In the kitchen with Jean-Pierre Cazorla

| 15 Feb 2012 | 11:33

Raised in West Milford, Cazorla and his family currently live in Lincoln Park. The move was a family decision to accommodate Jean-Pierre’s commute while he was attending Regis High School in Manhattan. Regis is a Jesuit run, tuition- free school. “When you are accepted to Regis you’re given a full scholarship,” Cazorla said. He spent two years traveling to Manhattan each day but this year he wanted more time to spend on extra-curricula activities. With his family’s blessing Cazorla, known as JP to his friends, is now a student of DePaul High School in Wayne. They still live in Lincoln Park but he hopes someday to move back to West Milford. “I believe you can leave West Milford but West Milford never leaves you,” he said. The Cazorlas have deep roots in West Milford and remain parishioners at St. Joseph Church. They are a close-knit family. “That’s one of the values we uphold. We feel as a family we can do anything and it’s something I want to take with me when I start my own family in the future,” he said. To Cazorla the community of St. Joseph is a second family. He attended the elementary school, received his sacraments there, served as an altar boy and now he’s taking on adult responsibilities as a lector and a team leader for the Confirmation program. He looks forward to following in his father’s footsteps, becoming a Knight of Columbus. His mother and father, Adela and Juan, came to the United States from Peru. They have a daughter, Joann, a Gold Star Girl Scout, who is now attending Quinnipiac University. The Cazorla family can often be seen volunteering at their church. As a young boy, Cazorla was inquisitive by nature. He remains the same and believes that’s what is leading him toward an engineering career. He’s looking at colleges and is leaning toward Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He’s fulfilling his wish to be involved with extra-curricula activities and his plate is full. He is currently playing soccer on two teams, he’s in the Spanish Club, he is a senior Boy Scout patrol leader and he’s training with a new peer-to-peer guidance program at DePaul. “I’m learning a lot about the proper way of being someone to whom other people can go to for help,” he said. Since the sixth grade a large part of Cazorla’s life has revolved around the Boy Scout Troop 114, sponsored by his church. He has now reached the last rung on the ladder and is preparing to become an Eagle Scout, the highest award in scouting. Only about two percent of scouts reach this rank and it is considered a major achievement for the scout, his family and his unit. As much as Cazorla believes that his faith life has helped to shape him, he also believes that being a Boy Scout has had a big impact on his life, and it is not just about camping and wilderness training. “I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve learned how to cope and adapt myself to different environments,” he said. He felt it even helped him navigate his way through New York City as a young teen. “It’s the way you think and approach a dilemma. It gives you confidence, which is key anywhere in life,” he added. Becoming an Eagle Scout is a long process but he was never deterred. Now comes the hard part, the Eagle Scout community project, followed by reviews. His project, quite naturally, will benefit the church he loves. He is planning to build a reflection terrace near the church cemetery. The area has to be cleared, graded and landscaped and he will install tables and benches for people to enjoy the solitude and beauty of the area as they pray or reflect. With his plan comes a price tag of about $2,500. He has been appealing to the members of the church and will gratefully accept donations of any size from the community. He is up for this challenge and he considers all his prior scouting years as the road he had to follow to get to this high point in his life. “My eyes are focused and I’m running straight to the finish line,” he said. While scouting and soccer are the big passions in his life, cooking has taken a back seat. He can cook some but he preferred to give his sister the opportunity to share a recipe that gets rave reviews. “I learned to cook before she did,” he said, but his sister’s casserole is the one requested for family parties. Well, you just can’t excel at everything. Residents who would like to contact Cazorla or make a donation to his Eagle Scout project may do so by calling him at 973-706-5778 or mail him at Jean-Pierre Cazorla, P.O. Box 131, West Milford, NJ 07480. Sweet Corn Casserole Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 45 minutes Serves 8 1/2 cup butter, melted 2 eggs, beaten 1 (8.5 oz.) package of dry corn bread mix 1 (15 oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained 1 (14.75 oz.) can creamed corn 1 cup sour cream Preheat over to 350 degrees Lightly grease a 9x9 in. baking dish In medium bowl combine all ingredients Spoon mixture into dish Bake for 45 minutes or until top is golden brown