SUMMIT, NJ - “Paying It Forward” was the theme of the evening at the Summit Board of Education’s final regular meeting of 2015, as Summit High School (SHS) students who have been named National Merit Scholars presented books of their choosing to their favorite teachers.

The Merit Scholars and teachers to whom they presented books were: Brad Lee, Ms. Arkin; Nancy Liu, Mr. Baragona; Jacqueline Li, Ms. Berwick; Alexandra Blomfield, Ms. Blanton; Gabrielle Friedman, Ms. Donat; Ariel Davia, Ms. Friedman; Allison Daney, Dr. Greene; Brooke Daney, Mr. Hogan; Nicole Horner, Ms. Itriyeva; Jeffrey Chen, Ms. Laquerre; Nicole Trone, Ms. Leaman; Sara Szynal, Ms. Lu; Teia Ross, Mr. Magdalenski; Emily Donohue, Mr. Morman; Clara Cho, Mr. O’Dowd; Nicholas Ritter, Ms. Poyner; Hayden Young, Mr. Rapp; Sonia Lee, Ms. Schaffer; Sukrut Sonty, Mr. Sharma; Phoebe Li, Mr. Shipley; Isabel Zachara, Ms. Terhune; Tate Pierotti, Dr. Thayer; Ethan Mandelbaum, Mr. Tobey; Claire Pommier, Mr. Wallock; Benjamin Buchan, Mr. Weinfeld; Emily Gao, Mr. Weinfield, and Laura Pasquale, Ms. Weisgerber.

Also cited by the school board was Elina Turner, an SHS junior, who won the Best Delegate Award in the Model United Nations program. Teacher Steve Ertz joined board member Debra McCann in presenting the award to Turner.

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Another honoree of the evening was Paul Arilotta, who is departing the school district after serving as interim director of human resources from 2014 until earlier this year after Ken Shulack retired from the post. Additionally, Arilotta served as interim principal of the Lawton C. Johnson Middle School after school principal Matthew Block left that post this spring to become permanent director of human resources.

Superintendent of Schools June Chang praised Arilotta for being a tremendous asset to him during his transition after assuming the superintendent’s post in March. He praised the former school official for the “wealth of knowledge, experience and personality” he brought to his positions with the city's schools.

Arilotta thanked the school body, the staff and Chang for their support and help but “especially the kids,” who he said it had been a pleasure to serve.

On another matter, the superintendent announced that the December 17 lottery for the tuition-based full-day kindergarten had produced 160 students, with 86 for the Wilson Primary Center and 74 for the Jefferson Primary Center. It is anticipated that there will be eight sections in the kindergarten sessions. The tuition of $7,175 per year represents an increase of 2.5 percent over the current rate, with discounted fees for those who qualify for the Federal Free or Reduced Lunch Program.

Chang also said that PARCC assessment result reports should be mailed to residents on January 15.

In other action taken, the board named its president, Katherine Kalin, and board vice president and operations committee chairman David Dietze to the board of school estimate.

In a precursor to actually seeing winter weather this year, the education body also awarded a $77,895 contract to Gamka Sales Co., Inc. of Edison for purchase of hydraulic snow removal machines and related equipment.

Assistant superintendent for business Louis Pepe said the purchase, with finance and lease options, is for the largest piece of snow removal equipment the district will purchase this year. He added it would come in handy with an additional mile of sidewalk added due to the Jefferson School renovation and board responsibility for clearing the driveway between Jefferson and the Summit Aquatic Center.