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Widener University Announces Winners of Fifth Annual High School Leadership Awards


CHESTER, PA (02/09/2016)-- Widener University, one of the nation's premier universities for civic engagement and applied leadership, in partnership with WCAU-TV NBC10, is proud to announce the winners of the Widener University High School Leadership Awards. In its fifth year, the program recognized 159 students from high schools in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware who demonstrated courage and leadership within their communities.

In its fifth year, the program recognized 159 students from high schools throughout the region for their abilities to stand up for what is right, address a wrong and make a difference in their communities or schools. Recipients from the area include:

Jared Manganelli of Galloway, a junior at Absegami High School, for participating in Peer Meditation Club, which trains students to help their peers settle conflicts in a peaceful manner. He is committed to academics and participates in soccer, lacrosse, and volunteer opportunities at his church.

Cassidy Chambers of Mount Ephraim, a junior at Audubon High School, for volunteering as a junior counselor at Camp Firefly, a camp for children under 14 who have experienced the loss of a loved one.

Camille Marsdale of Mount Laurel, a junior at Bishop Eustace Preparatory School, for traveling to New Mexico on her school's outreach trip, where she experienced a cultural immersion with the local communities. She also serves as a freshman orientation leader and promotes positivity in all that she does.

Aiyahna McCoy of Bridgeton, a junior at Bridgeton High School, for spending her time at a local homeless shelter, day care, and church. Her level of service to the school and community shows her dedication to giving back.

Irene Crane of Edgewater Park, a junior at Burlington City High School, for organizing community events, such as a Halloween program for the elementary school children and a holiday dinner for senior citizens.

Ayana Stuart of Burlington, a junior at Burlington Township High School, for volunteering her time and talents to teach cheerleading to young girls with special needs and participate in the annual Githens Walk, a charitable event that raises money for those with disabilities.

Robert Smith of Marlton, a junior at Camden Catholic High School, for serving as a school representative and volunteering as a middle school basketball coach.

Sarah Doherty of Villas, a junior at Cape May County Technical High School, for showing compassion and support towards her peers. She also volunteers with the Ocean Drive Marathon and participates in a variety of other community service organizations.

Courtney Heist of Egg Harbor City, a junior at Cedar Creek High School, for acting as a school ambassador and mentoring students in the freshmen class. Additionally, she started her own campaign to assist the homeless in Atlantic City and spends her time fundraising to aid those efforts.

Mary Joseph of Marlton, a junior at Cherokee High School, for taking the initiative to start a new program at her school, the Indian Cultural Club, to broaden the extracurricular activities offered to students.

Kelly Sigmund of Cinnaminson, a junior at Cinnaminson High School, for serving as a volunteer at Bible School and a coach for the town's softball team. She also participates in several extracurricular activities, including Glamour Gals and Interact Club.

Allison Bicking of Clayton, a junior at Clayton High School, for coaching soccer to younger children and participating in a program by which those with disabilities have the opportunity to play sports. She also serves as a mentor to middle school students.

Casey Vinciguerra of Mullica Hill, a junior at Clearview Regional High School, for mentoring for the STAR program and volunteering with the Outreach program, an organization designed to give children with special needs the opportunity to participate in a variety of sports.

Thomas Fite of Collingswood, a junior at Collingswood High School, for using his role as class president to enhance school culture through listening to his peers' concerns and addressing issues that need attention.

Cynthia Garcia of Bridgeton, a junior at Cumberland Regional High School, for serving as a role model for her peers. Along with excelling academically, she is a member of a group called Pro-Driver's Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants, which advocates for driving privilege cards for New Jersey residents who cannot prove lawful presence in the United States.

Juliette Tobin of Wenonah, a junior at Deptford Township High School, for raising money for Relay for Life, coaching basketball at a local elementary school, and spending a summer at Monmouth University as part of Hugh O'Brien Youth State Leadership Seminar.

Adam Ziegler of Burlington, a junior at Doane Academy, for being involved in environmental projects dedicated to protecting the health of the ocean. He spent time at Marine Science Camp where he performed advanced research and discovered a fencing solution to prevent a certain species from destroying the water.

Neil Sheridan of Wenonah, a junior at Gateway Regional High School, for serving as president of Rachel's Challenge Club, an organization designed to welcome new students. He has made a difference in his community by providing food for the homeless and helping Wenonah Lake Association resurrect the Haunted Trail fundraiser.

Kenneth Bakely of Pitman, a junior at Glassboro High School, for taking on a leadership role as the vice president of his class. He has been involved with the Gay-Straight Alliance, an organization new to the school.

Patrick Schooley of Woolwich, a junior at Gloucester County Institute of Technology, for dedicating a summer to support and manage a struggling thrift store in his community.

Michaela Mertz of Haddon Township, a junior at Haddon Township High School, for leading the Delaware Valley Assembly of the International Order of Rainbow for Girls (IORG), a Masonic youth service organization that provides leadership, education, and mentoring programs.

Fathema Begum of Blackwood, a junior at Highland Regional High School, for serving as the president of the World of Difference Club for the past two years. She also organizes the school's annual donation drive for a local shelter.

Brian Pontious of Moorestown, a junior at Holy Cross Academy, for organizing fundraisers that raised hundreds of dollars for the Wounded Warrior Project. As the student body president, he developed a class-wide website, put into place a texting system for students, and raised thousands of dollars for a class field trip.

Pushti Shah of Mickleton, a junior at Kingsway Regional High School, for using art to make a statement. He recently painted an award-winning picture representing Gandhi's message of non-violence.

Fernando Canas of Lindenwold, a junior at Lindenwold High School, for serving as a mentor to English Language Learners at his school. Fernando goes above and beyond to ensure the ELL students feel welcomed by helping them understand their course schedule and offering translation services during the school day.

Lauren Rha of Linwood, a junior at Mainland Regional High School, for taking her leadership skills overseas as a participant in the Global Leadership Association in Peru and Korea. She also serves the community through Atlantic Youth Orchestra and through her participation in a variety of extracurricular activities.

Julian Allen of Millville, a junior at Millville Senior High School, for overcoming incredible adversity to achieve academic excellence and personal success. He has participated in more than 100 hours of community service, all while serving as a leader on his school's swim team.

Dana Durham of Millville, a junior at Our Lady of Mercy Academy, for demonstrating compassion when others choose not to and befriending those who need it most.

Jordan Busch of Pine Hill, a junior at Overbrook High School, for problem-solving with his peers, managing the school store, leading stage crew, and participating in marching band.

Ryan White of Palmyra, a junior at Palmyra High School, for tutoring English at her local community center and church, and being a leader to her peers.

Grace Jablonoski of Cherry Hill, a junior at Paul VI High School, for holding numerous leadership roles at her school and serving as part of the Executive Student Council, in which she organizes fundraising efforts.

Jennifer Landis of Brown Mills, a junior at Pemberton Township High School, for volunteering for the Boy and Girl Scouts, JROTC, and the American Legion. Additionally, she is a role model to her teammates and peers.

Asia Davis of Pennsauken, a junior at Pennsauken High School, for enriching the school community through student mentorship and involvement in Student Council.

Jennifer Dooher of Lumberton, a junior at Rancocas Valley Regional High School, for getting involved in Red and White Night, an annual competition with various activities that bring the school community together.

Dana Goldstein of Medford, a junior at Shawnee High School, for being an Upstander, a nominated student who is celebrated for standing up for what is right and making the correct choices.

Dean Kolonich of Ocean View, a junior at St. Augustine Preparatory School, for demonstrating qualities of leadership, courage, and strength as a member of the lacrosse and football teams. He also serves as an aide in organizing school functions.

Quassan Scanes of Camden, a junior at The King's Christian Junior Senior High School, for being actively involved in his school community as the vice president of Student Services, the drummer for the music program, and additional extracurricular activities.

Madison Allen of Erial, a junior at Timber Creek Regional High School, for leading a freshmen mentor program that helps incoming students with personal, social, and academic needs.

John Sharman of Runnemede, a junior at Triton Regional High School, for creating the Hometown Hero program, which recognizes a local community member for their heroic contributions. He also mentors freshmen and serves as class president.

Sruthi Srinivasan of Sewell, a junior at Washington Township High School, for coordinating volunteer activities as a member of the Rotary Interact Club. Expressing herself through media, her news documentary, "National Veterans Wheelchair Games Comes to Philly," placed first at the WHYY Youth Media Awards.

Melanie Harrison of West Deptford, a junior at West Deptford High School, for leading the Pride and Awareness of All Cultures Club, organizing field trips to Temple University and a local college fair, and staying active in her church as a Bible Studies teacher.

Ian France of Wildwood, a junior at Wildwood High School, for leading the Drama Club, achieving academic success, and participating in the National Honor Society.

Rachel Hluchy of Williamstown, a junior at Williamstown High School, for working with middle school teachers to develop a workshop for young girls interested in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

"Widener University is proud to have honored nearly 600 students over the past five years through the High School Leadership Awards," said Dr. Julie Wollman, Widener University president. "Civic engagement and leadership are not only integral to the mission of Widener University, they are central to what this year's award winners have accomplished in their communities. I can only imagine their future successes as our next generation of leaders. We welcome them into the Widener family, and I look forward to congratulating each student this spring at the awards ceremony."

Winners are invited to a celebratory program at the National Constitution Center on March 23, 2016, as well as a leadership conference presented by the Oskin Leadership Institute at Widener University in the fall of 2016. Most notably, winners will receive a scholarship of $20,000 over four years should they enroll at Widener University for undergraduate studies.

For more information regarding the High School Leadership Awards and to view a complete list of winners, please visit the High School Leadership Awards page. For information on each recipient, please contact Meagan Dominick at or 484-385-2936.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development, and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener is comprised of eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences and professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate's, baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral degrees. The university's campuses in Chester, Exton, and Harrisburg, PA, and Wilmington, DE, are proud to be a tobacco-free. Visit the university's website,, for more information.