WEST ORANGE, NJ — West Orange’s 12 schools competed in the Nikhil Badlani Foundation’s fundraising competition in the lead-up to the STOP for Nikhil 5K in September, and the winner was crowned at Gregory Elementary School’s PTA meeting on Nov. 13. With $3,680 raised for the NBF, Gregory families and staff won a $2,000 grant from the foundation to use for anything they choose. Principal Makeida Estupinan received a giant ceremonial check and a smaller real one from Sangeeta and Sunil Badlani at the meeting.
“There’s a fine line between injuries and fatalities in a car accident,” Sangeeta Badlani, the NBF’s president and Nikhil Badlani’s mother, said at the meeting. Nikhil Badlani was 11 years old when he died in a car crash when a driver failed to stop at a stop sign in South Orange. “That’s what we’re trying to prevent. We hope these funds will be used for the right cause.”
Estupinan said she and her staff haven’t settled on a use for the funds yet, but are leaning toward adding it to their music and arts budget. The NBF is also a supporter of music education, providing lessons for low-income students in the district.
West Orange High School raised the most money for the 5K with $4,576, but to win the NBF competition they had to raise three times more than the other schools as WOHS has so many more students. Roosevelt Middle School rounded out the top three teams, raising $1,170.