Cranston West's top ten students excelled in all areas
The top ten graduating students from Cranston High School West’s class of 2018, by way of highest grade point average, excelled not only in school but also in numerous student groups, sports teams, and creative endeavors outside of the school’s classrooms. Here are the descriptions of what these 10 students have accomplished and how they’ve gotten to where they are now. All 10, who emerged from an estimated 339 graduating students, will be continuing their education next year at universities around the country.
The 2018 class of Cranston West’s valedictorian is Scott Angilly, who will be attending Brown University next year and plans on a biochemistry major.
Angilly’s main motivation was his competitiveness, which was demonstrated both in academics and extracurricular activities. He said he was always driven to perform his best throughout his whole high school career.
Angilly, who was a three-sport athlete (soccer, track, volleyball) and involved in many extracurricular activities at the school, credits his parents with contributing the most to his success and enjoyment of high school. He also completed over 140 hours of community service outside of school.
He said that his parents supported him throughout high school, even on the days he had to stay up until 4 a.m. completing his studies. He is also grateful to have a number of family, friends and faculty members who contributed to his path towards becoming valedictorian.
The memories that stick out for Angilly are the sporting events at West, from cheering on the football team “surrounded by a boisterous sea of red,” to playing his own games on the soccer field and volleyball court. He’ll also take away the “tightly-woven” relationships he’s formed in his four years at West.
For his efforts in school, Angilly received numerous awards, including the Brown Book Award, the Rensselaer Medal, a Spanish Award, and the Bausch and Lomb Honorary Science Award. He also takes pride in winning the 2017 “Winter Battle of the Fans” competition with Redstorm.
Coming in at salutatorian for the class of 2018 is Madison Shapiro, who was self-motivated to succeed in and out of school, setting goals for herself and giving 100 percent en route to a top-10 academic finish at West.
As a result of her hard work, Shapiro will be going off to the University of Pittsburgh next year to study neuroscience in their honors program on a pre-med track.
Shapiro was highly involved in extracurricular activities in her years at West as a part of the Westernettes, a member of the varsity lacrosse team, a leader in Students Against Destructive Decisions and Class Council, and a member of the National Honors Society executive board.
Shapiro said she’ll always remember performing under the Friday night lights as a Westernette and winning city cup with her lacrosse team all four years.
She will also remember the relationships she formed with her teachers and friends, who helped shape her into the person and student she is today. She credits her parents and brother as being helpful in keeping her on track, saying that she wouldn’t be where she was without them.
The third-ranked student in the class is Marc Mansolillo, who will be joining the Ivy League ranks next year at the University of Pennsylvania, where he will be in their school of Nursing and will minor in healthcare management in the Wharton School of Business.
Mansolillo said that the Medical Pathways program at the Cranston Area Career and Technical Center was the most influential aspect of his time at Cranston West, motivating him to pursue a degree and career in nursing. He credits his teachers Theresa Coppa and Brenda Coutu for fostering his adoration for the medical field and also pursuing a diversified education.
He thanks his family, friends and teachers for supporting his “relentless efforts” to further his education. He’s especially grateful for the faculty at Cranston West, especially his English teacher Diane Feole, for advocating for the advancements he wants to see in the world and guidance counselor Deana Golini for helping him see his own potential.
Mansolillo said that his father used to tell him that the best way to succeed in school was to “play the game of school,” so he used that to motivate him to play the game to the best of his abilities.
At West, he was Vice President of the National Honor Society, a freshman mentor and peer tutor, and a participant in the health/medical competitions of SkillsUSA, in which he was nationally ranked. He was also the Harvard Book Award winner and winner of the senior art superlative, “Most likely to follow Da Vinci’s brush strokes.”
Sara Lancellotta ranks fourth in West’s class of 2018 after a high school career filled with forming friendships, working hard at school, and participating in an abundance of after school activities.
Lancellotta will be continuing her studies next year at Providence College, where she plans on majoring in chemistry and was the recipient of two scholarships, including the Boyko chemistry scholarship.
She credits her parents for instilling values in her from a young age and encouraging her to always do her best, which has enabled her high school success. She also thanks her sisters, Leah and Emma, for pushing her every day to be the best version of herself, as well as her guidance counselor Deana Golini and many more “incredible teachers and administrators” who helped shape the person she is today. Additionally, her Falconettes coach Christine Baum was influential to Lancellotta not only as a coach but also a positive role model.
Some of the extracurricular activities included the Falconettes, which she was a two-year captain of, student council, which she was treasurer of, the media club, of which she was editor-in-chief, unified sports, peer tutoring, Redstorm, and missionary work in Jamaica. She was also president of the National Honor Society.
The experiences Lancellotta will most remember are performing under the Friday night lights with the Falconettes and taking two trips to Disney with them.
For her success as a student, she was awarded the Rhode Island Civic Leadership Award, was one of “Cranston’s Best and Brightest,” and was a nominee for the National Youth Leadership Forum in Medicine two times.
Lancellotta will take the lasting memories and relationships she’s made with her classmates away from her time at Cranston West.
Ranking fifth is Marina Moceri, who will be staying in state at the University of Rhode Island next year, where she plans on a marketing major with a minor in public relations.
While at West, Moceri was a captain of the Falconettes, the DECA vice president, a competitive dancer at Dance Unlimited, a Redstorm leader, and a mentor for underclass students.
Aside from her memories at the school with the other students, she’ll remember the cross-country trips she took to California with DECA, and to Disney Land with the Falconettes. She said that these special memories, along with performing in the halftime shows at football games, enhanced her experience at West.
Moceri said that her parents, teachers, guidance counselors and, most importantly, her friends contributed the most to her success and enjoyment of high school. She said that the adults constantly motivated her to achieve her full academic potential, while her best friends made high school more exciting for her.
She was motivated to succeed by the goals she set at a young age, which were to be the best she could academically and to showcase her academic ability to future colleges and employers, because she wants to set herself up for the most successful future possible.
The list of activities both in and out of school is a long one for Heather DiFazio, who comes in at number six on West’s top 10 students.
DiFazio organized fundraisers for local children at Hasbro Hospital, she was a student liaison at the Rhode Island Department of Education, the class council treasurer, a member of the science outreach program, a church leader at Holy Apostles, part of the math team, and a mentor for younger students.
She also was an athlete at West and was a captain of the varsity soccer team since 2016 and a track athlete all four years. She won numerous awards for her athletics, including the United Soccer Coaches senior excellence award and the division one soccer coaches association sportsmanship award.
For her academic success, she earned an honorable mention in the congressional art competition, was a two-time society of women engineers award recipient, and a national honor society inductee. She also won two senior superlatives: “World’s next millionaire” and “Following Da Vinci’s brush strokes.”
DiFazio will always remember the relationships she’s formed at West and the memories she’ll take away from the variety of activities and events she’s participated in. She credits her friends, family and teachers for supporting her in all aspects of her high school life, from athletic to academic, artistic and social.
She was self-motivated to succeed in high school, and for her efforts will be attending the University of Rhode Island as a biomedical engineering major in the honors program. She also plans on doing the international engineering program and double majoring in German.
Seventh in the class is Kailyn D’Elena, who will be attending the Maryland Institute College of Art to pursue a major in illustration.
D’Elena was a standout artist at West, winning the award for scholastic art and writing and earning the Wickford Art Association scholarship. She was a part of the theater scenic art crew as well as the National Honors Society.
She’ll remember high school as a stepping stone towards the future she’s been waiting for, and was motivated to excel in school because she wanted to push her limits and create the best possible future for herself.
She thanks her family for supporting and encouraging her academic success, and credits her kind teachers and friends for making her high school experience enjoyable.
Sai-Teja Kamsani ranks eighth in the class, and as a result of his hard work he will be attending Northeastern University next year to major in bioengineering.
He’ll remember his academic endeavors, which yielded numerous math and civic achievement awards, but even more so will remember the relationships he established at West and the time he spent competing as a swimmer. He said that he’ll miss the excitement swimming brought to him, competing at states and winning medals with a cheering crowd behind him and his team.
Kamsani credits his mother, father, and sister for helping him succeed in school. He also said his teachers and guidance counselor helped plan out a path for his future and organize a clear idea of what he wanted, but the real reason he kept a smile on his face during school was his friends and classmates.
Kamsani was born in India and said that seeing countries around the world, including his homeland, in poverty makes him heartbroken and believes that part of the issue can be traced back to a lack of medical equipment, which is why he wants to use his education in bioengineering to make a global impact.
Finishing ninth was Elizabeth DelVecchio, who was encouraged by her parents and sister to be the best student and person she could be over her four years at Cranston West.
She has also been self-motivated to give her all in her schoolwork and extracurricular activities, and will remember her friends, who she made memories with at school events and in class.
DelVecchio was involved outside of school as a captain of the Westernette flag corps, as a freshmen mentor, a part of class council, and a competitor in academic decathlon.
Her time as a clarinet player in West’s band, which gained her an All-State award, will be warmly remembered because of her time performing at football games, concerts, and at Disney World with her bandmates.
She also was a prolific student in Italian and was named as one of Cranston’s “best and brightest” students.
Next year, DelVecchio will be attending the University of Rhode Island’s College of Pharmacy.
Benjamin Meunier, 10th in the class, will be attending Georgetown University next year with a planned major in business.
At West, he was a member of school’s hockey team, the math team, the media club, the student leadership team, freshmen mentors, and class council. For his efforts in and out of school, he won the Hobey Baker Character Award for hockey and was a member of National Honors Society.
He’ll remember most the times before the school day began and after it ended, when he could spend time with friends, teachers and staff who grew closest to through his numerous extracurricular activities at West.
He said that his family has been by his side the whole time showing constant support, but it was truly his friends who contributed the most to his enjoyable high school experience, in which he developed relationships that will last a lifetime.
His driven nature is what he credits most for his motivation, as well as being friends with others who had similar effort and devotion to their futures.