SOMERSET, NJ - The Franklin Township Board of Education held a special meeting Monday night to honor the achievements of students over the past year.

Families crowded the auditorium of the Franklin Middle School Hamilton Street Campus to hear teachers and staff spotlight the work students do throughout the year, often toiling behind-the-scenes for months to flourish at the county, state and national level competing for a variety of accolades.

Superintendent John Ravally said the board held the meeting to recognize “all the wonderful things that our students do daily and to thank them for representing our schools throughout the district the way they do.”

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Students honored on Monday received distinctions for their work in a variety of academic, athletic, artistic and civic fields.

Maleah Williams, a fifth-grader at Conerly Road School advanced through the local, county and state portions of the Fire Safety Poster Contest. Her thoughtful, well-planned piece took home the top prize in the third- through fifth-grade category and will be featured in next year’s fire prevention calendar.

Last year, Franklin Township collaborated with the Three Doctors Foundation to give students the opportunity to present projects that have positive impacts on their communities. This year six students presented six winning projects from across the district. Samya Reid and Shakina Fleurmond won first place for Franklin High School and Danielle Trovato won second place. From Hillcrest School, Alexis Hugo, Rohan Amin and Rahul Amin placed fourth.

Out of 350 nominations from across the region, three students from Claremont Elementary School and three students from Franklin Park School were selected to participate in the Central Jersey Music Association’s Elementary Honors Band. Haleigha Jones, Arjun Moorjani and Amogh Basker represented Claremont Elementary School, while Dylan Shah, Krish Patel and Om Hatalkar represented Franklin Park School.

The Hamilton Street Campus, Sampson G. Smith Campus and MacAfee Road School also saw students selected into the Central Jersey Music Association’s Honors Orchestra.


Karthik Vemparala took to national television this year to compete on Food Network’s “Kids Baking Championship.” As his town cheered him on from their couches, Karthik displayed not only his culinary talents but his good sportsmanship as well.

The STEAM Tank contest, held by the New Jersey School Boards Association, has students invent something new, modify an existing product, or identify a situation or real-world problem that needs resolution. Clarissa Furtado, Natalie Derikito, Isha Gajera and Maya Zavatsky were able to advance to the regional tournament with their project.

In March, a team of seven eighth grade students placed third in the team event of the Science Bowl. Ashish Lal, Chloe Leong, Janki Patel, Vineet Shah, Roma Antala, Raina Desai and Clarissa Furtado achieved some of the highest scores on the tests, which included high school and college level questions on a variety of topics.

This year’s Paul Robeson Youth Achievement Awards, which honor outstanding and high-achieving African-American students, saw a host of Franklin students recognized. Nadell Booker and Darnelle Marche took home Athletics Awards; Alivia Guions won the Arts Award; Ariel Richards and Major Elliot both received Renaissance Awards, Ty-anna Dormeus won the Community Service Award; and Ryan Kpamegan and Sarala Thompson took home Scholarship Awards.

The Somerset County Teen Arts Festival is an annual event that features students performing visual art, music and dance, with a few of these students being invited to participate at the state festival. The Hamilton Street Campus and Sampson G. Smith Campus eighth-grade boys advanced dance classes performed at the event this year.

The Somerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission Gallery also selected work from three middle school students -- Juayryah Abdlkader, Rachel Beedasee and Sarala Thompson -- to feature in its gallery.

Shayla Sommers and Luis Natal, both students at Franklin High School, also had work selected for showing in the Somerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission Gallery.

The Franklin High School JROTC Drill Team took home the third place title in the unarmed and armed categories at the North League 2019 Drill Competition. The JROTC physical fitness team also saw Ntim Afriyie place third in the male pull-up, Caroline Mwenda place fourth in the female shuttle run and Carolyn Torres place fourth in female pull up at the South Jersey Joint Military Services Commander’s Cup Competition.

At the Ivy League Model UN event at the University of Pennsylvania, Franklin High School’s team secured an honorable mention, while also taking home an award of merit from the National High School Model UN event in New York City.

Franklin High School students also won third place in the video category for the League of Woman Voters Contest, with Natasha Ishaq receiving an honorable mention in the essay category.

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