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 Third Quarter ShopRite Stars for the 2022-2023 school year. They have been honored both by Sunrise ShopRite in Parsippany, and MTHS. The five 3rd Quarter ShopRite STARS are: Karl Monaco, Leadership; Sarina Dang, Community Service; Grace Kowalski, Athletics; Laura Justnes, Arts; and Gabriella Giudice, Academics.

Five seniors were named Third Quarter ShopRite Stars for the 2022-2023 school year. They have been honored both by Sunrise ShopRite in Parsippany, and MTHS. The five 3rd Quarter ShopRite STARS are: Karl Monaco, Leadership; Sarina Dang, Community Service; Grace Kowalski, Athletics; Laura Justnes, Arts; and Gabriella Giudice, Academics.

The Montville Township Public Schools Board of Education welcomed the Montville Township High School ShopRite STARS for the 3rd Marking Period of the 2022-2023 school year.  The presentation was made on April 25, 2023.

Assistant principal Kenneth Nadzak introduced the outstanding MTHS students.

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

In addition to the recognition of these students, Sunrise ShopRite in Parsippany, New Jersey, will generously donate $1,000 to the Class of 2023.  The 2022-2023 school year marks the 22nd year of participation in this incredible program.

“In the field of Academics, congratulations goes to Gabriella Giudice,” Nadzak announced. 

According to her teachers (both current and former), Giudice is one of the most humble, talented and well-rounded students they have ever had the pleasure of teaching.” 

Giudice maintains a 4.2+ GPA, “but this number does not capture the full picture of how hard Gabby works or how passionate she is about learning,” Nadzak noted. “While the Honors and AP-level classes she has taken are impressive, we are also proud of her other contributions to MTHS.  For example, Gabby is Co-President of REACH, a mentor for Pathways and volunteer for the Meals on Wheels Program and Elijah’s Promise Soup Kitchen, which are incredible organizations whose missions are to feed those in need.  Gabby has also volunteered her time at the Chelsea Assisted Living Facility, particularly on Bingo Nights.” 

In addition to her community service, Giudice is the President of Italian Honor Society, an inductee into the National Honor Society, and a member of the MTHS Varsity Girls Soccer Team.”

Giudice’s passion for business is particularly noteworthy. She is also a member of FBLA, and was recently part of a team that placed third in the Parliamentary Procedures State Leadership Conference, which qualified them for the National Leadership Conference. 

Giudice will attend the University of Michigan, and plans to major in Economics and minor in Business.  

“In the field of Athletics, congratulations to goes to Grace Kowalski,” said Nadzak.  

For the past three years, Kowalski has been the shortstop and Captain of the MTHS Girls’ Softball Team. 

“For the past two years, Grace has also been the point guard and Captain for the MTHS Girls’ Basketball Team,” added Nadzak. “Both of the Softball and Basketball teams have been incredibly successful, in part because of Grace’s leadership, talent and determination.” 

During her athletic career at MTHS, Kowalski helped win the school’s 1st county titles for softball and basketball and has won two conference titles in basketball and one conference title in softball. 

“This basketball season, Grace surpassed 1,000 career points,” explained Nadzak. “She also earned 1st team All-Conference honors for two consecutive years in basketball and softball, and also made the All-County Team three years in a row for basketball and last year for softball.”

Kowalski was selected to the NJ All-Group 3 Second Team.

“To round out her senior year in athletics,” Nadzak noted, “Grace was chosen to play in the North/South Senior All-Star game.” 

Kowalski inspires young girls in the Montville Township community, by training future players and helping them develop skills, build confidence and leadership characteristics.

“Her dedication to the game helps other develop a love for the game,” Nadzak said. 

In addition to time spent on the field or court, Kowalski has been able to maintain a 4.0+ GPA. She is also a member of the National Honor Society and is on the leadership committee for the MTHS Yearbook. 

Kowalski will attend TCNJ. There she will play basketball for the Lions and major in Statistics. 

“In the field of the Arts, congratulations to Laura Justnes,” Nadzak announced. 

During her entire MTHS career, Justnes has been a very active part of the arts department.

The senior has been in the Women’s Choir and Chamber Choir since freshman year, and the Tri-M Music Honor Society for the last three years. She is also the 2022-2023 Choir Vice-President and was recently selected to be in the new MTHS acapella group, MPulse.

“Laura is also the President of the Montville Theatre Company and was the student director and assistant vocal director for this year’s Spring Musical, ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,’” Nadzak explained.

The Assistant Principal noted that Justnes’ involvement in the spring musical provided her with the unique opportunity to teach 4th through 6th graders in the children’s choir. 

“Laura was also the stage manager for the Lazar performance of ‘The Music Man, Jr.,’” Nadzak added. 

Outside of MTHS, Justnes is a member of NJSMA Region 1 Honor Choir, the NJMEA All-State Choir where she was a soloist, and the Morris Area Honor Choir where she was ranked the #1 Soprano 2, placing her as section leader.  Additionally, she was selected as only one of five Soprano 2s from New Jersey to be part of the NAfME All-Eastern Mixed Choir, where she was also selected to perform a solo in one of their songs. 

“When not performing, Laura works at Calandras as a hostess where she sometimes gets to perform with the professional singers,” noted Nadzak.

Outside of her accomplishments in the Arts, Justnes maintains a 4.4+ GPA, is a member of the National Honor Society, has played Varsity Field Hockey for two years, and was recently published to NCBI (National Center for Biological Information) for the research she conducted through her ResMol class. 

After graduation, Justnes plans to study Medical Laboratory Science. She plans to be a Biology teacher. 

Sarina Dang was named in the field of Community Service.

“Our school and local community is a better place because of Sarina’s selfless contributions,” explained Nadzak.  “Two years ago, Sarina was nominated to attend a Youth Wellness Conference which became the impetus for a club on campus focusing on improving students’ mental health.  Today, the Mental Health Initiative Club, of which Sarina is co-founder and co-President, has already led to real, positive and impactful change in the building.” 

Dang also volunteers her time in annual community cleanups, healthcare walks, and at organizations such as Pathways. She is also President of the MTHS Relay for Life Club, which has over 90 members.

During the pandemic, Dang founded a Letters for Rose chapter. Currently, she is a Co-Leader, and is President of Peers as Leaders, where she assists in planning and running the New Student Orientation. 

“In addition, Sarina is a Montville Youth Softball Summer Camp Counselor, has been a Girl Scout since kindergarten, and is a member of many clubs, including: the International Concerns Club, National Honor Society, and French Honor Society,” Nadzak continued.

Outside of her volunteer work, Dang is an accomplished member of several debate teams, including: the MTHS Forensics team, speech competitor in DUO Interpretation; two time National Catholic Forensics League Qualifier; an Octofinalist at the Harvard Forensics Competition this past February; and was ranked 4th overall at the Forensics State Championships in March. 

Dang maintains a 4.3+ GPA, is Captain of the Field Hockey and Softball teams, served as Student Council Vice President for four years, and is a Student Ambassador for most MTHS events. 

A senior, Dang plans to pursue a major in Political Science on a pre-law path. 

Karl Monaco was named in the field of Leadership.

“For anyone who knew Karl’s athletic talents prior to this year,” Nadzak noted, “he was poised to have a remarkable senior year on the baseball and wrestling teams. During Karl’s junior year in baseball, he was the leadoff hitter with an average of just under .400, which helped the team get off to a 13-3 start and was a major reason why our Mustangs competed in the section final.  Additionally, during his junior year in wrestling, Karl had a 22-2 season and finished 5th place in the region.  As a wrestler, Karl’s proudest accomplishment was being a starter for the first MTHS team to win a group championship.  Unfortunately, an injury effectively ended our hopes of seeing Karl excel on the field or on the mat this year.  Rather than give in to adversity, Karl persevered and found a new, perhaps more important role; leader.” 

Monaco is the Captain of the varsity baseball and wrestling teams. As Captain, he shows up to every practice, every match and every tournament to support his team and be a role model to his peers. 

“Unfortunately, we will all face challenges,” Nadzak continued, “but we are defined in part by how we respond in the face of adversity.  Karl became stronger, more focused and more determined to make a positive impact on the team.”

Monaco maintains a 4.1+ GPA, and is known as a tireless worker, who always put forth his best effort during any lesson or on any assessment. 

“Karl’s is a shining example of what is means to be a leader,” added Nadzak.  “In the fall, Karl will attend Columbia University, wrestle with their Division I Lions, and major in Business.”

The ShopRite STARS program is sponsored by Sunrise ShopRite of Parsippany. MTHS has been involved with the program for twenty-two 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 annually donates $1,000 to the MTHS graduating class’ senior activities.