BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ -  Two Governor Livingston students shined last month after being named “Students of the Month.” Teachers from all departments nominate students who “foster a culture of respect, responsibility and integrity within the school.” A committee of teachers, led by teacher Kathleen Agnostak, meet to discuss the pool of applicants. Two exemplary students are then chosen and their pictures are hung in the main office. Most recently, senior Samantha Felipe and junior Aoife Rouse were recognized as January’s students of the month for fulfilling all criteria.

Felipe, who goes by Sam, was surprised to hear she had won but grateful nonetheless. “I didn’t expect it!” Felipe said. Her friends and family were just as enthusiastic. Felipe has a bubbly personality and is easy to talk to, definitely factoring into why she was selected as Student of the Month. Felipe describes her lifestyle as, “trying to be nice to everyone,” which is a very important and valuable message to live by. Although Felipe is excited about her award, there is one specific aspect of winning that she would have changed. “Usually when people get student of the month they get a free pizza,” Felipe revealed. “I got an award but not ‘compensation’. Mrs. A said that she doesn’t think we are doing that anymore.” Certainly the gift of a pizza would supercede all expectations of winning student of the month, but there is no doubt that Felipe is thrilled with her acknowledgement.

Along with being Student of the Month, Felipe is involved in numerous activities. Felipe works down the hill from Governor Livingston at the Lantern Hill Senior Retirement Home. She is a waitress alongside other GL students. As a senior, she is enrolled in classes that are specific to her interests, one of which includes AP Spanish which she very much enjoys. When asked what she likes to do for fun on a regular basis she said that she “likes to draw and hang with [her] friends.” Felipe’s ability to balance a rigorous work schedule while also devoting time to relax shows her worthiness of the title of Student of the Month!

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Rouse had similar thoughts when she was announced as a Student of the Month. Rouse said,  “I was surprised and honored that my teachers thought of me as deserving of this.” Rouse brings into light a good point: gaining the recognition of teachers is something most students deem unattainable. Rouse values the validation as well, “[I am] proud of myself because I work really hard in school.” Rouse also said, “My friends and family were so happy for me,” showing how wonderful it is when someone surrounds themself with supportive people. Rouse’s devotion to her academics was greatly rewarded just by her knowing that teachers see her commitment.

Rouse’s resume also boasts of many accomplishments as she is an accomplished student athlete. Rouse participates in track & field, and works at a children's’ summer camp to gain experience for a future career in teaching. Rouse’s mother owns and teaches at the Long Hill Montessori school, leading Rouse to follow in her footsteps. During the academic year, Rouse works at a local party place. Rouse can also be seen publicly supporting different causes. She has attended multiple Women’s Marches to advocate for gender equality, and performs at the annual Relay For Life Event which she dubs, “A great cause!” Rouse’s service to her community gained her the Service Award at her Columbia Middle School graduation.

Both Felipe and Rouse were without a doubt rightfully named “2019 January Students of the Month.” Their loyalty to Governor Livingston and sunny smiles as they walk down the halls are a tremendous component to the school. The students of GLHS are a lucky group to claim Sam Felipe and Aoife Rouse.

Editor's Note: The Highlander is the student newspaper of Gov. Livingston High School featuring articles written by staff and guest writers covering a variety of topics of interest to the students.