IRVINGTON, NJ — Irvington High School’s state champion football team was honored alongside Irvington Police Department officers who were promoted, and there was a speech and book signing by the Rev. Al Sharpton at Mayor Tony Vauss’ annual State of the Township address on Feb. 24. Held at Transcend Worship Center, it was the first time in a few years the event was held in person, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Parks and Recreation Director Donald Malloy served as the host for the evening and presented a year-end review and recap video of everything that went on in town during 2021. In addition to the football team, the IHS band and cheerleaders were also at the event and were recognized by the mayor and administration.
“We’ve been in a pandemic, and over the last two years we’ve been shuttered in place and couldn’t really go anywhere,” Malloy said at the address. “Then, thank God for vaccinations and COVID-19 testing. We have arrived here at this point, and we don’t take it lightly, because we can easily go back to that place if we don’t take care of what we need to take care of.”
Malloy also praised Vauss and his administration. Vauss is serving his second term as Irvington’s mayor and has announced he is running for a third in May’s election.
“These last four years in this great administration, a lot was proposed to be done,” Malloy said. “And let me tell you, a lot has been done. The mayor has delivered.”
In his own speech, Vauss said it was hard to feature everyone in the event’s program, hence the need for a video.
“We have so many people in support of the township of Irvington,” he said. “When you have the State of the Township address, it’s hard to fit everything into an hour, hour and a half, when you talk about all the things that have been going on. Which is why we decided to show you what goes on, because seeing is believing. You cannot refute what your eyes have just seen.”
The IHS football team was presented with awards commemorating its 2021 season, which saw the team defeat Northern Highlands Regional High School 19-14 in the North Group 4 championship game on Dec. 4. The Blue Knights finished the season with an 11-2 record, and head coach Ashley Pierre was named NJ.com’s Football Coach of the Year.
“The vision that Tony Vauss has given is that we can be together even in these times,” Sharpton said when he spoke at the event. “That’s the Irvington spirit. It’s a spirit of cooperation, that we may not agree with each other on every item, but we are not each other’s enemies. We have to learn how to make this work.”
Photos Courtesy of Tony Vauss