The National Honor Society (NHS) announced Akshat Parthiban, a senior at Thomas Edison EnergySmart Charter School in Somerset, has been selected as an NHS Scholarship recipient. Parthiban was chosen from nearly 10,000 applicants and will receive a scholarship toward higher education.
Since 1946, more than $19 million in scholarships have been awarded to outstanding NHS senior members to support college access and student success. The scholarship program is supported by the parent organization of NHS, the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).
In the 100 years since NHS was founded in 1921, members have been making a difference in their schools and communities, and the NHS Scholarship is NASSP’s way of recognizing the most exceptional of these student leaders. Recipients are chosen based on their demonstrated work to support the four pillars of NHS: scholarship, service, leadership, and character.
At Thomas Edison EnergySmart Charter School, Parthiban is the founder and president of the speech and debate team, where he mentors students to improve their public speaking skills. He also founded a 501(c)(3) nonprofit Music Shines Bright, where Parthiban created a platform to match student musicians and senior homes to provide music therapy. This fall, he will attend the University of Penn to study Computer and Information Science.
Linden Public Schools
Even in a virtual world, Linden’s music education program is the real thing.
Linden Public Schools have been named among the Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) in America for the seventh year in a row. Linden is one of about 685 districts across the country to be chosen for the honor for 2021.
The NAMM Foundation (National Association of Music Merchants) has recognized the district for its outstanding commitment to music education. Linden is one of 41 districts in NJ and four in Union County to be selected.
“This honor is a testament of how valuable the arts are in Linden,” said Matthew Lorenzetti, supervisor of fine and performing arts. “As a district, we are very fortunate to have such strong support from all our upper administration as well as the Board of Education. We have a staff of music teachers that would do anything for their students.
“This has been extremely evident this past year as we have all dealt with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to maintaining a safe environment during this time, the focus has not only been on teaching music, but also the mental health of our students.”
Lorenzetti said teachers spent countless hours learning how to incorporate social and emotional learning into the arts, in addition to using multiple new digital platforms to teach and record students in order to give them as close to a “normal” music education as possible.
“Our students are doing extremely well despite the difficulties of being mostly virtual and not being able to perform or rehearse in-person in ensembles,” he said.
Now in its 22nd year, Best Communities for Music Education highlights outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students, and community leaders who work together to ensure access to music learning for all students as part of the school curriculum.
“We’re very excited to have received this prestigious honor for the seventh year in row,” said Superintendent Dr. Marnie Hazelton. “It is a testament to the dedication of our administrators, teachers, and students that we have been able to maintain this level of excellence year after year. Music is always a critical part of our curriculum in Linden, but it was especially vital in the year of the pandemic to give students a creative outlet as they dealt with the realities of COVID-19 and virtual learning.”
The BCME survey was sent to nearly 14,000 school districts across the country asking detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Center for Public Partnerships and Research, an affiliate of the University of Kansas.
Lorenzetti said he has sat in on numerous classes throughout the year and was very impressed with the level of skills from students “despite the nontraditional methods of teaching.”
“I could not be prouder to be part of such an extraordinary department,” he said. “I am looking forward to the end of the year when we will be sharing numerous virtual performances of what our students have been working on this year.”
New Brunswick Public Schools
For the first time in 13 months, students at all K-5 and K-8 public schools in New Brunswick have returned to their classrooms. A few things may have changed since March 2020, including everyone wearing masks and the regular use of clear, plastic barriers … but the most important thing is that in-person learning is once again underway.
Thomas Edison State University
If at-risk residents of the city of Trenton cannot get to a COVID-19 vaccination site, W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing and Health Professions students are coming to them.
On Monday, April 12, nursing students in the Accelerated BSN Program stepped in to assist with the roll out of the city’s vaccines for home bound populations. The event is part of an ongoing effort in administering vaccines to thousands of at-risk residents. The event was overseen by Dr. Adela M. Ames-Lopez, Trenton’s director of Health and Human Services.
“We are deeply committed to our community and well-prepared to partner in the massive coordination of this effort,” said Dr. Ana Maria Catanzaro, associate dean for Graduate Nursing Programs at the school, who is charged with coordinating student nurse teams and educators from TESU and other NJ-based institutions during the effort. “While the students fulfill their clinical hour requirements and build their on ground community nursing skills, they are helping to avert the most serious public health crisis of our generation for the most vulnerable and deserving members of our community.”
Residents of South Village Two Apartments on Stokely Avenue who were registered to receive the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, but could not safely make their way to the building’s lobby area to receive it, had the vaccines administered in their own apartments by TESU nursing students under the supervision of their clinical instructors.
To learn more about this and other academic programs available through the W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing and Health Professions, visit www.tesu.edu/nursing.
Union County College
Union County College’s women’s basketball team won the title of National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 19 Champions for a fourth consecutive year. For the title, the Lady Owls defeated Lackawanna College, 73-42 on Saturday, April 3.
For a second year, sophomore Brianna Mills was named the Tournament MVP. Head coach Marbely Montas, a Union alumna from the Class of 2007, was named Region 19 Coach of the Year for a fourth time. With this win, the Lady Owls now advance to compete against Region 20 champion Potomac State College of Keyser, West Virginia in the East A District Championship. This game was played on Saturday, April 10, at Raritan Valley Community College. The winner of this game advances to the NJCAA National Championship held from Tuesday, April 20, through Saturday, April 24.
“We are very proud of the Lady Owls for once again winning the title of NJCAA Region 19 Champions,” said Union President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin. “This past year has been particularly difficult for our student-athletes due to delays and restrictions from COVID-19. These young women have worked hard to remain focused on their athletic and academic goals and their efforts have paid off. We wish them luck in their next game.”
Also: In support of the state’s 65 by 25 initiative, for 65% of adults to have earned a post-secondary credential by 2025, Union County College reminds residents that registration for summer and fall classes is open now. There is an increasing demand for a skilled labor workforce who have post-secondary credentials, and currently, less than 50% of adults in Union County have a college degree. Individuals who have never attended college or those who have credits but no degree are encouraged to enroll.
Union County College offers affordable tuition, with no increase for the 2021-2022 school year. This is the second year in row with no increase. For those who have college credits, Union accepts transfer credits. On top of the affordable tuition, eligible students may attend the college tuition free. Those who enroll in at least six credits and have an adjusted gross income of $0-$65,000 may be eligible for NJ’s Community College Opportunity Grant. There is no separate application for this grant. Students who complete the FAFSA or NJ Alternative Financial Aid Application are automatically considered.
The college offers a flexible array of scheduling options. Students build a schedule that works for their needs. Classes are offered face to face on campus, in Cranford, Elizabeth, and Plainfield, with the Scotch Plains campus re-opening in the fall; remote live; and online. The college offers more than 60 programs of study including supply chain, cybersecurity, business, criminal justice, education, and more. Of that, currently 17 programs are offered completely online.
Students are encouraged to register now to create their ideal schedule. Payment for fall classes is not due until Thursday, Aug. 5. Fall classes start on Wednesday, Sept. 1. If you need assistance, the student services centers are open in Cranford, Elizabeth, and Plainfield. For those who are unable to visit campus, they also offer remote student services. The application to Union, link for remote student services, and more information can be found at ucc.edu/fall or call 908-709-7000.
“We know there are many adults in Union County who want or need to pursue a college degree: to change careers, to be considered for a promotion, or whatever your reason may be. Union County College is here to help you. We are an affordable, flexible option right in your own backyard. We provide excellent support to our students: our goal is to help you earn your degree. Every member of our faculty and staff is laser focused on student success,” said Union’s President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin.
The Wardlaw+Hartridge School in Edison hosted its Upper School Symposium — “Inclusive Communities — Race and Identity” – on Wednesday, April 14. The daylong event featured keynote speakers, presentations, workshops and breakout discussions moderated by a group of guests.
Danielle Belton, newly appointed editor of The Huffington Post, delivered the first keynote — “Be Proud of Who You Are” — in the morning. Imam Khalid Latif, a W+H graduate from the Class of 2000 who is the chaplain at NYU, followed with a second keynote and speak on “When Hate Wins, We All Lose: Our Role In Breaking Down The Roots Of Racism.”
Breakout sessions included those moderated by Zduy Chu, “Cultural Competence;” Dr. Shekinah Fashaw-Walters, “Black Lives Matter Less: Race, Place, & Health;” Kerel Cooper, “Professional Development and Growth Moving Through The Ranks;” Gaby Acosta, “What Makes a Good Ally? Establishing Ground Rules for a Supportive Community;” Dr. Sahar Aziz and Habibbah Johnson, “Islamophobia: Present Day Impact and Solutions” and Alvin Gilmore, “Continuing Conversations About Race.”
The Symposium Committee, led by Nicole Nolan, director of Global Scholars and Community Outreach, hosted this event. Other committee members include seniors Taliyah Williams of Rahway, Neil Shah of Edison, Anna Razvi of Somerset, Mikayla Cole of Plainfield and John Papetti III of Elizabeth, and faculty members Kyle Modes, Jean Castellano, Jason Murphy and Dr. Deb Clifford.
Also: Congratulations to freshman Luke Tan of Edison and eighth-grader Shourya Chhabra of Roselle Park, students at The Wardlaw+Hartridge School in Edison, for receiving recognition for their musical talents during Spring Break. Both W+H students were accepted into the Region Jazz Band Dizzy Gillespie Ensemble through video audition on Thursday, March 25. A large number of students auditioned this year and the best student videos were chosen for two ensembles. The performance will be virtual this year and presented in May.
Tan also participated in both the NJ Arts Solo and Ensemble Festival and the POTS (Percussion on The Sound) Percussion Festival in March. For the Solo and Ensemble Festival, Tan scored the top rating of Gold one for both jazz drum set and snare drum. Tan was one of only eight students to receive a Gold one rating for two performances. Because of his Gold one ratings, he is now eligible for the state competition. For the POTS Festival, Tan scored the top multi-percussion performance for his division. Both of these festivals were adjudicated by professional percussionists and educators.
Also: The Wardlaw+Hartridge School in Edison hosted an eighth grade summit — “Race and Climate Justice” – on Monday, April 12, through Wednesday, April 14, with the students also participating in the Upper School Symposium on the final day of the event.
Early this school year when it became clear that the traditional eighth-grade trip to Washington, D.C. would not be possible due to the pandemic, an alternative plan was developed. Noreen Jafri, eighth grade coordinator, has worked with Ana DeLeon, associate director of admission; Dr. Corinna Crafton, middle school head, and a group of eighth grade student volunteers to plan a three-day Summit that will focus on areas of social justice important to the community. The goals of this special program are similar to those of the traditional trip to the nation’s capital: provide opportunities for civic engagement and develop a deeper understanding of problems confronting the nation and the world in order to work toward solving them.
Race and climate change were identified as two key topics to be addressed during the first two days of the Summit. On the third day, eighth graders spent part of their day attending the Upper School Symposium — “Inclusive Communities — Race and Identity” — and then conclude their Summit with an action challenge to plan next steps. The student leaders have contributed their creative ideas and suggestions, making this event highly engaging and brimming with activities, discussion, reflection and personal growth.
Westfield Public Schools
Child comfort and support kits for children in homeless shelters, donations of Spanish language books for an aftercare program, and collections of granola bars and other nutritional treats for service men and women and first responders were among the many creative efforts undertaken during Community Service Week in the Westfield Public School District.
Community Service Week — held this year during the week of Monday, March 22 — is organized each year by the Parent Teacher Council and school Parent Teacher Organizations, who found ways to continue the annual tradition in the midst of the pandemic.
Some schools utilized online “Wish Lists” of much-needed items to collect for food banks, animal rescues, and other charitable organizations. Students joined the various efforts through involvement in student government, community service clubs, and other student organizations.
“Community Service Week is an important part of who we are as a school community,” said Superintendent Dr. Margaret Dolan. “I am grateful to the PTC, our PTOs, and our students and staff for their year-round commitment to helping others.”
Student and School news appears on Saturdays. Email:email@example.com
Carolyn Sampson is Executive Office Assistant for the Courier News, The Home News Tribune and MyCentralJersey.com, and handles the weekly Student News page.