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Pallone Recognizes Outstanding High School Students at Spring Awards Reception

April 28, 2015
Press Release

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJCongressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) today announced the winners of the 2015 Sixth Congressional District High School Art Competition, the recipients of the prestigious Congressional Award, and this year’s U.S. Service Academy nominees 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.

“I have long believed that Congress should play a major role in encouraging the arts,” said Congressman Pallone.  “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.”

Maureen Mulligan, Executive Director of Coastal Habitat for Humanity, spoke about the value of community service and volunteerism and the benefits it has on the entire community.

Donna Gustafson, PhD., Andrew W. Mellon Liaison for Academic Programs and Curator at the Zimmerli Art Museum, spoke about the role of the arts in education and the benefits of encouraging young artists.

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, Christian Zelaya, will have his artwork displayed for the next year in the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. 

Congressional Art Competition Winners:

First Place: Christian Zelaya of Piscataway High School

Second Place: Nikki Bustillo of Piscataway High School

Third Place: Kimberly Nguyen of Piscataway High School

Honorable Mentions:

  • Noralie Abreu of Perth Amboy High School
  • Camila Castillo of Perth Amboy High School
  • Marcela De Almeida of Long Branch High School
  • Jocelyn Deleon of Piscataway High School
  • Edith Gonzalez-Lugo of Colonia High School
  • Carmen Guzman of Long Branch High School
  • Aaron Heskes of J.P. Stevens High School
  • Priyanka Malhotra of Piscataway High School
  • Christopher Phan of Woodbridge High School
  • Angel Reyes of Perth Amboy High School
  • Thomas Valenti of Saint Joseph High School
  • Jacklyn Ventoso of Middletown High School North
  • Jonathan Wenur of Edison High School
  • Alicja Wisniowska of Sayreville War Memorial High School
  • Zining Ye of Wardlaw-Hartridge School

The New Jersey Congressman also honored the seventeen 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. Merchant Marine Academy                 U.S. Military Academy at West Point

Alden Aikins                                                      Ryan Campi 

                                                                            Evan Crowell

U.S. Naval Academy                                       Salonika Kakoulakis

James Abbaticchio                                         Daniel McCormack

Evan Crowell                                                   Allison Mosier

Kevin Donegan                                               Anton Nelson

Jeffrey Lin                                                        Emily Olson

Daniel McCormack                                        Heidy Shi

Guido Monteleone                                          Christopher Thorsen

Christian Nasto

Anton Nelson                                                  U.S. Air Force Academy

Anthony Petrick                                              Evan Crowell

Heidy Shi                                                        Jeffrey McPeek

                                                                         Christian Nasto

Pallone also honored the 2014-2015 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:

Gold Congressional Award Recipient:

Rachel Kelly of West Long Branch

Mollie Somers of Monmouth Beach


Silver Congressional Award Recipient:

Nishi Shah of Edison

Trevor Somers of Monmouth Beach