 

“Through many of his actions, Daniel has been a de facto student leader since he began appearing in his brother’s virtual morning announcements during the early portion of the COVID lockdown,” Nadzak noted. “As the SAC President this year, Daniel has worked tirelessly to plan events to kick off the year such as our Fall Pep Rally, Senior Tailgate and Homecoming Court.”

In light of the unusual circumstances his peers have faced during the pandemic, Arena is energized and inspired to make Class of 2022 events extremely meaningful. 

Arena further demonstrates his leadership qualities through participation in clubs such as DECA, Make-A-Wish and Peer Mentoring. Additionally he is on the Varsity Basketball and Golf teams and a member of the National Honor Society. 

Arena plans to decide on a major in the near future. 

The ShopRite STARS program is sponsored by Sunrise ShopRite of Parsippany. MTHS has been involved with the program for over 17 years.

The ShopRite STARS Awards are designed to recognize the most consistently active and engaged students in a school population. Students are chosen each marking period throughout the school year. Seniors are nominated for consistent and outstanding performance during their four year high school career. The MTHS ShopRite STARS have their photos displayed on a plaque in the school and also at the Parsippany Sunrise ShopRite. Sunrise ShopRite donates $1,000 to the MTHS graduating class’ senior activities annually.

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CAPTION (Photo Sue Marinello)

Five Montville Township High School students received recognition for excellence in Academics, Athletics, Arts, Community Service and Leadership at a recent Montville Township Board of Education Meeting. The five were named First Quarter ShopRite Stars and have been honored both by Sunrise ShopRite in Parsippany, and MTHS. Congratulations to: Daniel Arena, Leadership; Grace Laurito, Community Service; Jake Cassidy, Arts; Gina Marotta, Athletics; and Serge Kuznetsov, Academics! 

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