Brunch attendees give a round of applause for the scholar athlete nominees.
Nominee Randi Lyn Hornyak with parents Earl and Tracey Hornyak.
BY LESLIE SULLIVAN
Newton — Pass It Along, a nonprofit organization focused on helping teenagers, honored nominees of its Scholar Athlete Award on Saturday, Feb. 11, with a brunch and press conference at the Sussex County Community College Performing Arts Center.
The Scholar Athlete Program recognizes high school seniors who excel in leadership, athletics and — above all — service to the community. The program has grown to 12 high schools in Sussex, Morris and Warren counties. For the past 30 years, the program was hosted by United Way. Now in its 32nd year, Pass It Along will award the nominated student athletes the Pass It Along Scholar Athlete Award for the second time. “We knew the Scholar Athlete Program really aligned with out mission at Pass It Along, and we were honored to take it over and host for the second year in a row,” said Diane Taylor, president and CEO of Pass It Along.
Proud parents, siblings and friends filled the room and nominated students beamed cheek to cheek over having their hard work and determination acknowledged. “I just think this is fantastic. Randi has worked so hard during her high school career. This is such a prestigious award and an honor as a parent,” said Earl Hornyak, father of nominee Randi Lyn Hornyak of Wallkill.
The event kicked off with a history of the Scholar Athlete Program, presented by George Morville, president of The Morville Agency.
An excited murmur filled the room as presenters James Furgeson and Dean Leary stood to read the biographies of each of the students nominated.
“The scholar athletes that were presented today have set the standard at their schools for being well educated, community minded, athletically gifted leaders of their schools and their communities. And at a time in their lives when time lines and communications are instant they have found the magic formula of balance between school, sports, community and life. The magic they have found is based on two things: good decisions and time management,” said Morville.
“This is such a great honor. I am from both field hockey and lacrosse programs at Sparta High School and to be nominated for the Scholar Athlete Award just shows how far these programs have come. I would like to say a special thanks to my family and my coaches but also to my brother Dominick for teaching me lacrosse and really pushing me to become the player I am today,” said Isabella Candeloro, of Sparta.
The following schools have nominated an outstanding senior student to receive the honor of 2017 Pass It Along Scholar Athlete: High Point Regional, Hackettstown, Hopatcong, Jefferson Township, Kittatinny Regional, Lenape Valley Regional, Newton, North Warren Regional, Sparta, Vernon Township, Wallkill Valley Regional high schools, and Sussex Technical School.
The nominees and their sponsors are:
• Stefanie Jaxheimer (Hackettstown High School) – Hackettstown Medical Center
• Dakota Voitcu (High Point Regional High School) – Van den Heuvel & Fountain Insurance
• Elisa Campos (Hopatcong High School) – The Orthopedic Institute of New Jersey
• Shawn Davis (Kittatinny Regional High School) – Selective Insurance
• Madison Dudziec (Lenape Valley Regional High School) – Perona Farms
• David Zambrano (Newton High School) – Newton Medical Center
• Cilenna Colon (North Warren Regional High School) – First Hope Bank
• Isabella Candeloro (Sparta High School) – Sussex Bank
• Emma Noury (Sussex Technical School) – Lakeland Bank
• Victoria Gonzalez (Vernon Township High School) – Mountain Creek
• Randi Lyn Hornyak (Wallkill Valley Regional High School) – Ames Corporation
“My confidence that these students will become our future leaders is based on a few thoughts, the first being their past, what they have learned and what they are currently leaving behind, the time and energy to prepare for exams or the battle on the field, the courts and the hardwoods, the choice of family, friends, classes, and the ability to do all of those while still just growing up and understanding what this sweet thing we call life is all about. Life, truly life, is the only time where first you’re going to take the test and then you’re going to learn the lesson,” said Morville.