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What's Going On In West Orange Schools

Cynthia Cumming

Sunday, April 20, 2014 • 11:43am

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Here's the latest round-up of what's going on in West Orange Schools. Two items from the high school, including another successful Gold Medal award for the students of the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, and a touching expression of love and respect for senior citizens in the West Orange community, lead the news.

West Orange High School FCCLA Gold Medal Award

The West Orange High School Chapter of FCCLA participated in the annual State Leadership Conference held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, in Cherry Hill, NJ on March 20-21. The conference, a statewide event, provided leadership workshops, motivational messages and competitions in line with the Family and Consumer Science curriculum. 

West Orange's Jacquelin Rivas Tejeda was awarded a gold medal in the STAR (Students Taking Action with Recognition) Focus on Children category; and Malawi Allen, Jasmine Miller, and Natalie Narcisse won a  Silver Medal in the Illustrated Talk category. The students will move on to national competition at the National Leadership Conference in San Antonio, Texas on July 6-10, 2014.

Other West Orange High School students receiving recognition were STAR Events- Entrepreneurship- Krishna Patel, Tiffany Koffi- Bronze Medal and Life Event Planning- Crystal Nzegwa, Claretta Bellany, Jasmine Miller-Silver Medal winners.

Senior Citizen Prom at West Orange High School

The West Orange High School Student Council sponsored their annual Senior Citizen Prom in the Tarnoff Cafeteria on April 10, decorating the cafeteria prom-style and entertaining hundreds of senior citizens from West Orange. Music was provided by the West Orange High School Orchestra and a hot buffet was provided by Sodexo, the district's food service. Students chatted and danced with the seniors as they all had the opportunity to spend time together.

The first Senior Citizen Prom was held in 2007 to connect students to the seniors in the West Orange Community. Other opportunities for senior citizens at West Orange High School include free performances of the fall play and spring musical, a holiday luncheon and computer classes.

“This intergenerational experience is excellent in that students and senior citizens learn from each other through their positive interactions.  It breaks down stereotypes and barriers,” said Principal Moore.  “Our students and the High School administration always look forward to this fabulous event.”

Liberty Middle School Writes to Special Olympics Athletes

In addition to Roosevelt Middle School, Liberty Middle school participated in a "Welcome to New Jersey" letter-writing effort that greeted athletes competing in the Special Olympics hosted by New Jersey, June 14-21, 2014.

Liberty students created 275 personalized letters for athletes coming from California, Connecticut, Missouri and Tennessee. The 2014 Special Olympics USA Games will involve nearly 3,500 athletes who will compete in 16 Olympic-style team and individual sports on the campus of The College of New Jersey, Princeton University and other Mercer County locations. The Prudential Center in Newark is scheduled to be the venue for Opening Ceremonies.

The students in the classes of Christine Albano, Carmen Gordillo, Jane Horwitz, Patty Richardson, Maryann Solimo and Anne Tempesta provided the individual warm welcome to each of the Olympians. "It's a great way to welcome these athletes to our state and recognize each for their specific athletic talents," Liberty Middle School Principal Robert Klemt said.

The Special Olympics was founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver with the first International Special Olympics Summer Games held in Chicago.  According to the Special Olympics USA Games website, the organization has become "the world’s largest movement dedicated to promoting respect, acceptance, inclusion, and human dignity for people with intellectual disabilities through sports."

Washington Elementary Schools Has Visit from Author Paul Epperlein

Washington Elementary School teacher Victoria Busby organized a visit from children's author Paul Epperlein on April 3.  Epperlein interacted with students in grades K-2 to talk about his book Maybe In My Dreams. Prior to his visit, the students read the book in their classes and created their own writing pieces that were displayed for the author to see. Epperlein and the students enjoyed interactive book reading, a question and answer period, including the importance of sleep and all the places dreaming can take them. To make the day even more special, the students all wore pajamas to school and made dream catcher key chains. 

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