Board of Education celebrates district accomplishments at special meeting

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — West Orange School District highlights and accomplishments were celebrated in second Parade of Honors Board of Education meeting on Dec. 17. The event was hosted by WOHS Council President Selam Woldai and Vice President Mike Petros.

At the meeting, Outstanding Citizenship Awards were given to ChitChat Diner owner Gus Katsanos and manager Leo Novakidis; AJ and Jennifer Fusco of Master Pizza; Althia Tweiten of the West Orange African Heritage Organization; and Rev. Zach Guyton of the Bethany Center of Champions.

From Kelly Elementary School, educators Laura Amendola, Stephanie Coia, Amie Navarro, Amy Pacifico and Stephanie Ross were recognized for The Educator Collaborative. Also recognized were Kelly student social media ambassadors: fourth-graders Jillian Alvarez, Zohnnie Campbell, Keaton Capuana, Faheem Issah, Brendan Kearns, Gianni Locricchio, Sienna Nieves, Samantha Reger, Camila Rojas, Camila Roncal, Emma Shriver Samorian and Danielle Seldon; and fifth-graders Jana Abdelghany, David Attia, Jocelynn Dilkes, Marcus Jackson, Cameron Lau, Michelle Manza, Sofia Morillo, Madison Reynolds and Braedyn Taft.

From Edison Middle School, Future Ready Schools New Jersey gave bronze certificates to Xavier Fitzgerald, Maheen Ahmad, Sandra Bochese, Karissa Carsten, Christina Ferinde, Kelly Gambutti, Arturo Rodriguez and Pamela Romanchuk. Roosevelt Middle School eighth-grader Madison Gough received an award for community service.

The meeting honored West Orange High School Board of Education liaisons Aarushi Bhatnagar and Sessina Dani, both of whom are seniors, and their faculty adviser Catherine Connors.

From the WOHS Department of Athletics, the varsity cheerleaders were recognized for their performance in the UCA Empire Regional Championship, where they won first place in Small Varsity Non-Tumbling and second place in Game Day Non-Tumbling. The squad comprises sophomores Gabriella Charles, Leila Garraud and Myah Sellers; juniors LaCaiya Hill Dewitt and Bri’an Kelly Jackson; and seniors Viviana Cardona, Camryn Fiore, Linnea Nichols, Daniela Wahlers, Emily Weingold, Nayesha Woolridge and Zaria Young. They are led by head coach Olivia Del Spina, and assistant coaches Taylor Calixto and Ashley Rhodes.

Also from the WOHS Department of Athletics, the girls’ varsity soccer team was recognized for being Super Essex Conference, county and state champions. The team comprises freshmen Kiley Capstraw, Kennedy Morgan and Tori Rideau-Winds; sophomores Isabella Cohen, Liz Duarte, Gianna Festino, Britney Fort-Foskey, Emma Mitchell and Kaya Schultz; juniors Emily Baker, Olivia Callendar, Cassidy Joyce, Kiara Machuca, Natalie Nevins and Giovanna Winning; and seniors Mya Bembry, Kaitlyn Charles, Morgan Clark, Nyah Harper, Vanessa Lettman, Katherine Urgiles and Hannah Villasin. They are led by head coach Sean DeVore, assistant coach Chris Maillet, junior varsity coach Sebastian DePinho, freshman coach Dave Perez and volunteer coach Joe Torres. Also, Nevins won Essex County Player of the Year and DeVore was named New Jersey State Soccer Coach of the Year.

In the Department of Career Education, members of the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America Club were recognized for their showing at the FCCLA Fall Conference 2018. Led by faculty adviser Jill Kantrowitz, Ashley Azana and Faith Nzegwu won silver in the Banner Project category; Amy Butcher, Blessing Ezebube and Jordyn Raymon won silver in the Caregiver Carry All category; Ashley Azana, Nanma Biju and Kori Isaac won gold in the Community Counts category; Marissa Edelman and Samantha Joseph won silver in the Cupcake Challenge; and Abun Adegbite and Jordan Fenske won gold in the Go Green Desk Organizer category.

The SkillsUSA National Statesman Award was given to Val Chindea, Shrey Sanghvi and Brett Zeligson; SkillsUSA at WOHS is led by faculty adviser Cheryl Ann Dunlap. WOHS students Jaycee Greer and Alynna Sanchez won second place in the Dynamism Design Challenge under the tutelage of independent study teacher Cindy Celi.

The Technology Student Association came in third place at the Picatinny Arsenal Pumpkin Chuck. The club comprises Brian Balthazar, Jake Dickman, Max Dickman, Daniel Feinblatt, Esther Gratia, Cory Lillis, Scott Lillis, Pierce Moul, Scott Moul and Ameera Seetaha, and is led by club advisers Max Grossman and Rudy Petrella.

The West Orange High School Marching Band, under the direction of Lewis Kelly and Erin Lagatic, won Best Overall Band at the North Jersey School Music Association Regional Championship. The band’s drum majors were Orianna Carter and Anika Fernandes.

Photos Courtesy of WOSD