for Outstanding Leadership and Civic Contributions
CHESTER, PA (03/25/2021)-- Widener University, in partnership with WCAU-TV NBC10, is proud to recognize the winners of the 2021 Widener University High School Leadership Awards. Over the past 10 years, the university has recognized more than 1,300 students from high schools in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware who demonstrated leadership within their communities.
This year, the program recognized 129 students from high schools throughout the region for their abilities to stand up for what they believe in, speak out on behalf of others and make an impact in their communities. They included:
Alexandria Holton of Gloucester, NJ, 08030. Holton, who attends Audubon High School, made a difference by leading difficult conversations with family and friends, and advocating for social justice throughout her community.
Sara Ledyard of Gibbstown, NJ, 08027. Ledyard, who attends Bishop Eustace Preparatory School, made a difference by finding opportunities to embody leadership in sports, in the classroom and through a devotion to community service.
Julia Brunini of Landisville, NJ, 08326. Brunini, who attends Buena Regional High School, made a difference by representing the student body as a student council member, serving as a "Buena Ambassador" and being highly involved with extracurriculars and volunteer efforts.
Janae Barnes of Burlington, NJ, 08016. Barnes, who attends Burlington City High School, made a difference by serving as an admirable leader in numerous extracurricular activities including Student Council, the National Society of Black Engineers and lacrosse.
Margaret Ensell of Pennsauken, NJ, 08109. Ensell, who attends Camden Catholic High School, made a difference by helping freshmen feel welcome as they transition from middle school to high school through leadership in extracurricular activities and performing arts.
Pari Patel of Blackwood, NJ, 08012. Patel, who attends Camden County Technical School - Gloucester, made a difference by being a passionate and enthusiastic student in the classroom, and serving as a leader for the Vex Robotics Team and Model UN.
Thaleena Ly of Pennsauken, NJ, 08109. Ly, who attends Camden County Technical School- Pennsauken, made a difference by participating in numerous community service activities, such as the Bilingual Literacy Program at South Jersey Vietnamese Alliance Church, through which she organized events, co-supervised volunteer staff and taught students in math and literacy.
Alexa Antonelli of Marlton, NJ, 08053. Antonelli, who attends Cherokee High School, made a difference by having a positive influence on the field hockey and swim teams, and volunteering as a coach for youth sports.
Kaile Wright of Cinnaminson, NJ, 08077. Wright, who attends Cinnaminson High School, made a difference by supporting diversity within her school, standing up for what is right and participating in the Black Lives Matter movement.
Fatima Akin of Clayton, NJ, 08312. Akin, who attends Clayton High School, made a difference by serving as a leader on the field hockey team and striving for excellence in all that she does.
Megan Murtaugh of Mantua, NJ, 08051. Murtaugh, who attends Clearview Regional High School, made a difference by finding ways to be a leader, including working to keep her peers' spirits high despite all that is going on in the world.
Abigail Walker of Collingswood, NJ, 08108. Walker, who attends Collingswood High School, made a difference by creating a mental health check-in group for students to meet through Zoom during the pandemic, and being active in the Social Justice Club and Black Lives Matter movement.
Marissa Glaspey of Bridgeton, NJ, 08302. Glaspey, who attends Cumberland Regional High School, made a difference by participating in Student Council, being a Peer Leader who helps freshmen transition into high school and serving as a Junior Representative of the Board of Education.
Olivia Schlosky of Delran, NJ, 08075. Schlosky, who attends Delran High School, made a difference by serving as vice president of the Student Council Executive Board, which hosts various community service events, and spearheading a contactless food drive.
Machelle Le of Deptford, NJ, 08096. Le, who attends Deptford Township High School, made a difference by working with her uncle, a monk in a Vietnamese temple, to gather, organize and distribute food for those in need.
Gwendolynn Murphy of Westville, NJ, 08093. Murphy, who attends Gateway Regional High School, made a difference by facing uncertainty with courage and including and empowering others in the community.
Joanna Crispin of Pitman, NJ, 08071. Crispin, who attends Glassboro High School, made a difference by providing several strategies and ideas to make school traditions safe and fun during COVID-19.
Jacey Wagner of Gloucester City, NJ, 08030. Wagner, who attends Gloucester City High School, made a difference by starting an annual toy donation drive with her family that has delivered toys to local children since 2013.
Shubh Katakiya of Deptford, NJ, 08096. Katakiya, who attends Gloucester County Institute of Technology, made a difference by collecting and donating over 3,000 self-care items to the Ronald McDonald House for parents in need of assistance.
Olivia Sanchez of Haddon Township, NJ, 08108. Sanchez, who attends Haddon Township High School, made a difference by being a strong female voice in the World Affairs Club and standing up for those needing support.
Lily Cheatham of Haddonfield, NJ, 08033. Cheatham, who attends Haddonfield Memorial High School, made a difference by using her position as class president to advocate for inclusion, equality and the voices of the student body.
Allison Ewing of Pennsauken, NJ, 08109. Ewing, who attends Holy Cross Academy, made a difference by serving as junior class president and welcoming prospective families and students to the school through campus tours.
Michael Weaver of Somers Point, NJ, 08244. Weaver, who attends Holy Spirit High School, made a difference by achieving high grades in his classes while leading on the football team.
Kendalyn Hendrick of Wilingboro, NJ, 08046. Hendrick, who attends Northern Burlington County Regional High School, made a difference by working with middle school lacrosse players during clinics and taking an active role in her church as a Sunday school teacher and volunteer.
Cassidy Garcia of Vineland, NJ, 08361. Garcia, who attends Our Lady of Mercy Academy, made a difference by spearheading a sock drive campaign to distribute socks to a local soup kitchen.
Marissa Odegaard of West Berlin, NJ, 08091. Odegaard, who attends Overbrook High School, made a difference by volunteering at a local hospital and donating hand-made masks to essential employees.
Heather Adams of Palmyra, NJ, 08065. Adams, who attends Palmyra High School, made a difference by excelling in her commitment to Student Council, as well as her school's community service program, the soccer team and marching band.
Sanai Jenkins of Westampton, NJ, 08060. Jenkins, who attends Rancocas Valley Regional High School, made a difference by empowering her field hockey team by setting a good example for younger athletes and being a positive role model on and off the field.
Taylor Dill of Riverside, NJ, 08075. Dill, who attends Riverside High School, made a difference by finding leadership opportunities in her everyday life, such as in The Peacemaker Ambassador's Club and the No Place For Hate Team.
Naomi Mathew of Medford, NJ, 08055. Mathew, who attends Shawnee High School, made a difference by advocating for minority students, participating in the Multicultural Club and serving on the Principal's Student Diversity Council.
Marlon Matthews of Williamstown, NJ, 08094. Matthews, who attends St. Augustine Preparatory School, made a difference by addressing current societal issues as a member of the Diversity Club.
Giavonna Thomas of Lindenwold, NJ, 08021. Thomas, who attends Sterling High School, made a difference by advocating for mental health and helping others who are facing challenges.
Tatum Stielow of Sicklerville, NJ, 08081. Stielow, who attends Timber Creek Regional High School, made a difference by being a natural and empathetic leader and role model as captain of the soccer team and as Vice President of her class.
Michael Benfield of Glendora, NJ, 08029. Benfield, who attends Triton Regional High School, made a difference by volunteering for school and church service activities and setting a good example for those around him at Bible Camp.
Maeve Fitzgerald of Sewell, NJ, 08080. Fitzgerald, who attends Washington Township High School, made a difference by rectifying injustices in her community, and speaking about social justice and socio-emotional topics to middle school students.
Shane Klemick of Sea Isle City, NJ, 08243. Klemick, who attends Wildwood Catholic High School, made a difference by serving as class president and being a positive model for exemplary behavior for other students.
Claudia Aduse-Poku of Sicklerville, NJ, 08081. Aduse-Poku, who attends Winslow Township High School, made a difference by contributing to the school and community as a member of Future Business Leaders of America and volunteering at Virtua Hospital.
"I continue to be amazed by the young leaders in the region, especially this year as students have supported their communities in meaningful ways during the COVID-19 pandemic," said Widener President Julie E. Wollman. "At Widener, we empower our community of learners to discover and create better futures, and we are committed to core values of respect, integrity and excellence. These values directly align with the character traits demonstrated by our honorees. It has been a privilege to partner with NBC10 over the last decade to recognize students who so strongly represent the next generation of leaders, and it is my pleasure to give them this well-deserved recognition."
Winners are invited to a celebratory virtual program tomorrow, Friday, March 26 with their families and school administrators. In addition to being recognized as young leaders in the region, if students enroll at Widener University as undergraduates, they will take part in Widener's prestigious Apogee Leadership Scholars program and receive a $20,000 scholarship over four years. Apogee Scholars receive four years of leadership programming, and they earn a Widener Leadership Certificate.
"NBC10 and Telemundo62 are proud to recognize this year's group of high school students who represent the leaders of tomorrow," said Ric Harris, President and General Manager of NBC10 and Telemundo62. "During a very challenging year for everyone, these remarkable individuals from across our region demonstrated leadership by inspiring change and giving back to their communities."
For more information on the Widener University High School Leadership Awards and to view a complete list of winners, visit the High School Leadership Awards page.
About Widener University:
Widener University is a private institution known for its commitment to the personal and professional success of every student, where academic experiences are distinguished by excellence and students develop the leadership qualities employers seek. Core values of respect, integrity and excellence are reflected in an outstanding student experience provided through an agile, innovative and inclusive approach to learning. Industry-shaping faculty provide close, personal mentorship and share powerful connections that help students build professional networks. Recognized as one of the Philadelphia region's leading universities, Widener offers programs and experiences that empower our community of learners to discover and create better futures as scholars, leaders and globally engaged citizens. Visit the university website at widener.edu.