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Student Presentations and Recognition Highlight West Orange Board of Education Meeting Feb. 13

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Innovative academic and artistic curriculum and the recognition of the National Champion West Orange High School Marching Band kicked off an eventful Board of Education meeting on Feb. 13.
Presentations by Mt. Pleasant Elementary, St. Cloud Elementary, and West Orange High School engineering students opened the evening.
Mt. Pleasant "Read for the Record"
Mt. Pleasant Principal Julie DiGiacomo described the school's experiences in October with "Read for the Record." "Read for the Record" is an international program launched over a decade ago to bring attention to high-quality early learning. 
Mt. Pleasant and Kelly Elementary both participated in the event, which featured Sarah Pennypacker's book "Pax," the story of a five-year-old fox that must return to the wild after his friend Peter can no longer keep him, and their journey to find each other again. 
DiGiacomo discussed the complex academic activities prior to and after reading the book; a Google hang-out with Kelly fifth grade students; discussions about what peace means, how can you share peace? and thoughts from students on what they learned through the experience. It is estimated that over two million students and adults participated in this year's "Read for the Record." 
Since 2006, Read for the Record has grown into a global effort, collectively engaging over 17 million children and adults worldwide.  
St. Cloud Art Project - Vincent Van Gogh
Principal Eric Price described the latest art projects at St. Cloud with the addition of new art teacher Lori Howe. Howe taught students about Expressionism and Vincent Van Gogh. Fifth-grade students shared with the board what they had learned about the artist and displayed their own versions of "Starry Night."
Steam Tank Presentation 
WOHS Tech Supervisor Ryan DelGuercio and teacher Max Grossman introduced students that had participated in the Army Corps of Engineers' STEAM Tank Challenge in Atlantic City.
Brothers Kevin and Brett Zeligson designed the "Rajin" bicycle that will be able to charge a cell phone while the bike is in motion. Utilizing the DECIDER process used in engineering and technology classes, the boys are also working on perfecting their design with a lithium ion battery. 
Matt Hascsack designed a new expandable filter for aquarium tanks and along with his partner is looking to develop and market the "Aquarium Cares" filter.
Marching Band Recognition
"We know how hard it is for you to do what you do, and how hard you work," said Superintendent Jeff Rutzky to members of the marching band and leaders Lew Kelly, Erin Lagatic and Josh Zimmer. 
"And you do it very well," he continued. 
"You make us all very proud. You are respected and praised for how you carry yourselves not only by all of us, but by others schools and organizations."
The Mountaineers had a season for the record books, winning almost every single competition they participated in, and also receiving state and national titles.  

Cynthia Cumming