Kaminsky honors local ‘student stars’ from Malverne, West Hempstead


State Sen. Todd Kaminsky hosted his second annual Student Stars Awards on May 20. Kaminsky, along with several elected officials. Officials recognized 28 high school leaders who have succeeded academically and given back to their communities. Each recipient was presented with the New York State Senate Student Stars Award.

“Today is about taking time to recognize extraordinary students who have excelled academically and established themselves as leaders in their communities,” Kaminsky said. “The students given the NYS Senate Student Stars Award represent the best and brightest that our schools have to offer, and serve as role models for their peers.”

Among this year’s honorees were Gianna Casini-Lendino, of Malverne, Frank Porcasi, of West Hempstead, and Unsha Monaj, who is also from West Hempstead.

Casini-Lendino, who attends Malverne High School, was recognized for being involved in many extra-curricular activities while achieving high honor roll status after succeeding in Honors and Advanced Placement courses. She also volunteers in her community and Kaiminky said that she is highly respected by teachers and peers alike.

Porcasi, who attends H. Frank Carey Junior-Senior High School, was also honored for his academic success, and for being known as a student-athlete. He was captain of both the varsity football and basketball teams, where Kaminsky said he epitomized what it means to be a team player. Porcasi also holds the Guinness World Record for knocking down over 3,400 cereal boxes, domino-style, which were then donated to the hurricane relief effort.

West Hempstead High School student Monaj was honored for excelling in AP, honors, and college credit classes. Monaj is the captain of the varsity tennis team, and she also plays varsity badminton. She plans to pursue a career in pharmacy, which she has prepared for through volunteer work at a hospital. During a 2015 trip to Bangladesh she dedicated much of her time to helping people in poverty in the streets.

–Nakeem Grant