On the morning of January 21, four students from Mount Saint Mary Academy in Watchung were presented with St. Timothy Awards by Bishop James F. Checchio of the Diocese of Metuchen during a special ceremony held at St. Francis Cathedral in Metuchen. The honored students are: Marina Cialdella ‘23 (nominated by Blessed Sacrament/Martinsville), Kayley Moran ‘23 and Rebecca Ryan ‘23 (both nominated by Mount Saint Mary Academy), and Gianna Savatta ’24 (nominated by St. Mary/Stony Hill).
The St. Timothy Award recognizes high school-aged youth who live as disciples of Jesus Christ, demonstrate Gospel values, witness to their faith by exhibiting Catholic morals and integrity, and reflect Christian leadership in a variety of settings.
Kayley serves as the President of the Operation Smile Club and attended their International Student Leadership Conference this summer, receiving a Silver Award. She also attended the JusticeworX program in Trenton and Dunlow, West Virginia. At the Mount, she is also a peer minister.
"Service has been a large part of my four years at Mount and has shaped me into who I am today," said Kayley. "Because of the great experiences I have had, I know that service will continue to be a large part of my life in college, and beyond. It is a great honor that I received this award and that the adults in my life believe I deserved this honor."
Gianna is involved in her local rescue squad and is a lector and catechist. She said, "It was an honor to receive the St. Timothy Award and I am grateful for the nomination. The greater honor and privilege is being able to serve my parish and community and help all those in the programs I am involved. Living out my baptismal promises brings me great joy and I hope to inspire others to live out theirs."
Rebecca is a peer facilitator at the Mount, as well as a cantor and Chorale member for all masses and school events. She serves as an altar server and lector at weekly masses at her parish, St. Rose of Lima, where she attended school from kindergarten to eighth grade. Rebecca is founder and director of Let's Talk Business, a platform that teaches financial literacy skills, economic issues, career resources, and empowers teen girls.
"It is a blog and social media community," she said. "I have also hosted Zoom calls to teach students and have interviewed 10 people from different companies to teach about career opportunities and networking skills. Currently, I am hosting a drive to collect women's products to decrease period poverty, empower women, and increase equality. I am sending the products to women's centers and a homeless shelter."
"It is an honor to be nominated for this award, as my relationship with my faith is one of the most important aspects of my life. I am very blessed to have teachers, like Mrs. Gachko and Mrs. Kovach who encourage me to exemplify my faith through living a life of service to all. My Mercy education has inspired me to be a socially-minded individual and to carry my Mercy Core Values with me in all aspects of my life."
"I am grateful to have been nominated for this award by my parish," said Marina. "When Sandy Hayes-Licitra, the music ministry director, nominated me, I was surprised because I didn't think I was doing anything special. I was just offering my love of singing to the church. But now I see that it's more than that. I feel honored to have received this award that acknowledges my service to my parish as a cantor for liturgies."