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End-of-Year Recognitions Highlight Board of Education Meeting

WEST ORANGE, NJ - The final Board of Education meeting of  2021 was held on Dec. 20 and featured several end-of-year recognitions.

Girls Soccer 1220

The Girls Soccer team was recognized for an outstanding season, winning the Essex County Championship and making it to the semifinals in the states. With BOE President Terry Trigg-Scales, Asst. Coach Sebastian DePinho, Coach Sean Devore, BOE member Cheryl Merklinger, Supt. Dr. Scott Cascone, and players. (Team: Tori Rideau-Winds, Kennedy Morgan, Caitlin Bridger, Jessica Welcome, Alexis Dalmacy, Sidda Mitchell, Anna Deer, Charley Dvorin, Anya Steigbigel, Jaiden Schultz, Josephine Locricchio, Hayley Rodriguez, Lucy Fishkin, Daniella Malanga, Chloe Mondi, Madison Cyrus, Morgan Miller, Francesca Schuler,  Lauren Villasin, Aminata Diop, Aria Evans, Hannah Amoyaw, Team Manager- Dorinda, Destine. Coaches- Sean Devore, Chris Maillet, Sebastian DePinho, Dave Perez.)

Freshman Football Team

The 2021 freshman team bounced back to a “normal”
football season with a 9-0 undefeated record this fall with volunteer high school and PAL coach and paraprofessional Joe Anderson. With Supt. Dr. Scott Cascone, BOE President Terry Trigg-Scales, coaches, and BOE member Cheryl Merklinger.(Team: 
Nicholas Adams, Carl Appolon, Christopher Barrino, Darius Brown, Brian Calle Yanez, Savion Carson, Bryce Davis, Jayden Desiveres, Anthony Dlouis, Joseph Feli, James Gatzke, Ivan Gainer, Navee Glenn, Zion Gordon, Joshua Heartwell, Josh Hill, Daniel Iannone, Mason Insana, Daniel James, Micai Jenkins, Jabari Johnson, James Malone, Eahjay McAdams, Ryan Morris, Jahid Salaam, Aidan Tiernan, Samaje Toney, Jamel Touzel, Brian Vasquez, and Terrell Wilfong. Coaches: Joe Anderson, Abdul Hanks, Donald Massey, and Anthony Shaw.)

Ari Rosu

Senior Ari Rosu was recognized for his accomplishments on the Boys Soccer team: Three-time All-Conference (2019, 2020, 2021), three-time All-County (2019, 2020, 2021), three-time All-Section SCANJ (2019, 2020, 2021), Two-time First Team All-Group IV (2020, 2021) two-time First Team All Group All-State (2020-2021), Essex County Player of the Year 2021, USC Regional All-American (2021) - only the second athlete in WOHS history to achieve this honor. Rosu will continue his athletic and academic career at St. Joseph's University where he will play Division One soccer. (L-R Supt. Dr. Scott Cascone, BOE President Terry Trigg-Scales, Ari Rosu, Head Soccer Coach Doug Nevins, BOE member Cheryl Merklinger.

Amina Anekwe

Amina Anekwe was recognized with an Outstanding Citizenship Award for her work with The GrassRoots Community Foundation as Teen Ambassador for End Period Poverty. (L-R) Supt. Dr. Scott Cascone, BOE President Terry Trigg-Scales, Amina Anekwe, BOE member Cheryl Merklinger.)

Anay Badlani

Senior Anay Badlani was recognized for Outstanding Citizenship as the President of the Nikhil Badlani Foundation Youth Advisory Board. Badlani leads a team of 14 students that promotes traffic safety awareness in the community and through education and policy change. (L-R Supt. Dr. Scott Cascone, BOE President Terry Trigg-Scales, Anay Badlani, and BOE Member Cheryl Merklinger.)

Samantha Nunez

 Samantha Nunez received Outstanding Achievement recognition for receiving admission into the 2021 Summer Journalism Workshop, held June 27 - July 1 at Montclair State University. Over the course of the program, Ms. Nunez lived in a college dorm, gained hands-on experience with many aspects of journalism production, including; writing, TV and radio production, filming and photography equipment, and covering a professional baseball game, including interviewing and photographing players. (L-R) BOE President Terry Trigg-Scales, ELA Teacher Jennifer Dahl, Samantha Nunez, BOE member Cheryl Merklinger, and Supt. Dr. Scott Cascone.

The Pioneer

The Leadership Team of WOHS Newspaper The Pioneer received recognition for Outstanding Student Leadership, hard work, commitment, and growth as student journalists. during the 2021-2022 school year. (L-R) Pioneer advisor Jennifer Dahl, Managing Editor Kiley Capstraw, BOE President Terry Trigg-Scales, Co-Editor-in-Chiefs Marley Dias and Devin Wilkes, BOE Member Cheryl Merklinger, and Supt. Dr. Scott Cascone. 

Chloe Altejos

Edison Sixth Grade student Chloe Altejos received an Outstanding Achievement Recognition of Entrepreneurship certificate. Chloe runs her own crochet Business on Etsy and participated in the 2021 Craft Fair hosted by the WOHS Cheerleaders on Saturday, November 27 where she was sold out. In addition, Chloe maintains her grades while cheerleading for PAL. (L-R) Supt. Dr. Scott Cascone, BOE President Terry Trigg-Scales, Chloe Altejos, and BOE member Cheryl Merklinger.

Hayden Moore

West Orange High School Principal Hayden Moore received an Excellence in Leadership recognition for rising to the extraordinary challenges encountered during the global pandemic. Moore led by example, trusted his team, and ensured that WOHS continued to function as an award-winning school for 2,500 plus students. By taking on additional responsibilities, Moore made sure the students had what they needed to succeed. In his spare time, he is a volunteer PAL football and baseball coach. His “we can do it” always positive attitude and the smiles he brings to everyone he encounters are just a few of the reasons why Principal Moore was recognized for his leadership. (L-R) BOE President Terry Trigg-Scales, WOHS Principal Hayden Moore, BOE member Cheryl Merklinger, Supt. Dr. Scott Cascone.

Anne Mernin

 Anne Mernin of Toni's Kitchen in Montclair was recognized for her community service for food assistance provided to the school district by the organization. (L-R) Supt. Dr. Scott Cascone, BOE President Terry Trigg-Scales, Anne Mernin, and BOE member Cheryl Merklinger.

Dr. Joanne Pollara

Dr. Joanne Pollara received recognition for Outstanding Leadership. Dr. Pollara came out of retirement to take over the helm at Betty Maddalena Early Learning Center after Principal Connie Salimbeno went out on medical leave. (L-R) BOE President Terry Trigg-Scales, Dr. Joanne Pollara, BOE member Cheryl Merklinger, and Supt. Dr. Scott Cascone.

Gina Velasquez Long-time member of West Orange Special Education Advisory Committee Gina Velazquez was recognized with an Outstanding Community Service certificate for the organization of the West Orange Warriors, a special needs group involved in and around West Orange. (L-R) BOE President Terry Trigg-Scales, Gina Velazquez, BOE member Cheryl Merklinger, and Supt. Dr. Scott Cascone.

Awards and Recognitions Not Present at Board of Education Meeting:

WOHS student Rohan Sarkar attended Michigan Technological University for eight weeks over the summer in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Sarkar participated in the Research Experience for Undergraduates program TECH SCEnE (Technology, Science, and Community Engagement in Engineering) where he participated in the wild rice project and some related activities in partnership with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC). He also took part in the restoration effort at Sand Point Beach with members of the TECH SCEnE program. Read all about it in his published blog HERE.

WOHS students in the Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) received recognition for Outstanding Achievement, winning several awards at the Fall FCCLA competition. Read the article HERE.

Redwood Elementary School Second Grade teacher Jennifer Paull and Third Grade teacher Paul Stefanelli received Outstanding Citizenship recognition for developing and implementing the first-ever school-wide Social-Emotional Learning Day (SEL). Read the article HERE

Redwood Custodian Marcelous Hockaday was recognized for Outstanding Stewardship as he went above and beyond in his efforts to keep the school safe and clean for students and staff.

Administrative Director of Community Health & Outreach at Saint Barnabas Medical Center Margie Heller was recognized for Outstanding Community Service for her support of the school during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Betsy Stephens, Founder of Yoga Playhouse was recognized for Outstanding Citizenship for her support of the school district during the Covid-19 pandemic.

West Orange Health Director Michael Fonzino was recognized for Outstanding Community Service for supporting the school district during the pandemic.

Parent Elizabeth Redwine was recognized for Outstanding Citizenship for her success with the West Orange Magnet Fundraiser.

















Cynthia Cumming
Jan. 3, 2022