PLAINFIELD, NJ - Plainfield's Board of Education meeting on Tuesday evening featured presentations recognizing students and a teacher at Maxson Middle School.
Principal Kevin Stansbury introduced Maxson students who have been accepted into the Upward Bound program at Rutgers University. He said the program is very competitive, and the students will stay in the program throughout high school.
According to the website, the Upward Bound program provides the young scholars with a series of specialized preparatory services that include "tutoring, mentoring, advising, programming, college courses and on-campus experiences with research faculty to increase student persistence and graduation from high school and admission to institutions of higher education."
"We're very proud of these young people, and to their parents who came with them, I want to thank you. This is the face of Maxson Middle School, these young people here," Stansbury said.
The board's student liaison, Ajaleen Frazier, a 12th grader at PAAAS, congratulated the students, saying she, too, is a participant. "I'm actually a part of the Upward Bound program and I'm graduating from it this year, so unfortunately, I'm not going to be there with you guys."
Frazier said, "I just want to let you guys know that this program is very beneficial to the community and to you guys yourself. I took that program very seriously." Frazier told the students she applied to Rutgers, and thanks to Upward Bound, she learned about FAFSA®, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, grants, and subsidized loans.
She added, "I will only have to pay $5,000 of the $35,000 that it costs to go there. It's very important that you take the program seriously. They'll give you tutoring, they'll give you SAT prep, so it's beneficial in the long run."
Stansbury also introduced Michelle Huff, a Health and Physical Education teacher at Maxson, where she has been named Teacher of the Year.
"You all know the fantastic job she's done as a softball coach," Stansbury said. There were 60 girls who had tried out, and 40 made the team.
"On top of that, why she's here tonight is because the state is beginning to review New Jersey standards." He said Huff applied, was accepted, and will now sit on the review team for Union County, reviewing the standards for the upcoming school year.
Anthony Navarro and Justin Garcia, also students at Maxson, were recognized for their "act of bravery in taking a leadership role" when they found a 5-year old who had been dismissed from kindergarten, and got out of his home on March 1. They were able to get the scared child to the school, and waited until both the police came and the boy was reunited with his parents.
Interim Superintendent Dr. Ronald Bolandi said that going forward other schools will attend meetings to present to the board. "I think we need to see more positive things in the school district."