EAST ORANGE/ORANGE, NJ — In January, TAP reported on the Essex County student and teacher winners of New Jersey Association of Gifted Children awards. Now, we are diving deeper into the story of Avien Abney, the winner of the Grades 3-5 NJAGC Distinguished Student Award for 2021.

Avien Abney, age 10, is an honor student at Heywood Avenue Elementary School in the Township of Orange New Jersey. He plays basketball with the Jersey Angels Basketball Team. He swims competitively for Deep End Swim Club in Newark. He has won awards for playing chess with The Newark Chess Club.

Avien is an award winning author of his book that he has written and collaborated with his dad, Virgil Abney. He is currently gearing up to release his second book entitled Why Do We Fall? this April.

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Avien has been named a Readers Favorite Five-Star Award Winning Author, receiving this recognition for his contribution to the literary work that he wrote at age 7 and debuted in 2019 entitled: Random Thoughts: How Reading Helped Me Make Sense of My Thinking.

Avien has been a celebrity reader for a number of schools, organizations, and corporations.

The NJ Association for Gifted Children (NJAGC) is the state chapter of the National Association for Gifted Children.  The non-profit organization is dedicated to advocating for the needs of gifted children through programs and educator professional development, networks, and legislative action in New Jersey.  

The NJAGC Distinguished Student Awards were created to inspire gifted students to reach their full potential, highlight students with exceptional abilities, and to draw attention to the educational needs of New Jersey’s Gifted Students.  The awards were developed to recognize students with exceptional ability and achievements in the areas of Academics, Leadership, and/or Visual and Performing Arts.  Nominations for the 2022 Distinguished Student Awards in all grade- level categories will be accepted from September 1 through December 17 through the NJAGC website at www.njagc.org.