Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center honors Best Teammate Award recipients

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LITTLE FALLS — Continuing a beloved tradition in local high school sports, for the 12th consecutive year, the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center honored student-athletes from member schools of the Super Essex Conference in a celebration of the qualities that made Yogi Berra a national treasure. 

Recipients of the museum’s 2024 Best Teammate Award, selected by their respective athletic departments, exemplify the strength of character, sportsmanship and supportive spirit that, though often unheralded, are vital to a team’s success – qualities that were on full display Wednesday evening, May 22, at a ceremony in the museum’s stadium-style theater and live-streamed for remote audiences. 

The event was sponsored in part by Stadium System, the largest independent reconditioners of athletic equipment in the United States, and the largest team dealer in the Northeast region.

In her welcome remarks to the students, Eve Schaenen, the museum’s executive director, said, “To tonight’s award recipients: the fact that you’ve been selected for this award means that your coaches and your athletic directors are all in agreement that you are your school’s best representatives of Yogi Berra’s values. So I want to thank all of you because you’re making the job of our museum that much easier. In your actions and in your words, you are keeping Yogi’s legacy alive and strong. And that’s what this place is all about.”

The 42 winning students, together with family members, coaches and athletic directors, had the opportunity to hear from special guest Lindsay Berra, sports journalist, documentary film producer and eldest grandchild of Yogi Berra. Lindsay Berra also serves on the board of her grandfather’s museum.

Steve Jenkins, athletic director of Bloomfield High School and one of the event organizers, summarized the significance of the Best Teammate Awards in a message to athletic directors of the Super Essex Conference: “Last night at the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center, we saw a unique fraternity – the best teammates as identified from each of your schools. Their stories are inspiring. In this day and age, everyone is consumed with numbers: batting average, points per game, 40-yard-dash times. While those things are important, it is often those things that cannot be quantified that are most significant. These young people are examples of all that is good in high school athletics.”

The 2024 Yogi Berra Museum Best Teammate Award Recipients are:

  • Jadyn Humber – Arts H.S.
  • Brian Grant – Bard H.S.
  • Ayled Paguay – Barringer H.S.
  • Joshua Abramson – Belleville H.S.
  • Sophia Llanes – Bloomfield H.S.
  • Isabella Cutalo – Cedar Grove H.S.
  • Sage Reed – Central H.S.
  • Henry Cooper – Columbia H.S.
  • Arthur Pankey – Eagle Academy
  • Melvin Okere – East Orange H.S.
  • Matthew Amaro – East Side H.S.
  • Joy Okaro – Essex County Newark Tech.
  • Robert Foster – Essex County Payne Tech.
  • Angel Rivera – EC West Caldwell.
  • Harper Nix – Glen Ridge H.S.
  • Maya Taylor-Prince – Golda Och Academy.
  • Kole Grandison – Immaculate.
  • Peterlyne Charles – Irvington H.S.
  • Mackenzie Durkin – James Caldwell H.S.
  • Kodey Freeman – Livingston H.S.
  • Asad Riggins – Malcolm X. Shabazz
  • Emma Boland – Millburn H.S.
  • Matthew Hymowitz – Montclair H.S.
  • Eli Solomon – Montclair Kimberley Academy.
  • Ariana Rivera – Mount St. Dominic.
  • Nicholas Sikellis –Newark Academy.
  • Najee Graham – Newark Collegiate.
  • Jabril Terry – Newark Lab.
  • Amarise Escobar – North Star.
  • Rocco DeLitta – Nutley H.S.
  • Amaya Fortunato – Orange H.S.
  • Riana Starling – Science Park H.S.
  • Patrick Miller – Seton Hall Prep.
  • Alessandro Giammatteo – St. Benedict’s.
  • Kiara Green – St. Vincent.
  • Makai Knights – Technology H.S.
  • Mirabel Babanawo – University H.S.
  • Megan Wynne – Verona H.S.
  • Elijah Motley – Weequahic H.S.
  • Shaun Bertonaschi – West Essex H.S.
  • Bryce Mengden – West Orange H.S.
  • Ademide Johnson – West Side H.S.

The Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center is a nonprofit sports education organization on the campus of Montclair State (NJ) University. The Museum’s mission is to preserve and promote the values of perseverance, respect, sportsmanship and excellence through inclusive, culturally diverse, sports-based educational exhibits and programs.

For additional information about the Museum, please visit www.yogiberramuseum.org or call 973.655.2378.

Photos Courtesy of Nikki Morton