EAST ORANGE, NJ - The Essex Award, an annual rite of spring in Essex County Scholastic circles, bestows highest distinction upon the leading scholar-athletes, and athletes, representing Essex County high schools, public, private and parochial. Presented by the Men of Essex, Inc., a service organization of African-American professionals and businessmen, the Essex Awards Dinner has become recognized statewide as a prestige salute to the ‘best and brightest’ for the past 58 years. 


The 59th Annual Essex Awards Dinner will be held on Wednesday, May 17th, 7:00 p.m. at Cedar Hill Golf & Country Club, 100 Walnut Street, Livingston, NJ.



Cory Poole of East Orange, the NJ.com Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year last spring and one of the top recruits in the nation plans to attend Syracuse University in the fall. This past spring, Poole became just the third boy in Meet of Champions history to win both the 400-meter hurdles (52.50), and the 110 hurdles in an Essex County record 13.71, which is No. 9 in state history. And he nearly won a third gold medal when he threw down a sizzling anchor PR of 47.0 and almost brought East Orange across first in a thrilling 4x400 as East Orange and Old Tappan each ran 3:15.43. Old Tappan was declared the winner. Poole followed that up with a great quadruple at the New Balance National Championships in Greensboro, N.C. Poole ran a 33.1 300 leg on East Orange's winning Swedish Relay in 1:54.88, led off the second place shuttle hurdles team (58.82), placed second in the 400 hurdles in 51.56, the 7th fastest time in state history, and split 47.49 to bring EO across the line third in the 4x400 in an Essex County record 3:12.83, No. 10 in state history.

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The keynote speaker for the event is Mark Wilf, President | CEO of the Minnesota Vikings Professional Football Franchise. Wilf a native of Hillside, New Jersey is Principal of Garden Homes Development, a nationwide leader in retail, commercial and private residential development. A graduate of Princeton University, Mark served as the radio voice of Princeton Tigers football and basketball. He later graduated from the New York University School of Law. Mark currently serves on several boards, including Vanderbilt University, the NYU School of Law and Princeton Varsity Club. He also serves on the NFL’s Business Ventures Committee.

More than 200 guests are expected to be in attendance at the Essex Awards Dinner, including educators, parents, coaches and a loyal following of avid supporters. Tickets are $70. Sponsorship and ticket information can be obtained by contacting David Clark at 973-673-8632 or by visiting www.themenofessex1958.org.


Essex Award Winner:              Cory Poole, East Orange Campus STEM Academy

Scholar-Athletes                     Rasheed Boyd (Orange High School)

                                                Daniel Carter (Bloomfield High School)

                                                Gayle A. Edelstein (Livingston High School)

                                                Jillian Jennings (Montclair High School)

                                                Oliver Ortman (West Essex Regional High School)

                                                Camille Pham (Columbia High School)

                                                Jalia Santos (Bloomfield High School)

                                                Isabella Waung (Millburn High School)

                                                Travis J. Wright (St. Benedict's Prep)

                                                Zoe Steck (Nutley High School)                                               


Baseball                                               Jack Zyska (Seton Hall Prep)

Basketball (Girls)                              Mya Bembry (West Orange High School)

Basketball (Boys)                             Elijah Olaniyi (Newark East Side High School)

Bowling (Girls)                                   Lauren Potechin (Millburn High School)

Cross Country (Girls)                      Katie Delidow (Millburn High School)

Cross Country (Boys)                      Matt Grossman (Millburn High School)

Fencing (Girls)                                    Julia Thompson (Montclair Kimberley Academy)

Fencing (Girls)                                    Amina Troupe (Montclair High School)

Fencing (Boys)                                  Zohaib Mannan (Millburn High School)

Field Hockey (Girls)                         Julia Russo (West Essex Regional High School)

Field Hockey (Girls)                         Lia Sinisi (West Essex Regional High School)

Football-Offense                             Jasiah Provillon (Irvington High School)

Football-Defense                             Paul Theobald (Seton Hall Prep)

Soccer (Girls)                                     Megan Leffler (Livingston High School)

Soccer (Boys)                                     Mason Toye (Seton Hall Prep)

Softball                                                 Kelsey Oh (Mount St. Dominic Academy)

Swimming (Girls)                              Natalie Dalla Riva (Caldwell High School)

Swimming (Boys)                             Eric Wang (Millburn High School)

Tennis (Girls)                                     Stephanie Schrage (Millburn High School)

Tennis (Boys)                                     Thomas Ito (Newark Academy)

Track (Girls)                                        Kishona McCray (Newark Central High School)

Track (Boys)                                       Willesley Lindo (East Orange High School)

Volleyball (Girls)                               Carly Waterman (Verona High School)

Volleyball (Boys)                              Alcides Dos Reis (Belleville High School)

Wrestling                                             Aidan Monteverdi (Seton Hall Prep)