Board of Education Recognizes Exiting Board Member and Award Winners


LIVINGSTON, NJ – At Monday's Livingston Board of Education (LBOE) meeting, two board members’ terms came to a close and elementary, middle school and high school students were formally recognized for the mathematics, athletic, world language, and teaching tolerance awards they’ve recently received. 

Upon completing his one-year term as the LBOE Student Representative, junior Tej Thakkar received praise for his year of service from various board members and was presented with a letter of thanks from the board. 

“Thank you for all of your contributions and your insights as a student,” said board member Pamela Chirls. “It was always wonderful to hear the questions you had for the administration and the things you had to point out because of your involvement with Livingston High School.”

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Tej’s twin brother, Dev Thakkar, who will take Tej’s place for the 2016-17 school year as Tej assumes his role as vice-president of the student government, read the oath of board service, was officially installed, and took his seat at the table for the first time.  

“You have big shoes to fill here at the board table,” said LBOE president Ron Spring. “But we’re sure you will do an amazing job, as well.” 

Also exiting was Dr. Ernest Palestis, who has served as interim superintendent of schools since last September. Palestis has worked with the LBOE on a number of initiatives during his term, including the district’s 1:1 computer initiative, launching this summer, and a continuation of more flexible participation in the PARCC testing program, for which he has lobbied with the state Board of Education.

Beginning on July 1, Christina Steffner will assume the role of superintendent of schools. 

Students who were recently recognized for academic and extracurricular awards were then acknowledged for their accomplishments. Each honoree was called upon to receive a recognition certificate and have his or her photo taken with the LBOE members, all of whom were in attendance. 

Both Heritage Middle School (HMS) and Mt. Pleasant Middle School (MPMS) sent teams to participate in the Continental Mathematics League and Math Counts competitions.

Alan Zhu received a national Euclidean Division Grade 6 award, while 15  seventh- and eighth-graders had a perfect score of 30 or a second highest score of 29 in the competition. Additionally, HMS’ seventh- and eighth-grade math teams walked away as national winners in the Euclidean Division. 

The HMS Math Counts team took first place in the region while the team’s Nick Wang earned a prestigious, individual “first place in the region” honor.

Both Livingston High School (LHS) and HMS students participated in the Essex County Math League competition, which featured teams matching wits in the areas of Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry, Statistics, Advanced Math, and Calculus.  Proudly, the Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and Geometry teams earned Livingston Public Schools first place wins for an astounding 28th year in a row while the Calculus and Advanced Math teams earned second-place wins.

Students excelling in some of the 28 varsity sports available at LHS were celebrated for some record-setting accomplishments awarded by the LHS’ Big “L” official sports booster program. Those acknowledged included:  Sarosha Parsons (Ed McInroy Female Athlete of the Year award for becoming the eighth female in school history to eclipse 1,000 points in girls’ basketball), Garrett Meinhardt (Charles Winters Male Athlete of the Year award for twice leading the boys’ soccer team to the Essex County finals), Ryann Unger and Mackenzie Brower (Mickey Litvak awards, for demonstrating exceptional commitment and school spirit to the sports program), and Karri DiTonno (Steven Cherenson award for qualifying for the Meet of Champions in track and field in the category of pole vaulting).   

Additionally, LHS won two state sectional championships for Boys Tennis and Girls Softball (North I Group IV State Sectional titles).

Of the 146 LHS students who participated in the largest National Spanish Exam of its kind in the U.S., 53 students took home a gold medal, another 53 took home silver, 17 students earned bronze, and 19 received an honorable mention in the category of World Language awards.

Carrying on in the district’s growing tradition of excellence in the area of character education, Harrison Elementary students and their teachers were present to receive the praise of the LBOE for being recognized as one of 91 model schools in the country participating in the Mix It Up Initiative of Teaching Tolerance.

Teaching Tolerance focuses on breaking down social barriers that lead to conflicts, bullying and harassment.  Harrison was recognized by the program for going “above and beyond to provide students an opportunity to get to know their classmates and to maintain a sense of unity.”


Middle School Mathematics Honorees – Continental Mathematics League and Math Counts Competitions:

Alan Zhu, Jesse Li, Hannah Zhi Ting Swee, Molly Cantillon, Michelle Li, Aditya Desai, Edward Wang, Andrew Li, Jack Tokuda, Ryan Lee, Jacqueline Chan, Amanda Mei, Gene Lu, Gene Liu, Ethan Wong, Max Xu


Essex County Math League Honorees:

Adam Chang, Melinda Hu, Richard Kim, Kevin Xiang, Malavika Krishnamurthy, David Lin, Jonathan Ackerman, Jerry Zhuang, Alisha Zhu, Amy Liu, Max Xu, Amanda Mei, Andrew Li, Gene Liu, Ethan Wong, Nicholas Wang, Edward Wang, Kevin Chen, Jesse Li, Andrew Du, Jason Hu, John Qian, Howie Shen, Ranvir Bhatia, Nikita Mahashwari, Carrie Li, Varun Maheshwari, Priansh Shah, Tina Wu, Minkyu Yang


Lancer Athletics Notable Honorees:

Sarosha Parsons, Garrett Meinhardt, Ryann Unger, Mackenzie Brower, Karri DiTonno


World Language Notable Honorees:

Yellin Yao, Ian Gordon, Melinda Hu

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