by Ashley Bouwense
Randolph Township Schools’ 2015-2016 school year was filled with giving—giving of donations, time and brainpower to both the Randolph body of learners and also those outside the district’s walls.
Six Randolph teachers were awarded as Teachers of the Year; they received surprise visits from their principals and Interim Superintendent Jennifer A. Fano back on Jan. 14 and 15. Principals presented the teachers with certificates, flowers and balloons. Students cheered and clapped; it was an exciting time for everyone.
The 2016 winners are: Center Grove’s fourth grade teacher, Marissa Kulahi; Fernbrook’s kindergarten teacher, Maureen Frio; Ironia’s second grade teacher, Janice Freidland; Shongum’s general music teacher, Natalie Ernstes; Randolph Middle School’s sixth grade social studies teacher, Rio Clemente; and Randolph High School’s (RHS) business teacher, Martel Roberts.
The Board of Education honors each winner with $500 to spend on something to support their instructional practices. The Randolph Education Foundation will also honor the teachers at its Randolph Rocks event in November. Each winner may apply for the Morris County Teacher of the Year.
Ironia Elementary School students donated more than 80 used toys to Second Chance Toys and Head Start through the Ironia Has Heart program this May.
“I really enjoyed playing with my yellow truck when I was little, but now someone else can enjoy it,” third-grader, Brendan, said.
Ironia parent Liz Clogher brought the toys to the School Readiness Program at Head Start through the non-profit group Second Chance Toys. Head Start collects gently used plastic toys that do not biodegrade in landfills. The toys will be distributed to preschoolers and other Head Start classrooms.
The RHS Chamber Choir, under the direction of Matthew Swiss, performed live on the Fox News Channel morning show “Fox and Friends” Fri., Dec. 18 at 7:50 a.m.
It was by coincidence that the Chamber Choir had the opportunity to perform on Fox. While the group performed during their annual caroling trip in New York City Dec. 16, the Executive Director of the Fox News Channel heard their holiday tunes outside the news building. He asked the producer to go outside to invite the choir to perform for the show’s holiday melodies live. The students were thrilled to be able to share their music with the nation.
RHS hosted its first ever TEDx event, “TEDx Youth@Randolph,” on April 6. The event included live talks, musical performances and videos.
Five students created the experience through the high school’s Option II program with “The Trailblazers” as its theme. According to the “TEDx Youth@Randolph” site, a Trailblazer is “Someone who stands up against societal norms, gets their hands dirty and facilitates change.”
Seniors Charlotte Schreiber and Joey Hart hosted the night. Rose Bolinder, senior, set the tone for the evening by singing Gabrielle Aplin’s “Panic Chord” and playing the guitar.
The night was filled with powerful videos and talks. One talk given by former RHS teacher was about the importance of failure for a growing trailblazer.
“Each speaker had such a great story,” said Josh Dunn, attendee at the event, “and though they were all so different, they embodied the idea of trailblazer in their own way.”
RHS’s Boys’ Varsity Soccer team raised $1,300 for the Carol W. and Julius A. Rippel Breast Center at Morristown Memorial Medical Center in its “Let’s Kick Cancer” fundraiser.
“Every year we try to do something to give back to the community,” Kevin Weber, one of the team’s senior captains, said.
The team sold t-shirts printed with pink soccer balls and the phrase “Let’s Kick Cancer.”
Renee Trambert accepted the check for the center and thanked the team for their generous donation. The donations will be used for educational materials about the center’s new services, including its 3D Mammography.
“I applaud you,” Trambert told the boys. “Your donation will help many women including your mothers, aunts and sisters.”
Randolph’s talented school district has affected its schools and surrounding community for the better and looks forward to utilizing its talents to help others in the future.