West Orange BOE holds Parade of Honors to recognize outstanding individuals

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — The June 21 end-of-year Board of Education meeting featured its semiannual Parade of Honors recognitions for the notable achievements of staff and students. 

Roosevelt Middle School students Rhianna Giuliano and Violet Kohlstein won the Outstanding Community Service Award for their environmental health work; Liberty Middle School students Natalia Feliz, Justin Lopez and Nicole Ng won the Outstanding Creative Expression Award for their Passages essays and poems; West Orange High School Board of Education liaisons Andree Celestin and Olivia Ridley won the Student Leadership Award; WOHS student Soham Bhatnagar won the Outstanding Community Service Award for founding the Little Free Pantry project in town; WOHS Student Council President Anya Dillard won the Student Leadership Award and the Outstanding Community Service Award for her work in promoting Juneteenth and Black Lives Matter; and WOHS student Victoria Bratsos won the Dylan Pennell Mountaineer Trailblazer Award for founding Student Advocates for Mental Health Awareness at the school.

The Outstanding Community Service Award was given to Dr. Michael Kelly, who specializes in sports medicine; RWJBarnabas Health Vice President Margie Heller; Toni’s Kitchen Executive Director Anne Mernin; PTA Presidents Skye Monahan from Gregory School, Victor Garcia from Washington School, Jennifer Craine from St. Cloud School, Patricia Gomes from Redwood School, Fatou Mbaye from Hazel School, Laura Ramos from Kelly School, Katie Witzig from Mount Pleasant School, Mary Dunleavy from Edison Middle School, Susan Pasquale from RMS, Lee Sutton from LMS and Brooke Tippens from WOHS; West Orange Special Education Parent Advisory Council Chairpersons Gina Velazquez and Christina DeMarco, treasurer Amber Newsome, Diversity Chairperson Ysaura Fernandez, Education Chairperson Nicole Ruffo, Events Chairperson D’Laisa Francis Abdullah, Web Chairperson Deb Milstein, and secretary Lisa Renwick; district nursing staff members Linda Connolly Schoner of the Betty Maddalena Early Learning Center, Kemi Aborisade of Redwood, Patience Allotey of Hazel, Shena Brown of St. Cloud, Rosalie Dudkiewicz of Gregory, Nancy Feldman of Kelly, Brianna Grasso of Mount Pleasant, Janis Lewis of Washington, Elizabeth Ramos of EMS, Eleonora Ackerman of RMS, Rosemarie Tan of LMS and Denise Makri-Werzen of WOHS; District Communications Team members Fil Santiago, Anthony Picinich Jr., Rishi Ramchandani and Perry Bashkoff; District Equity & Access Committee members Cheryl Butler, Event de Mendez, Michael Figueiredo, Lionel Hush, Kimya Jackson, Hillary Rubenstein and Stephanie Suriano; grants writer Terry Granato; and ESL teacher Mary Quiroz.

Science teacher Catherine Connors won the Distinguished Service Award. Winning the Outstanding Scholarship Award were educators who recently completed doctorates: WOHS Assistant Principal Lesley Chung, WOHS vocal music teacher William Farley and WOHS math teacher Jessica Nuzzi. Finally, RMS Principal Lionel Hush won the Meritorious Service Award.

Photos Courtesy of WOSD