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Bridgewater Courier News

Matthew Hartzler, Arthur L. Johnson High School senior, recently earned a merit scholarship with a value of $30,000 per year through the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Medal Program. The Rensselaer scholarship is awarded to outstanding math and science students. 

Matthew Hartzler, Arthur L. Johnson High School senior and scholarship recipient. (Photo: ~Courtesy of Clark Public School District)

According to Rensselaer, a university based in Troy, New York, the medal was ”first presented in 1916 with two purposes: to recognize the superlative academic achievement of young men and women, and to motivate students toward careers in science, engineering, and technology.”

School Counselor Molly Cusick stated, “Matt is a very hard-working student that always looks to take on new challenges, both academically and personally. He is very deserving of this honor, and I look forward to helping him make his college decision in the Fall.

Baldwin Wallace University

Taylor Lang of Hillsborough was among nearly 600 first-year students welcomed to the Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio this fall who earned over $10.2 million in merit scholarships. Lang, a graduate of Hillsborough High School majoring in theatre stage management, earned a $19,000 Trustee’s Scholarship based on outstanding academic achievements in high school. BW’s merit scholarships are awarded to full-time students and are renewable up to four years with good academic and social standing. BW offers a wide range of financial support to its students – more than $51 million for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Hofstra University

The following Central Jersey residents at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York earned their undergraduate, graduate, or law degrees this spring and summer. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual commencement ceremonies were held on Aug. 23.

  • Kiran Ahmad of Bridgewater, bachelor’s degree in economics.
  • Mohamed Albashir of Union, Juris Doctor in Law.
  • Nicolas Bermudez of Old Bridge, bachelor’s degree in journalism.
  • Eric Bruder of East Brunswick, bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship and marketing.
  • Brandon Caccavale of Monroe Township, Juris Doctor in Law.
  • Olivia Cacciatore of Springfield, bachelor’s degree in finance.
  • Karina-Leigh Calise of Old Bridge, master’s degree in health administration (MHA).
  • Marisa Campione of Edison, bachelor’s degree in drama.
  • Richard Corbet of Edison, bachelor’s degree in finance.
  • Khristal Depina of Union, master’s degree in journalism.
  • Lori Engler of Warren, bachelor’s degree in marketing and business analytics.
  • Gabrielle Fallon of Green Brook, bachelor’s degree in theater arts.
  • Michael Gargiulo of Edison, Juris Doctor in Law and a master’s degree in business administration.
  • Nicholas Geremia of Rahway, master’s degree in education in higher education leadership & policy studies.
  • Jennifer Goldstein of North Brunswick, bachelor’s degree in journalism.
  • Zachary Gollin of Springfield, bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance.
  • Isabella Gonzalez of North Brunswick, bachelor’s degree in psychology.
  • Nikita Griffith of Plainfield, bachelor’s degree in criminology and sociology.
  • Nicholas Guerrino of North Brunswick, bachelor’s degree in philosophy.
  • Yifan Hu of Bridgewater Township, master’s degree in finance.
  • Victoria Hyppolite of Plainfield, Juris Doctor in Law.
  • Zhu Liu of Princeton, master’s degree in accounting.
  • Angela Lombardo of Milltown, master’s degree in speech-language pathology.
  • Yu Lu of Princeton, master’s degree in sports science.
  • Oleksiy Lunhu of Edison, Juris Doctor in Law.
  • Ha-Nhi Mai of Union, bachelor’s degree in video/television.
  • Ankita Patel of Monmouth Junction, master’s degree in speech-language pathology.
  • Anna Paterson of Green Brook, bachelor’s degree in dance education.
  • Grace Janet Philip Chelliah of Hillsborough, master’s degree in health administration. 
  • Rachel Rea of Piscataway, bachelor’s degree in community health.
  • Raymond Ruiz of Scotch Plains, bachelor’s degree in film studies & production.
  • Courtney Shapiro of Hillsborough Township, bachelor’s degree in journalism.
  • Jessica Sodowich of Bridgewater, bachelor’s degree in public relations.
  • Da Song of Princeton, master’s degree in business analytics.
  • Shivangi Trivedi of Kendall Park, master’s degree in health administration.
  • Lingjie Zhou of E Brunswick, bachelor’s degree in information systems.

READ: The good things students in doing in Central Jersey and beyond

READ: Education news from around the region

READ: College Connection: Advice from local expert columnist

Mount Saint Mary Academy

Seven Mount Saint Mary Academy students were among 23 students who participated in the Academy’s Senior Summer Scholarship Program.

Senior Tara Schilke participated through her attendance at the George Mason University STEM Program’s Intro to Cybersecurity online course. 

Schilke, a resident of Pittstown, shared, “My program helped me explore my interest in cybersecurity as a possible minor in college. I was able to learn from actual college professors and explore the field without the commitment of a full graded course.”

“I would recommend the Senior Summer Scholar program to any Mount Saint Mary Academy student who wants to give back to their community or learn more about topics that interest them,” she concluded.

Tara Schilke of Pittstown attends George Mason University STEM program. (Photo: ~Courtesy of Mount Saint Mary Academy)

Senior Emma Barrett participated in the Georgetown University Summer School Law Academy, an online program.

Barrett, a Bernardsville resident, shared, “l had the opportunity to listen to many lawyers give lectures on controversial topics and current event issues.”

“I really enjoyed this program, as I got to have dialogue with students from around the globe. From this experience, I learned how to respect people’s opinions that differ from mine,” she added.

Senior, Samantha Bialecki, participated by studying Medical Terminology at Rice University.

Bialecki, a resident of Edison, said, “It was all done virtually, but this opportunity allowed me to meet new people from around the country, enhanced my love for the field of medicine and science, make me more confident in my studies, and taught me some valuable life and academic skills.”

“Overall, it was an amazing and extremely rewarding experience and I am so grateful I was able to participate in it,” she said.

Martha Byrne of Watchung, a senior, values her experience as an intern for the Downtown Westfield Corporation (DWC) this summer. Her volunteer efforts were part of the Academy’s Senior Summer Scholar program.

“I had a great experience interning for the Downtown Westfield Corporation this summer,” said Martha. “I helped them promote downtown Westfield as businesses began to reopen. For example, I photographed the new butterfly art exhibit for promotional materials, interviewed ice cream eaters on the street for the DWC Instagram, and created a database of the vacant businesses in town.”

“Doing this gave me the opportunity to learn about how local businesses operate, step outside of my comfort zone, and further explore my interest in economics, all while giving me the opportunity to give back to my town,” she said.

Rachel Mack earned college credits through her successful completion of a virtual course at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

“Science in the Real World: Finding Your Voice,” was a four-week (July 20-August 14) intensive course in which Mack completed experiments, wrote lab reports and essays, and learned about various STEM fields. The course also focused on major issues facing the world and the scientific community (climate change and anti-vaccination sentiment to name a few). At the end of the course, Mack developed a deeper understanding of the impact science has in our modern world and is considering ways she can make a positive contribution to these issues.

“It was an incredible experience,” said Mack, a North Plainfield resident. “This course has given me a better understanding of the issues our country and the world are facing today, and I had amazing professors and mentors that made this program memorable.”

Senior, Kayla DeAngelis, attended the pre-college summer at Brown University, an online program, as she focused on abnormal psychology.

DeAngelis, a Basking Ridge resident, shared, “I am extremely grateful to have participated in such an informative program as Abnormal Psychology at Summer@Brown for four weeks over the summer. As someone who wants to pursue a career as a clinical psychologist, this class allowed me to get a glimpse into what I will be studying in the future.

“It gave me the opportunity to get a better look at various mental illnesses and treatment options that I will be working with in my field of study,” said DeAngelis.

Senior Ainsley Klein of Watchung, attended the two-week Wake Forest University Summer Immersion Medicine Institute for her Senior Summer Scholars program and completed her capstone project in Telemedicine. The course was led by Wake Forest School of Medicine professors and included immersive simulations, lectures and training with medical professionals and doctors from the hospital.

“Journey into the Heart of Medicine: An Insider’s Guide to Becoming a Doctor,” was a two-week intensive course in which Klein experienced an inside view of a working hospital and was introduced to the medical professionals, technologies and medicines used to treat patients. The course also provided insight into the many types of academic, scientific and practical training required of different healthcare professions. The concepts learned were reinforced through an interactive case study of a cardiovascular patient.

Klein, a Warren resident, said, “This simulated patient experience allowed me to experience the life-cycle of a heart attack patient and get an inside view of the patient’s comprehensive treatment including initial symptoms, multiple surgeries, rehabilitation and recovery.”

 “The Wake Forest Medical program was an incredible experience,” Klein stated. “This course gave me in-depth view of a career in STEM.  I learned so much from the amazing doctors, professors and mentors and am so grateful for this opportunity.” 

Senior Roselyn Ortiz participated in the Wake Forest Neuroscience Institute, an online program, over the summer.

“I have a deep interest in psychology and the brain, so I decided to learn more about the field of neuroscience,” explained Oritz. “I was originally supposed to go in person, but because of COVID-19, they made it virtual.”

She added, “I am glad I was still able to participate because it was very insightful. I’m considering studying neuroscience in college.”

The Office of Campus Ministry and the Office of Student Services developed a proposal for rising seniors to be especially recognized for their significant summer community service or employment.  The Senior Summer Scholar program contributes to and develops a sense of purpose in the work that the student does within the community, college study, or unpaid internship.

Ruth Anne Munroe, Associate Director of Campus Ministry, said, “This experience helps the student to understand the need for community service, college study, and/or gaining valuable career skills helping her to recognize her role in society.” 

“The Senior Summer Scholar program is not a graduation requirement,” she added. “It is our hope that rising seniors look towards this experience as an opportunity to document their work and achievement, to work with a mentor, to journal their activities, and to present their experience to other students providing inspiration to others.”

Also: The Social Studies Department at Mount Saint Mary Academy recognizes junior Gabriella Robinson of Piscataway for completing 187 hours of community service from the United Nations Global Goals Organization for Good Health and Well-Being for 2019-2020.

“My project is about how we can protect water sources from further pollution. I try to bring awareness and action to water pollution by doing clean-ups, posting flyers, and using social media,” said Robinson.

According to, “Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being at all ages is essential to sustainable development.” 

Robinson added, “With my community service project, I can help people live healthier and hopefully inspire them to protect the Earth’s natural resources.”

Joanne Cadigan-Peters, social studies department chair, said, “Thank you, Gabriella, for your service and your continued service in protecting our water and promoting healthy lives for all. Congratulations.”


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Thomas Edison EnergySmart Charter School

TEECS’ Visionary Volunteers of the Red Cross led by Arnav, a 10th grade student at TEECS, were called to action again when the Red Cross announced its shortage of blood recently. On Sept. 23, Club President Arnav, along with club members Zoe, Honiyah, and Dhvani hosted a blood drive with the Red Cross. Thirty donors showed up to donate and together, everyone’s efforts helped save 69 lives. A special thanks to TEECS’ Administration and Faculty for their support.  

Blood Drive hosted by Thomas Edison EnergySmart Charter School students visionary volunteers of the Red Cross. (Photo: ~Courtesy of Thomas Edison EnergySmart Charter School)

Wardlaw+Hartridge School

While the April 2021 Symposium, Inclusive Communities: Race and Identity, is still many months away, the student committee at The Wardlaw+Hartridge School in Edison is already hard at work.  On Tuesday, Sept. 22, the Symposium Student Committee met after school for a Zoom session to discuss their summer reading selections. Students read one of the following books:

  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
  • How to Be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy, and the Racial Divide by Crystal Marie Fleming
  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi 

Working Zoom breakout groups, committee members participated in energetic student-led discussions focused on new knowledge, lasting ideas and personal connections. Discussion leaders were seniors Taliyah Williams of Rahway, Nadia Valcourt of South Plainfield, Anna Razvi of Somerset and JohnPapetti III of Elizabeth. Their discussions will help inform their work this year as they help craft the school’s spring Symposium.

Also: Chris Teare, director of college counseling at The Wardlaw+Hartridge School in Edison, announced that five seniors have been named Commended Students in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship program. Congratulations to Noah Apter of Springfield and Pranay Arora, Tarun Ravilla, Neil Shah and Mark Zhang, all of Edison. A Letter of Commendation from the school and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation will be presented to these scholastically talented students.

About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2021 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 scorers of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2021 competition by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT.

Westfield Public Schools

The Westfield Public School District is seeking substitute teachers and school nurses who hold appropriate credentials. The district accepts candidates with a standard certificate, Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CEAS), Certificate of Eligibility (CE), or a current County Substitute Certificate.

The district is also seeking substitute paraprofessionals and secretaries. Contact Jill Kelly in the Human Resources Department at [email protected] or 908- 789-4400 ext: 4425.

Student and School news appears on Fridays. Email:[email protected]

Carolyn Sampson is Executive Office Assistant for the Courier News, The Home News Tribune and, and handles the weekly Student News page. To get unlimited access, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

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