Members of the Hammonton Rotary Club on Aug. 3 heard from four outstanding local high school students, who described their experiences attending a club-sponsored, five-day leadership conference on the campus of Stockton University.

Gabrielle Sirolli from St. Joseph High School and Gianna Midure, Nicolas DeFiccio and Sean Trinh, all from Hammonton High School, were selected by the Hammonton Rotary Club to attend the 2015 Rotary Youth Leadership Award conference held from June 21 to 25 at Stockton. A fifth student, Daniel Fiore of St. Joseph High School, also was sponsored by the Hammonton Rotary Club, but was unable to attend the Aug. 3 meeting at Rocco’s Townhouse.

The 36th annual RYLA conference brought together 150 high school juniors from across southern New Jersey for a leadership event funded by the 50 sponsoring clubs of Rotary District 7640, including the Hammonton Rotary Club.

The students said they were moved and inspired by the challenging experiences, inspiring motivational speakers, and thought-provoking lessons and programs. DeFiccio read a letter to the club that summed up his feelings about the opportunity to attend RYLA.

“RYLA taught me how to explore other people and see from their perspective,” he wrote. “As a result of learning about others, I was able to learn about myself as well. Being able to communicate with these people gave way to new leadership abilities.”

DeFiccio said he has been able to use the skills he learned at RYLA to help others. He called it “an amazing experience.”

Students were selected through an application and interview process.

Hammonton Rotary Club’s annual sponsorship of RYLA conferees is made possible by Hammonton area residents and businesses who patronize, sponsor and support Hammonton Rotary Club’s various fund-raising events.


Open to Hammonton-area high school juniors attending public or private school, applications for the RYLA conference become available in January of each year. Visit, the high school guidance office or the Hammonton Rotary Club Facebook page after the new year.

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