FCIAC Exemplary Scholar-Athletes, Winter, 2019-2020

Emory Ciocci, Stamford Gymnastics

Emory, who has practiced gymnastics since she was three years old, has successfully kept the balance of school work, athletics and extracurricular activities.

She is captain of the gymnastics team and has taken great pride in watching the program grow and develop throughout her career. She has also run track for three years, specializing in the 100-meter hurdles and long jump during the spring outdoor season.

Emory has very interested in fashion. She has taken all the fashion courses and now takes an independent study with her fashion teacher as well as being a student aide.

Alexandra Mills, Brien McMahon Cheerleading

This senior has achieved a cumulative GPA of 4.4 and is a High Honors student. She takes AP and IB classes and has been accepted into the National Honor Society.

Alexandra has been co-captain of the cheer team for the last two years and has played softball for the past three years. As captain, she has led her cheer team to achieve the top five at the FCIAC competition in the past two years.

She was a recipient of the Harvard Book Award, is a part of the Center for Youth Leadership Club and has volunteered for Alzheimers, Lupus, JDRF, and breast cancer awareness walks. Alexandra also is an active member of her church and sings in the church choir.

Edward Zelikman, Stamford Boys Ice Hockey

Edward has achieved a 4.7 weighted GPA while taken mostly Honors and AP courses, including a schedule this senior year which consists of all AP courses. He has been accepted into the National Honor Society and Science National Honor Society.

He also excels on the hockey rink ice as a member of the city’s cooperative ice hockey program, having scored 47 points in 23 games last year while helping his team advance to the semifinals of the 2018-19 FCIAC Boys Ice Hockey Tournament. Edward continued with his scoring touch in the early portion of this season and was the team’s leading scorer while helping it get off to a good start.

Edward is also a member of the Stamford High School debate team. He recently won first place at a Connecticut Debate Association meet in November and has qualified to compete in the state tournament in March.

Paula Perez Pelaez, Wilton Girls Indoor Track and Field

Paula has been a consistent High Honor Roll student who has achieved a 3.985 GPA while taking mostly AP and Honors classes. She was accepted into the National Honor Society and Spanish National Honor Society.

She is co-captain all three seasons of the cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field programs and has been a varsity member of them since her sophomore year. Paula ran fast enough in the conference cross country championship race last October to make All-FCIAC Second Team.

Paula is a National Hispanic Recognition Scholar, the recipient of The CT Colt Award for Excellence, and the CT Seal of Biliteracy for Spanish. She is president of Key Club and UNICEF Club, treasurer of National Honor Society, and a captain of Safe Rides Wilton.

Andrew Fang, Westhill Boys Indoor Track and Field

Being a member of the National Honor Society, Andrew has maintained a weighted GPA of 5.01 and is ranked third in his class.

Andrew is captain of the track and field program, of which he has been a team member for the past three years. He qualified for the state Class LL championship meet in the pole vault and he also competes in the 55-meter dash and the 300.

Always putting a priority on his studies, Andrew won first place in the state for coding and programming.

Andrew tutors for a nonprofit organization and enjoys volunteering at his church, where he is a leader of the youth group.

Bennett Ong, New Canaan Boys Ice Hockey

Bennett has consistently achieved academic Honor Roll recognition as a dual-sport athlete. He is captain for both the boys ice hockey and boys lacrosse teams.

He also volunteers for several organizations. Bennett was the founding member of the New Canaan Senior High School club affiliate of the Harlem Lacrosse program. He has worked as a youth summer camp coach, as a counselor in the Ben Young All Sports Summer Camps, and he has been a youth lacrosse goalie instructor.

Bennett will continue his education at the United State Military Academy Preparatory School at West Point in the fall before his admission to the United State Military Academy at West Point the following year, where has plans to be a member of the Black Knights men’s lacrosse team.

Jordan Verchin, Fairfield Ludlowe Boys Ice Hockey

Jordan, who is on the Headmasters’ List, is a member of the National Honor Society, Math National Honor Society, and Science National Honor Society.

He is a four-year member of the varsity ice hockey program and has been a two-year participant with the track and field team.

Jordan is vice president of the Future Business Leaders of America, a Ludlowe leader for incoming freshmen, and a Key Club volunteer. He referees youth soccer for the recreation department. Jordan volunteers helping kids with developmental disabilities play hockey and a volunteer teachers helper at religious school.

Finley Bean, Brien McMahon Boys Ice Hockey

Finley has achieved a 4.0 GPA and earned High Honors every quarter at McMahon while taking mostly AP/IB and Honors classes.

He is co-captain of the ice hockey and lacrosse programs and been a three-year starter for both teams. He was FCIAC Honorable Mention in lacrosse last spring.

Finley is an associate member of Best Buddies, Unified Sports, Kids Helping Kids and the Bkind Club. He is the president of the Jr. Rowayton Civic Association and has logged several volunteer hours with the Norwalk Junior Lacrosse program.

Christine Sangphet, Danbury Girls Basketball

Christine has been a High Honor Roll and Distinguished Honor Roll student with a 4.38 weighted GPA while taking mostly Honors and AP classes.

She is a member of the National Honor Society, National Math Honor Society and National English Honor Society.

Christine is a team captain of the girls varsity basketball team, following up on previously having also been a captain of the freshman and junior varsity programs.

Christine volunteers as a Sunday School teacher at New Apostolic Church.

Gillian Primavera, Trumbull Girls Gymnastics

This senior captain of the girls’ gymnastics team, who has earned All-FCIAC Second Team recognition as a sophomore and junior, has a 4.8 GPA from the end of her junior year and is taking predominantly AP and Honors classes.

Gillian is a member of the National Honor Society, Math Honor Society, French Honor Society and has earned the Connecticut Seal of Bi-literacy in French. Whe was also a recipient of the University of Rochester’s Bausch + Lomb Honorary Science Award.

She coaches youth gymnastics, tutors middle school and high school math and science, and volunteers for Freedom Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Kevin McNicholas, Ridgefield Boys Ice Hockey

Kevin has been accepted to the National Honors Society and has achieved a weighted 4.3 GPA and is a High Honor Roll student while taking mostly AP and Honors classes.

He has played varsity hockey since his sophomore year and helped the Tigers win the FCIAC championships in 2018 and ’19. He also plays varsity lacrosse.

Kevin has held the position of secretary, vice president and president of his Lions Heart group, a volunteer organization and was voted by his peers to receive the Torch Bearer award for most meaningful service. He has been awarded the Presidential Service Award for volunteering over 100 hours a year. During the past two summers, Kevin participated in a mission trip to Appalachia to build homes.

Maeve Hampford, Trumbull Girls Basketball

This National Honor Society member has achieved a 4.3 cumulative GPA while taking mostly AP and Honors level courses.

She was a member of the girls basketball and girls volleyball teams all four years of high school and is currently a senior co-captain. This past fall she helped Trumbull’s girls volleyball team win a state championship for the first time in school history and she has also won one FCIAC championship in volleyball and one in basketball during her career.

Maeve has also volunteered time in the summer and fall throughout high school to help coach young kids at Trumbull High School’s volleyball and basketball camps.

Connor Gilchrist, Norwalk Wrestling

This High Honor Roll student, who takes all college courses at Norwalk Community College, is a member of the National Honor Society.

Connor is captain of the the wrestling and golf teams. He has also played football, lacrosse and run cross country.

He has volunteered for Saint Baldrick’s Squire of Hope and he is a lector, altar server and confirmation team leader at St. Philip R.C. Church.

Andrew Smith, Wilton Boys Basketball

Andrew, who has been named a senior co-captain in both basketball and golf, has maintained and unweighted 3.8 GPA while taking mostly AP and Honors classes.

He has been a three-year member on both of his teams. During his junior year he was selected the Most Outstanding Player for his basketball team and he received the golf team Leadership Award.

Andrew is a member of the National Honor Society, a Link Crew Leader, a Peer Mediator, and he was also the 2019 American History Book Award recipients.

He volunteers as a reader and Eucharistic Minister at St. Aloysius Church, is the Wilton chapter president for the Full Court Peace club, and participates in Wilton SafeRides.

Andrew will pursue a double major in Business Administration and Psychology at Northeastern University in the fall.

Chris Dauser, Norwalk Boys Swimming and Diving

Christoper Dauser is a member of the Norwalk High School National Honor Society and has maintained High Honor Roll status all four years. He is taking many AP and Honors classes and has received the AP Scholar Award.

Chris is also a member of the National Honors Society for High School Students of German Delta Epsilon Phi (German School of CT).

He has been a member of the Norwalk/Brien McMahon cooperative boys swimming and diving team all four years and is a senior captain this year. His specialty is the breaststroke, having been All-FCIAC Second Team twice in that event, but he also been a member of three relay teams which have established school records – the 200 freestyle relay, the 200 medley relay and the 400 freestyle relat.

Chris regularly volunteers at the Zeus swim teams and at his high school as a peer tutor and Link Crew Leader. He is a Red Cross certified lifeguard and works as a U.S. Soccer Federation soccer referee.

Riana Afshar, New Canaan Girls Basketball

Riana, who has maintained a weighted GPA above 4.0 and has achieved High Honor Roll every quarter since freshman year, has been accepted to both the National Honor Society and the Spanish Honor Society.

She has attained the Connecticut Seal of Biliteracy in Spanish and received the Gettysburg Book Award, along with other awards and scholarships.

Riana was a captain of the girls varsity soccer team and is currently captain of the varsity basketball team. She has played varsity basketball since her freshman year and is looking to pursue basketball in college.

She has volunteered to coach a youth basketball team for the past four years and is an active member in multiple school clubs along with the recent development of an app that will hopefully launch later this year.

Lana Schmidt, Darien Gymnastics

Lana, who has excelled in the classroom while taking classes such as AP Lang, AP Lit, AP Bio and AP Calc, has been accepted to the National Honor Society, National Music Honor Society and National Science Honor Society.

She has been a member of the varsity gymnastics team all four years and is a team captain this year. She placed 10th on the vault at the State Open to qualify for the New England Championships and has been All-FCIAC and All-State first team as well as All-American for vault and beam.

Lana has also been a pole vaulter on the track and field team and she qualified for the FCIAC and state championship meets in sophomore and junior years.

Also part of the Darien High School band, Lana is drum major this year and she also plays the flute.

Lana is assisting in data analysis for research study of isokinetic kinesiology in exercise science.

She volunteers for Darien SafeRides and the Tri-M Club, a music setting which helps underprivileged kids.

Rachel Mensah, Westhill Girls Ice Hockey

This senior team team leader, who has been on the first line since her freshman year playing ice hockey, has successfully struck the balance of academics and community service.

She is a High Honor Roll student who has achieved an unweighted GPA of 3.95 and she’ll be completing 11 AP courses. Rachel is a member of the National Honor Society and a recipient of the John Hopkins Book Award.

Over the last four years, Rachel has been a volunteer at Stamford Hospital, Creative Learning, and she tutors youngster in grades 1-12 a Beyond Limits.

Rachel is actively involved in the Major’s Youth Leadership Council and Feminist Club. She has participated as a member of the track and field, cross country and field hockey teams.

She will attend college and study for a career in the medical profession.

Chiara Signorelli, Ridgefield Girls Ice Hockey

Chiara has made High Honor Roll every quarter throughout her high school career while taking mostly AP and Honors classes to achieve her unweighted GPA of 4.4.

She is a four-year member of the girls varsity ice hockey team and a two-year co-captain who was All-FCIAC Honorable Mention as a freshman. Chiara was on the varsity softball team as a freshman and sophomore, and she ran cross country during her junior and senior years.

Throughout high school, Chiara has volunteered with Appalachia Service Project and Lefty and Righty Camp, a summer camp for disabled children. She has been a Girl Scout for 12 years and earned the Silver Award for her contribution in aiding the Women’s Center of Danbury.

Paul Fabbri, St. Joseph Boys Basketball

This National Honor Society member holds a 92 GPA while taking many challenging courses.

Paul is a captain who is currently averaging 20 points per game for a strong St. Joseph team.

He has completed over 70 service hours during his senior year alone.

Rahmia Johnston, St. Joseph Girls Basketball

Rahmia maintains a cumulative average of 97 and is a President’s Honor Roll student while taking mostly Honors and AP classes.

She has been accepted into the National Honor Society, the English National Honor Society and the Spanish National Honor Society.

This co-captain of the basketball teams was selected to the All-FCIAC Third Team as a junior.

Rahmia was a recipient of the Head of School Award three times and has volunteered for Al’s Angels, TOP Soccer, Daughters of Charity, and every week she volunteers for Special Olympics CT.

Nicholas Todorovic, Greenwich Boys Swimming and Diving

Nicholas has achieved a 4.8 weighted GPA (on a 5.3 scale) and is a member of the National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society and Math Spanish National Honor Society.

He earned the Bronze Medal Award in the 2019 National Spanish Exam.

Nicholas has been a key contributor who has scored plenty of points in the 200-yard freestyle and 500 freestyle events for Greenwich’s perennially-strong boys swimming and diving program at many conference and state championship meets. He received the Most Improved Swimmer award in 2019.

Nicholas has also raised over $1,000 for Swim Across America Cancer Research each year and he swam 1.5 miles for the fundraiser from 2016-19. He ran the HyTek Computer Softward and Colorado Touchpad System for Greenwich YMCA home meets and has provided swimming instruction to kids and adults for Horizons and the Greenwich YMCA.

A.J. Konstanty, Staples Boys Basketball

This three-year starter and current co-captain for the boys basketball team has achieved a 3.9 cumulative GPA by earning First Honors in every academic quarter.

A.J. was also the starting tight end and punter for the football team and he was selected to the Walter Camp All-State First Team as a punter.

He has volunteered for several organizations. He participated in Best Buddies as an officer, Staples Service League of Boys, Al’s Angels, the Westport Challenger Baseball League, and during the past seven years he has shaved his head for St. Baldrick’s.

A.J. was the sole recipient of the “Staples” Guiding Principles Award” as a junior. He was on the Junior Prom Committee and is now on the Senior Committee.

Reniel Smith, Bridgeport Central Boys Basketball

Reniel has achieved a 3.8 GPA as he made Honor Roll during the 20198-19 school year while taking several challenging courses such as AP English, Computer Science, Statistics, Honors Chemistry, Alegebra 2, U.S. History and Business Math.

He has played basketball all four years at Central and also played for the AAU Connecticut Elites.

Reniel also volunteers for several organizations. He traveled abroad to help build a school, has helped with food drives and clothes at a homeless shelter, and as a Bridgeport Central High School Ambassador he helps younger students as well as visitors at school events on any given evening.

Arianna Gerig, Staples Girls Basketball

Arianna has made First Honor Roll every semester during high school to achieve a weighted GPA of 4.2 and an unweighted GPA of 3.9.

She was distinguished as a Commended Student in the National Merit Scholarship Program for 2020 and previously a recipient of the AP Scholar Award from the College Board in 2019.

Arianna has been a member of the girls’ varsity basketball team all four years of high school and has served as a team captain during both of her last two junior and senior years. She also was a three-year varsity player in soccer during her freshman, sophomore and junior years.

Arianna has received many awards and accolades in basketball. She was immediately one of the best players in the conference, justifying that with a selection to the All-FCIAC Third Team as a freshman. During her following sophomore season made the All-FCIAC Second Team, was selected the team MVP and she was named the Todd Burger Tournament MVP for the first time and she also earned that distinction during this senior season.

Arianna has been selected for the 2020 JCC Schoolgirl Classic game and she plans on playing basketball at Williams College.

Zoë Harris, Greenwich Indoor Track and Field

Zoë has been accepted to the Math, Science and National Honor Societies, has earned a cumulative unweighted GPA of 3.86 in accelerated and AP classes by being a High Honor Roll student throughout her four years at Greenwich High School. She has also received the AP Scholar Award.

She is a three-season captain of cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track. Zoë, who was the state Class LL outdoor 800-meter champion this past spring, has received All-American recognition in indoor track and All-New England recognition in indoor and outdoor track.

Zoë received the Columbia Book Award, and she serves as the president of the Diversity Awareness Club. She has volunteered at Nathaniel Witherell, Neighbor to Neighbor, Greenwich Emergency Medical Society, and the Special Olympics of CT program.

Zoë plans on continuing her track career at Columbia University.

Aidan Byrne, Danbury Boys Indoor Track and Field

This Honor Roll student has achieved a 4.425 cumulative GPA, he is enrolled in three AP classes this year and is a member of the National Honor Society, Peer Leadership and National Business Honor Society.

Aidan is a three-season distance runner – running for the cross country, indoor track and outdoor track programs – and this past fall he was a senior captain who helped lead Danbury to fourth place in the 2019 State Open Boys Cross Country Championships. He ran fast enough in the 2018 conference championship to earn himself a spot on the All-FCIAC Second Team and he competed at the New England Championships as a junior and a senior.

Aidan received the Scholar-Athlete award and the Bulldog Award, given to the team member with the most tenacious and driven work ethic.

Nicholas Clark, Darien Boys Swimming and Diving

This senior team captain with the 3.98 GPA has been invited to be inducted into the National Honors Society this February.

Nicholas joined the team as a sophomore and he placed fourth in the 100 breaststroke as well as being a part of the runner-up 200 medley relay team to help the Blue Wave win the state Class L championship in 2018. Darien then finished second in 2019 when Clark placed fifth in the 100 breaststroke and was part of the 200 freestyle relay team which also placed fifth.

He is a leader of The Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Darien and has been a member of Safe Rides Darien.

Emma Kortmansky, Fairfield Ludlowe Cheerleading

Emma is a senior and has achieved a 4.25 GPA in a STEM-oriented course load. She is a member of the National Honor Society with subject-specific membership in Math, Science and Spanish Honor Societies.

Emma was a recipient of the George Washington University Book Award.

She has been a flyer on the varsity cheerleading team for four years, serving as co-captain for the 2019-20 season. In the past three years, she has helped Ludlowe win a Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference championship and an AmeriCheer National Championship. Individually, she won a FCIAC Top-Gun Stunting Championship, and she was awarded All-State and All-American in 2019.

Emma tutors in math and science and participates as a Ludlowe Leader and member of the Class of 2020 club. She enjoys art and photography in her spare time.

Brendan McMahon, Fairfield Warde Boys Basketball

Brendan has achieved a 4.45 GPA and Headmaster’s List recognition all four years with an AP/Honors curriculum.

This senior co-captain is a four-year member of Warde’s basketball program and he was selected to play in the 2019 Varsity Junior FCIAC Conference All-Star Game and the Vinny Smeraglinolo Memorial Game. This season Brendan was MVP of the Cardinal Shehan Center Fall League and selected to the 2019 Fairfield Holiday Basketball Tournament All-Tournament Team.

Brendan is the vice president of the National Honor Society, a recipient of the Dartmouth Book Award and he earned 2019 AP Scholar With Distinction and National Merit Scholarship Commended Student honors.

He is a saxophone player in the Warde Wind Ensemble, a volunteer at St. Catherine’s Academy for special needs students and a coach in the Wakeman Boys and Girls Club Spring Junior Boys Basketball.

Shannon Garrett, Fairfield Warde Girls Indoor Track and Field

Shannon is an Honor Roll student maintaining a 4.0 GPA while taking all AP and Honors courses.

She is a member of the National Honor Society, as welll as other honor societies, including Science National Honor Society, French National Honor Society, and Rho Kappa Social Studies Honor Society.

Shannon, a member of the 4×800-meter relay team which set a school record, was named outdoor track captain her junior year, and cross country and indoor track captain her senior year.

She also lends her running expertise when she coaches for the Girls on the Run Program at Stratfield Elementary School.

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