Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore recently celebrated its 2022 class of Gold Award Girl Scouts: 30 teen world-changers who have created a lasting impact on issues that are important to them.
Gold Award Girl Scouts identify the root cause of a problem, plan and implement innovative
solutions that address that problem, and lead a team of people who support their success, according to a press release from the organization.
The Gold Award is a Girl Scout’s highest achievement, available to girls in high school who drive sustainable change on issues in their communities and beyond.
This year’s class of Gold Award Girl Scouts invested more than 2,400 hours in taking action to tackle the root causes of many pervasive issues: teaching about and supporting environmental sustainability; empowering the elderly and women’s health and wellness; advocating for animal welfare; promoting interest and access to STEM and STEAM
education; creating accessible spaces; fostering community connection and more, according to the press release.
“Gold Award Girl Scouts gain tangible skills and prove they are the leaders our world needs,” Heather Coburn, Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore Interim CEO, told Gold Award Girl Scouts, their family members and friends at a ceremony on June 7, sponsored by Mike and Lorrie Kzirian at B2 Bistro in Bayville, Ocean County.
Coburn added, “You have demonstrated dedication to empowering yourself and improving your community. You are now part of the legacy of over one million Gold Award Girl Scouts who have made meaningful, sustainable change in their communities and around the world since 1912.”
Teri O’Connor, board chair, recognized the 30 teens and said, “The Girl Scout Gold Award acknowledges each recipient’s power and dedication to not only bettering herself, but to making the world a better place for others. They are our future and it is bright.”
In addition to changing the world around them for the better, Gold Award Girl Scouts transform their own lives by building skills for academic, career and personal success, according to the press release.
The ceremony was hosted by Alina de Zoysa, Gold Award Girl Scout and a sophomore at Washington and Lee University, who told her fellow Girl Scouts, “Our sisterhood is what unites us and what has made Girl Scouts such an enduring part of society for 110 years.”
An energetic keynote speech was delivered by Millstone Township native Lipica Shah, an actor, member of Actors’ Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA, and co-founder of “1497,” an initiative to support and uplift talent of South Asian descent to challenge their under-representation in the American film and television industry, according to the press release.
Shah has been involved with Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore since she was a Daisy. She was a girl delegate on the inaugural “By Girls, For Girls” National Advisory Committee,
earned her Silver Award, and in 2005 was named one of GSUSA’s Young Women of Distinction for her Gold Award project.
In 2021, Shah was appointed to GSUSA’s Young Alum and Lifetime Membership
Advisory Committee and is also a member of the NVP Growing Strategies for DEI/RJ Team.
Shah recalled her time at Girl Scouts and left the girls with this powerful message: “You have made history. And you are sitting here now, proof that you are fully capable of handling whatever life throws your way, no matter how impossible things may seem. Welcome to the sisterhood. I can’t wait to see what adventure you choose next.”
The members of the Gold Award Class of 2022 are:
Rebecca Aguayo, Freehold, “Feminine Freedom,” Mahathi Chitti, Englishtown, “Rejuvenating and Herb Garden,” Victoria Cicero, Jackson, “Packs of Sunshine,” Anna Connelly, Freehold, “Increasing STEM Education for Girls,” Colleen Dickenson, Spring Lake Heights, “Bike Safety at the Shore.”
And, Julia Ferrara, Point Pleasant Beach, “Panther Wall of Honor,” Jean Gilbride, Morganville, “Togetherness with Creativity,” Aliya Grinberg, Matawan, “Wired Seniors,” Elsa Joseph, Manalapan, “Connecting a Community,” Olivia Krukowski, Beachwood, “Better Prepare Eighth-Graders for the First Day of High School.”
Also, Michaela M., Spring Lake, “Hydrant GPM Bands,” Emma McPolin, Locust, “A Novel Idea: Zoom Book Club for People with Turner Syndrome,” Julia Moran, Spring Lake, “STEAM Summer Camp/Enrichment Program,” Eileen Morrison, Jackson, “The Steps to Self,” Deeya Nevatia, Marlboro, “Memory Rehabilitation.”
And, Orianna Nolan, Highlands, “Time to Talk Pollution,” Sharvani Nune, Manalapan, “Sewing a Better Future,” Julietta Onofrietti, Toms River, “Doghouse Peace,” Elina Patel, Holmdel, “Eating Clean for Teens,” Marley Petti, Manchester, “Service Dogs 101,” Callie Rommel, Toms River, “Sew What? An Extensive Sensory Experience.”
Also, Sophia Schindel, Millstone Township, “Senior Sanctuary for Community,” Christianna Simon, Colts Neck, “Caregiver Connections,” Jessica Soucy, Beachwood, “Underage Drinking Awareness,” Olivia Skvarenina, Jackson, “Be Happy with Positive Thinking!”
And, Maeve Spang, Manasquan, “Warrior Welcome,” Alexis Terracciano, Manasquan, “Bike to the Future,” Reagan Volk, Rumson, “Mission Milkweed,” Abigail Willmot, Point Pleasant Beach, “Pollinator Gardens” and Alina Zaman, Freehold, “Mindful of Mental Health.”
To learn more about the Gold Award Girl Scouts and the issues they addressed, visit