December 30, 2012 at 8:23 PM
WEST ORANGE, NJ - As we head into 2013, we thought it would be a good idea to take a look back at some of the many highlights - and lowlights of what made the news here in West Orange during 2012. Maybe it will make the town seem bigger to you. Maybe it will make it seem smaller. Over the next several days, look for top news in the schools, the town, and the community. If you think of something we miss, let us know.
First up is top news in the schools here in town. The West Orange Public School District is comprised of 7 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, and one high school. There are over 6800 students, and hundreds of administrators and educators. 2012 was an eventful year for the school district. Here are some highlights:
Coming off a terrific season overall, two West Orange wrestlers medaled at the State Wrestling Championships in Atlantic City.
The Annual 'Iron Chef' competition at West Orange High School raised money for books at the Elementary Schools.
Marie DeMaio, Principal of Washington Elementary School, was recognized for 50 years of service to the school district.
The West Orange High School Boys Step Team won first place at the National Youth Step Competition USA in Harrisburg, Pa.
508 Students graduate from West Orange High School on June 21. Karen Ku and Toby Rudoltz are the Valevictorian and Salutatorian. Outgoing WOHS Principal Arthur Alloggiamento is recognized as he retires. Several graduates also received scholarships at Senior Awards night.
Superintendent Anthony Cavanna was placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. No further information was offered by the Board of Education due to human resources law pertaining to personnel. In October, the Board announed Cavanna's resignation, effect ive December 31, 2012.
After a lengthy search, Hayden Moore, Assistant Principal at West Orange High School, is named Principal to replace Arthur Alloggiamento.
James O'Neill, former Superintendent for the Chatham School District, was named Interim Superintendent for the West Orange School District.
Former West Orange High School Honors English Teacher and Essex County Teacher of the Year Erica DePalo, was arrested for alleged sexual misconduct with a minor West Orange male student. She turned herself in and subsequently posted bail in the amount of $100,000. She pled not guilty to charges in Newark Superior Court. A recent conversation with the Essex County Prosecutor's office regarding Ms. DePalo's indictment confirms that no court date is currently set.
After the Board of Education voted to move their non-partisan elections to November, several debates and informal question and answer events were held with Board of Education Candidates Michelle Casalino, Ron Charles, Joe Sorbino, and Adam Kraemer. Casalino, the Incumbent, and Ron Charles, newcomer, won the election.
The West Orange High School Cheerleaders won the SEC Conference Championship in Bloomfield, NJ.
Merit and Achievment Scholars at West Orange High School are recognized.
West Orange High School Students Tricia Elias, Casey Kriak, and Melissa Dennis won National Gold medals at the Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America, Inc. (FCCLA) National Leadership Conference held in Orlando, Florida from July 6-12, 2012. Co-advisors Cyndee Critelli and Dora Wong-Macias accompanied the girls to the conference, which hosted 7,000 students nationwide. Their winning project was “Fire Safety for Preschoolers."
Roosevelt Middle School, along with the Jewish Community Center, experienced a bomb scare on December 3. Both buildings were evacuated according to planned protocols and nothing was found.
The West Orange High School Mandarin Chinese Program is now nationally recognized.
Liberty Middle School provided holiday gifts for every student at Washington Elementary, thanks to parents, PTA, staff, kids, and the Jackson Malia Fund.