Rockland could soon be the home of a national star. That's because 18-year-old Oceanside High School East student Jake Nagy has beaten out hundreds of entrants from across the country to be named one of 10 male finalists vying for the title of Cutest Vegan Alive in a contest sponsored by peta2 — PETA's youth division.

Because of the fast-growing number of young people ditching eggs and dairy products, in addition to meat, this is the first time in the contest's eight-year history that it was limited to vegans, rather than also allowing vegetarian entrants. All finalists will receive a certificate, and the two winners — one male and one female — will also win a professional photo shoot and star in their own peta2 ad.

"Jake is a perfect example of a young person who's determined to make the world a kinder place," said peta2 Director Marta Holmberg in a news release. "Young people who go vegan show respect for animals, the environment, and their own bodies, and that makes all of them cute in our book."

Nagy went vegan three years ago at his girlfriend's urging, but he has stuck to it because this avid skateboarder shed unwanted pounds and feels much healthier. Now, he regularly shares PETA videos on social media. Nagy — who launched the Gay-Straight Alliance at his school — sings and plays guitar, bass, drums, and the piano, which would explain why he has decided to study music in college.

In addition to the health benefits, every vegan saves the lives of more than 100 animals every year. Raising animals for food is also a leading cause of water pollution, land degradation, and greenhouse-gas emissions.

Voters chose five males and five females as finalists, and peta2 chose another five boys and five girls based on enthusiasm (and cuteness, of course!). peta2 will select the two winners based on several factors, including vote count. To view photos and read bios of all the finalists, please go to:>.