Elite 11: NJ athletes nominated

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  • Photos by George LeRoy Hunter The 2013 United Way of Northern New Jersey Scholar Athlete nominees pose for a portrait.

  • Sussex County Technical High School scholar athlete nominee Nicole Bell.

  • Pope John XXIII High School scholar athlete nominee Sonia Geba.

  • Sparta High School scholar athlete nominee Luke Giugliano (center) with his younger brother and mother.

  • Sparta High School scholar athlete nominee Luke Giugliano.

The 2013 United Way of Northern New Jersey Scholar Athlete Nominees were announced Jan. 19. Eleven athletes from Sussex and Morris counties were recognized for their academic and athletic achievements at Sussex County Community College in Newton. Nominees along with family, friends and school faculty members and business leaders gathered inside the Health Sciences & Performing Arts Center on the college campus.

RoNetco Supermarkets, Inc. — who owns ShopRite supermarkets of Ledgewood, Franklin and Newton — provided food and refreshments for the two hour ceremony. ShopRite also provides scholarship money to the scholar athlete program.

The program, which began in the mid 1980's, focuses on the accomplishments of local student athletes in their academic studies, respective sports and civic activity. The elite eleven will be on tour at numerous venues to share the stories of their success from now until March. The Scholar-Athlete winner will be announced on March 22 at Perona Farms in Andover.

The nominees hail from different schools and towns and each have their own interests too. Yet all of them share one thing in common — they have a strong work ethic. These student athletes are multifaceted as they are able to juggle the rigors of academics, sports and find time to volunteer in civic activities in their communities.

Sparta High School scholar athlete nominee Luke Giugliano is a high school senior with a GPA of 4.33 and is a member of the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society. He is also an avid long distance runner setting numerous Sparta High School records and winning awards. Giugliano is also a singer (honors choir), pianist and trumpet player (honors wind ensemble) and has performed at the legendary Carnigie Hall in New York among other venues.

"My parents have been a major influence in my life," said Giugliano. "My dad was a pianist and he had gotten a job playing piano in a restaurant after college and that's how he met my mom."

Giugliano plans to take up engineering in college and hopes to work for the United States Department of Defense in the future.

Vernon Township High School scholar athlete nominee Rachel Colvin has a GPA of 97.44 is a member of the National Honor Society and the National Science Honor Society. Ice hockey, field hockey and lacrosse are the three sports Colvin has thrived in. Colvin is the first female captain of the Vernon's boy's ice hockey team and she was the first female to score a goal for the team.

Colvin plays the forward position in ice hockey and has been playing since the age of four. She has three older brothers that are also athletic and was influenced by them to play hockey. She has played for ice hockey travel teams and volunteers her time and hockey skills, serving as an assistant ice hockey coach for the Vernon Youth Ice Hockey program. The high school senior is a force to be reckon with in field hockey as well earning All County, All Conference, All League and was named Academic All-League Athlete. Colvin has earned varsity letters in field hockey and lacrosse.

Ice hockey is a rough sport but Colvin enjoys competing with the boys and has caught the attention of college recruiters. Besides being a standout athlete she likes the field of science and plans to continue that course of study in college. "I will be enrolled at Adelphi University in Long Island after high school," she said. "I will play Division II field hockey."

All the scholar athlete nominees seem to have bright futures ahead of them.

Athletes nominated:

Newton High School nominee Luke Malvey.

High Point Regional High School nominee Tim Osborn.

Kittatinny Regional High School nominee Alyse DePaola.

Vernon Township High School nominee Rachel Colvin.

Hopatcong High School nominee Andre Tan.

Jefferson Township High School nominee Kristen Swerzenski.

Sussex County Technical High School nominee Nicole Bell.

Pope John XXIII High School nominee Sonia Geba.

Sparta High School nominee Luke Giugliano.

Wallkill Valley Regional High School nominee Emily Stukenborg.

Lenape Valley High School nominee Matt Benvenuto.

— For more photos visit www.SpartaIndependent.com.

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