The Montville Township Board of Education honored the five first quarter ShopRite STARS on November 14, 2023. Pictured are: Superintendent Dr. Thomas Gorman, Sophia Kalliaras (Community Service), Mythri Iyer (Academics), Zachary Siegel (Arts), Armaan Agarwal (Leadership), Michael McGrath (Athletics), and Montville Township Board of Education President Dr. David Modrak.

The Montville Township Public Schools Board of Education welcomed the Montville Township High School ShopRite STARS for the 1st Marking Period of the 2023-2024 school year.  The presentation was made on Tuesday, November 14, 2023.

MTHS ShopRite STARS are nominated by faculty members in one of five different categories. The winners are selected by an administrative committee. Photos of the honored students are displayed in the MTHS office and at Sunrise ShopRite in Parsippany. In addition, Sunrise ShopRite will generously donate $1,000 to the Class of 2024. 

Assistant principal Kenneth Nadzak introduced the outstanding MTHS students.

Mythri Iyer was honored in the field of Academics.

“Mythri is described by the numerous teachers who nominated her for this award as ‘incredibly gifted,’ ‘selfless’ and ‘the future of our medical industry,’” Nadzak said. “Mythri has taken advantage of basically every opportunity she has had to further her knowledge and experience in science and medicine, despite only being a senior in high school.” 

Iyer volunteers at the Chilton Medical Center, Valley Hospital, American Cancer Society and Montville First Aid Squad.  In addition, Iyer is attending EMT school, which occupies up to 15 hours per week of her time. 

“Last year,” Nadzak continued, “Mythri was selected by Rutgers as the Waksman Student Scholar where she had the experience of conducting research in molecular biology and presenting the findings.” 

“Mythri was,” Nadzak noted, “selected as the TA of her class last year and took great pride in helping her classmates conduct research or better understand concepts, even late into most evenings.” 

During the past two years, Iyer has been a part of Columbia University’s science honors program, which organizes enrichment classes each Sunday. 

Other accomplishments include being a USA Biology Olympiad Semifinalist and Bronze Medalist, AP Scholar with Distinction, National Merit Commended Scholar, last year’s winner of the MTHS Research in Molecular Biology Symposium, current President of the French Honors Society and HOSA, which is a club specifically created for those who wish to pursue a career in the medical field, and recipient of the New Jersey Seal of Biliteracy in French. 

“Mythri has been able to accomplish all of this while also maintaining a 4.6+ GPA, a truly exceptional achievement,” Nadzak concluded.

Iyer plans to pursue a major in medicine. 

Michael McGrath was honored in the field of Athletics.

“Michael was a key reason for the football team’s success this year,” Nadzak said, “ending the season with a winning record and a stunning victory over Parsippany Hills in the Playoffs.  Although the season ended with a tough loss, Michael’s leadership and determination inspired the team to keep battling even when defeat seemed certain.” 

McGrath’s football career began in 2nd grade with the Montville Township Recreation Broncos team. By 8th grade, McGrath was selected to participate in the All-Star game, an exhibition match which aims to highlight the top players. 

“Because of the talent he showcased for years on the Broncos and during the All-Star game, Michael was recruited to play football at a high achieving catholic school, but his heart belonged to Montville,” Nadzak explained.

In his sophomore year, McGrath joined his brother, Brian, on the Montville Township High School varsity football team.

“By junior year, Michael was establishing himself into one of the stars of our team,” continued Nadzak. “During this time, Michael was also selected to join the Silk City Elite Football Club, a private team that travels the country to play in exhibition games.  Also as a junior, Michael joined the track team in an effort to continue developing his speed and endurance in the offseason.” 

McGrath also participated in soccer, wrestling and basketball on various recreational and travel teams. 

“Michael’s true passion continued to be football,” Nadzak added. “During this year as Senior Captain, Michael had a kick return average of over 20 yards, something the Giants desperately need, 30 offensive touches for over 200 yards and was named as the 1st Team All-Liberty Division Returner.”

McGrath is still applying to colleges, but plans to continue his football career in the fall. 

Zachary Siegel was honored in the field of the Arts.

“It is truly rare for a student to willingly give up their lunch to complete work for a class they are not actively taking, but that is the best way to describe what Zach is doing currently,” Nadzak said.  “During the past four years, Zach has taken a variety of art classes and excelled in each.  Last year in particular, Zach created some incredible ceramic artwork which was entered into the New Jersey State Fair in August.  At this event, attended by almost half a million people, Zach received a 1st Place Award in the Ceramics and Applied Arts Division and a Special Award for Outstanding Achievements in the Home and Hobby Division.  Zach’s artwork also won him an award for ‘Best in Home Economics Handicrafts,’ which was paired with a scholarship at the Peters Valley School of Crafts.  Although Zach is not taking Ceramics III until the 2nd Semester, he uses time during lunch to continue working on some exceptional art pieces.” 

Nadzak also noted that Siegel has a passion for helping people, particularly through the medical industry. 

“Currently Zach is a Cadet EMT on the Montville First Aid Squad and achieved CPR and AED certification through the American Heart Association.  Additionally, Zach was one of only a few high school students selected to attend the Georgetown Hoya Summer Emergency Medical Program this past summer.”

Siegel also participated on the MTHS baseball and football teams during his freshmen and sophomore years.  

With a 4.2+ GPA, Siegel is still applying to colleges, but plans to pursue a degree and career in the medical field.  

Sophia Kalliaras was honored in the field of Community Service.

“The origin of Sophia’s extensive experience serving the community is deeply personal and exceptionally admirable,” Nadzak said. “Since Kindergarten, Sophia has been a Girl Scout and even recently earned her Gold Award which requires at least 80 hours of service.  Sophia’s primary work led to a partnership between MTHS and Be the Match, a nonprofit organization that maintains a registry of marrow and blood stem cell donors, then facilitates the connection between donor and patient.  A tremendous amount of work was required to gain approval for a Be the Match event at MTHS and Sophia was instrumental in marketing the program.  In order for Be the Match to be successful, Sophia created a presentation, then spoke with each senior last year to raise awareness of the organization and benefits of being a marrow or blood stem cell donor.  Sophia’s work led to changes in our health curriculum to incorporate information about the Be the Match registry and its potential to save lives.  More importantly, 62 people including senior students and faculty, volunteered to be donors at last year’s event.  Sophia’s tenacity, perseverance and dedication to such an amazing organization means that more lives might be saved, like her Mom who was diagnosed with leukemia and needed a stem cell transplant in order to be saved.  The transplant occurred this past June and Sophia was the donor.  Mom is now in remission and I’d like to pause here to offer a round of applause for that incredibly positive news.” 

In addition to working towards saving lives, Kalliaras is the Vice President of Relay for Life, an active participant of REACH, Make-A-Wish, and Missy’s Miracle. Kalliaras is also on the MTHS Varsity Girls Soccer Team, Team Manager of Varsity Softball, and an inductee into the National Honor Society. 

Kalliaras is still applying to colleges and plans to major in Accounting. 

Armaan Agarwal was honored in the field of Leadership.

Although I am going to share individual accomplishments in a moment,” Nadzak began, “it is important to point out that Armaan’s leadership of several local and state organizations impacts the lives of thousands.  This impressive feat while still a high school student is one of the many reasons why Armaan is truly special.  In his junior year, Armaan was one of only 32 students selected to serve as a peer leader of PAL, a club that he is now Co-President of and responsible for tasks such as running new student orientation, promoting mental health and mentoring incoming freshmen.  Last year, Armaan was the only junior on a team of six seniors to conduct economics research which was submitted to the Federal Reserve for publication, work which earned an ‘Honorable Mention’ in the Journal for Future Economists.  Like PAL, Armaan is now President of our Federal Reserve Club, ultimately responsible for selecting the team members and leading research.  Armaan, however, is most well-known for his work in FBLA where he serves simultaneously as the Vice President at MTHS and at the Northern Region of the New Jersey FBLA.  In this capacity, Armaan is responsible for organizing conferences, workshops and other events for 6,500 members throughout the state.” 

Agarwal is a National Merit Commended Scholar, recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award through SEWA, a Hindu faith-based service organization, Captain of the Varsity Boys Soccer Team, inductee into the French Honor Society and National Honor Society, and the State Champion of Lincoln Douglas Debate. 

While still applying to colleges, Agarwal plans to major in Business. 

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.