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West Orange Summer Enrichment Program Hits New Heights

Cynthia Cumming

Friday, July 18, 2014 • 12:22am

WEST ORANGE, NJ - The annual West Orange school district Summer Enrichment program comes to an end on July 18 after several weeks of successful activities, concerts, and attendance.

Held at West Orange High School, the program has been running successfully for several years and is available to students in grades 3-8. It was a unique experience to see elementary and middle school school students moving through the halls of the high school like pros, chatting with the volunteer high school students and enjoying classes during July.

"We have reached the highest enrollment at 485 students this summer," said Lou Quagliato, Supervisor of Fine Arts in the West Orange School district. "Parents have really appreciated the variety of course offerings their children get."

In fact, this year, notes Quagliato, "We added sports activities during the extended day program; and all families needing extended day services were accepted"

48 West Orange school district teachers from the elementary, middle, and high schools provided new and exciting projects for students in a variety of study areas. In addition, several West Orange High School students volunteered their time to assist in program offerings in music, dance, language arts, science, art, and math.

Architectural projects in Math Quest classes to determine what type of structures would withstand force; dancing with surfboards; science experiments; collages; and more were the norm during Tap Into West Orange's visit on July 14.

Lisa Swanick, Freshman Band instructor at West Orange High School, coordinated the program along with Quagliato. Denise Werzen, the WOHS nurse, was on hand full time to assist Swanick and Quagliato in the day to day operations. Swanick, who has accepted a position as Fine Arts Supervisor in the West Essex School District, said the move was bittersweet.

"I have probably learned more from my students here at West Orange High School than I taught," she said.

During the final week of enrichment, the teachers and students held performances and display completed works of art and math projects.

Concerts included orchestra, guitar ensemble, band and Jazz band; performances included Dance, musical theater, and drama, with a final performance by the faculty.

Teachers and students alike were enthusiastic about the program.

"The work the kids have been doing is fantastic, incredible," said Edison Middle School Art Teacher Melanie Racaniello. Her classroom held several types of art treasures ranging from lanterns, to rocks, to repurposed books and textural design.

As the summer enrichment program came to a close, the West Orange school district had yet another program to be proud of.

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