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Board of Education Recognizes Step Teams, Poet, and Retiring Mathematics Teacher

WEST ORANGE, NJ - To end Black History Month on a high note, the West Orange Board of Education recognized the award-winning Step teams, a published poet, and a beloved mathematics teacher retiring after three decades of teaching at Edison and Roosevelt Middle Schools during the Feb. 26 meeting.

Conflict Resolution and Student Affairs Coordinator and Student Council Advisor Catherine Connors introduced WOHS senior Makayla Rivera, who recently published a stunning book of poetry, "Prayers to Catch a Butterfly." Rivera read from her book.
Connors then brought up the Optimal Precision (Girls) and Ab-Salute (Boys) Step teams, who performed short routines. On Feb. 17, Ab-Salute took first place in the Youth Step USA NJ Regional High School Stepping Championship, held in Newark on Feb. 17, and Optimal Precision took fifth place. Both teams are headed to the National Competition, to be held at Newark Symphony Hall on May 25.
In a touching moment, Superintendent Hayden Moore asked Roosevelt Principal Lionel Hush, Asst. Principal Olivia Betances, and former Board of Education member Terry Triggs-Scales to approach the podium and recognize Mr. Albert Alston, who is retiring as a mathematics teacher after 30 plus years. Alston was one of the first black teachers hired at Edison Middle School by legendary principal Errol Scales. Scales was committed to increasing diversity among staff. Triggs-Scales presented a plaque to Alston on behalf of her late husband. 
"I am here because men like Mr. Scales and Mr. Alston laid the foundation," said Moore.
Alston was honored as an outstanding educator, mentor, peer, and person. 
Also an inventor, Mr. Alston plans to promote his new DEET-free insect repellent after retirement.
(L-R) Board member Robert Ivker, BOE President Brian Rock, Superintendent Hayden Moore, Terry Triggs-Scales, Albert Alston, RMS Principal Lionel Hush, RMS Asst. Principal Olivia Betances, BOE VP Maria Vera, Board Member Eric Stevenson, Board Secretary Tonya Flowers.
Makayla Rivera
Optimal Precision Girls Step Team
Ab-Salute Boys Step Team
Cynthia Cumming
Feb. 26, 2024