PALLONE RECOGNIZES OUTSTANDING HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS AT SPRING AWARDS RECEPTION

May 10, 2017

New Brunswick, NJ --- U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) today announced the recipients of the prestigious Congressional Award, this year’s U.S. Service Academy nominees and the winners of the 2017 Sixth Congressional District High School Arts Competition at a Congressional Awards Ceremony.  Students representing several local high schools were honored at the reception, held at Rutgers University.  In addition, distinguished guests discussed the importance of the fields recognized.

Rebecca Lucas, Executive Director of Literacy Volunteers of Monmouth County, spoke about the value of community service and volunteerism and the benefits it has on the entire community.

Former Army Captain Sue Fulton, spoke about the value of military service and commitment to serving our great nation.

Amanda Potter, Curator of Education and Interpretation at Zimmerli Art Museum, spoke about the role of the arts in education and the benefits of encouraging young artists.

Pallone honored the 2017 recipients of the Congressional Award.  Created by his predecessor, the late U.S. Rep. Jim Howard, the Congressional Award recognizes the initiative, achievement and volunteer services of young people.  The recipients are listed below:

Bronze Congressional Award Recipient:

  • Felicia Aschettino of Communications High School
  • Esha M. Patel of Rutgers University
  • Chandrasheker Tiruchirapalli Venkatramani of John P. Stevens High School

Silver Congressional Award Recipient:

  • Felicia Aschettino of Communications High School
  • Alexandra Buccine of Marlboro High School

Gold Congressional Award Recipients:

  • Felicia Aschettino of Communications High School
  • Madilyn Somers of Shore Regional High School

The New Jersey Congressman also honored the twenty nine (29) candidates he nominated to the U.S. Service Academies.  Pallone congratulated each for their dedication and wished them all luck in their future endeavors.  The nominees are as follows:

U.S. Air Force Academy

  • Michael Benigno of Marlboro High School & Brookdale Community College
  • Phillip R. Meehan of Raritan High School
  • Alyssa Naused of Old Bridge High School
  • Stephen O’Keefe of Colts Neck High School
  • Eric Ozga of St. Joseph High School & Rutgers University
  • Karan Ram of Edison High School
  • Fernando Sullivan of Bishop George Ahr High School
  • Daren Wone of Marlboro High School

U.S. Naval Academy                                     

  • Aaron Ahn of Red Bank Catholic
  • Claire Aikins of Shore Regional High School
  • Drew English of Bishop George Ahr High School
  • Sean Hallman of Marine Academy of Science & Technology
  • Matthew Johnson of Edison High School
  • Samuel Kim of Edison High School
  • Stephen O’Keefe  of Colts Neck High School
  • Karan Ram  of Edison High School
  • Hannah Santus of Metuchen High School & Virginia Tech
  • Darren Wone of Marlboro High School          
  • Michael You of Groton School & NYU
  • Michael Zimmerman of Marine Academy of Science & Technology

U.S. Military Academy at West Point

  • Joshua Campi of  Shore Regional High School
  • Sean Hallman of Marine Academy of Science & Technology
  • Jonathan Hyun of John P. Stevens High School         
  • Salonika Kakoulakis of John P. Stevens High School & Schreiner University
  • Daniel Leisher of Carson Long Military Academy
  • Eric Ozga  of St. Joseph High School & Rutgers University
  • Karan Ram of Edison High School
  • Melina Recarey of Academy of Allied Health and Science 
  • Darshan Singh of John P. Stevens High School
  • Evan Straus of Ramaz Upper School
  • Fernando Sullivan of Bishop George Ahr High School
  • Jeffrey Tantow of  Woodbridge High School 
  • Darren Wone of Marlboro High School
  • Michael Zimmerman of Marine Academy of Science & Technology

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy                     

  • Claire Aikins of Shore Regional High School
  • Austin Aitken of Monroe Township High School
  • Michael Benigno of Marlboro High School & Brookdale Community College
  • Matthew Deissler of Colts Neck High School
  • Dominick Esposito of Colts Neck High School
  • Philip Grasso of Middletown High School North

                                

“The value of military service to our nation cannot be overstated and I am honored by the commitment that these nominees to America’s top service academies have shown to serving their nation,” said Congressman Pallone. “New Jersey’s 6th Congressional District is home to so many bright and qualified students, and I’m proud to announce the nominees today who showed through the application process outstanding academic and extra-curricular achievements, leadership and motivation in serving our country.  I take these nominations very seriously because our nation’s service academies are some of the highest caliber institutions committed to graduating leaders of character, honor and integrity.  I wish all of the nominees the very best of luck in the future and thank them for their willingness to serve.”

                Young artists from various schools in Middlesex and Monmouth counties participated in this year’s art competition, which is part of the nationwide program known as “An Artistic Discovery.”  Local judges chose first, second and third place winners, and also awarded 15 honorable mentions.  The first place winner, Christine Papanier, will have her artwork displayed for the next year in the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

Congressional Art Competition Finalists:

First Place: Christine Papanier of Piscataway High School

Second Place: Neha Patel of Piscataway High School

Third Place: Valerie Lascano of Perth Amboy High School

Honorable Mentions:

  • Rebecca Alfrey of East Brunswick Vo-Tech High School
  • Eymmy Angeles of Perth Amboy High School
  • Marietou Biteye of Perth Amboy High School
  • Cindy Chen of High School
  • Nira Gabriel of Piscataway High School
  • Julia Grivas of Matawan Regional High School
  • Congxin (Angelina) Li of Highland Park High School
  • Michelle Lipnitsky of Matawan Regional High School
  • Jessalyn Lu of Marlboro High School
  • Mariah Pierre of Piscataway High School
  • Kimberly Silverio of Perth Amboy High School
  • Jasmely Valdez of Perth Amboy High School
  • Maxine Wang of Biotechnology High School
  • Yihan Wu of  High Technology High School
  • Hannah Yates of The Wardlaw-Hartridge School

            “I have long believed that Congress should play a major role in encouraging the arts,” Pallone said.  “This competition provides a forum to help the aspiring young artists of our area gain recognition and exposure.  Young artists can gain confidence in themselves and their abilities by displaying their work and having it evaluated by knowledgeable judges.”