WOHS students receive awards at NJASC convention

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — West Orange High School Student Council President Selam Woldai received “Student Leader of the Year” and sophomore Rian DeVera was elected as vice president to the New Jersey Association of Student Councils on Jan. 9.

Selam attended the 93rd annual NJASC convention with DeVera and Health Careers Club Vice President Siddi Moddhi, who worked with Woldai on their award-winning “Top Ten Project” for Green Ribbon Week.

“In this service project, through partnership with the GrassROOTS Community Foundation and using the #GreenRibbonWeek for social media, students become actively involved in the conversation regarding mental health, suicide and assistance,” the NJASC said of the “Top Ten Project.” “Throughout the week, students learn to normalize the conversation about mental health, and an overwhelming amount of statistics that support the notion that many kids feel the same. Students also become aware of our Student Assistance Counselors, who are available to identify issues affecting a student’s mental health and possible impact upon their academic performance.

“During a common lunch block, students circulate the cafeterias with helpful hints and information to improve overall mental health. There are giveaways for students participating in our mental health word wall to help spread awareness,” NJASC continued. “This project creates an environment that supports youth mental health and allow young people to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles while making conversations about mental health as common as conversations about physical health.”

NJASC also recognized that 100 percent of WOHS Student Council members and 25 percent of the Health Careers Club assisted. More than Over 1,000 students out of the 2,200 from West Orange High School participated in the week’s activities and awareness efforts.”

In addition to her role as Student Council President, Woldai is vice president of the Unity Club and editor-in-chief of the high school yearbook. She is a Mountaineer Mentor, a member of the Junior Statesmen of America, and a member of five honor societies. At university next year, she plans to major in political science.

In the words of a fellow Student Council member, “Selam is truly the most ambitious and hard-working person I know. She used her role as vice president of the Unity Club to lead protests on gun reform and host town hall discussions that have involved Sen. Cory Booker. She has tackled every obstacle to come her way and made sure that our student body and community would never face the same.”

According to Student Council faculty adviser Catherine Connors, “Selam is not one to follow the crowd. She is confident in pursuing her interest, regardless of whether they are considered ‘cool’ or not. She is not only a great student but a leader of her peers with the ability and drive to create real social change. She is a born leader and is motivated to create positive change for her peers and fellow Americans.”

Photos Courtesy of WOSD