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LIVINGSTON, NJ – As the Livingston Public Schools district begins its new school year, the Livingston Board of Education (LBOE) has sworn in senior Nirav Patel as the Livingston High School (LHS) Student Government Association's Liaison to the LBOE.
Introducing himself to the public on Monday during a meeting that also included some first-week updates from the superintendent, Patel shared the fun fact that he loves to travel and has visited nearly every state in the U.S., with the exception of Hawaii.
LBOE President Charles “Buddy” August congratulated Patel for being selected as this year’s student liaison and assured Patel that he is “not a potted plant” on the board.
“We want to hear from you; we want your opinion on things; we want you to speak out when you think we’re doing something that the students won’t like,” said August.
During his report on Monday, which was the first LBOE meeting of the school year, newly appointed Superintendent of Schools Dr. Matthew Block applauded the district faculty and students on an impressive first week.
“We are very happy that our schools have come alive again and are bustling with 6,000 students,” he said. “It was a great opening. The energy in all of our schools was very positive…I was able to travel across the district to every building that day and there were already kids reading and writing and doing work and learning and they wasted no time.”
Block extended gratitude to the secretaries, custodians and other maintenance people who worked all summer as well as the teachers and principals who worked to took care of the last-minute details to ensure that all Livingston students could have “beautiful, clean and well-prepared buildings to come into on the first day.”
“We are really thrilled that all of our students got where they needed to go and that the first day went off basically without a hitch,” said Block. “A couple things that we worked on the first day were a few transportation issues, but we appreciate our transportation department and all the work that they do to prepare for the opening of school.
“With 2,000 students going in various directions, there were a couple of things […] on the first day or two that we have to deal with. There were some students on the first day that may have had some confusion with their ‘My School Bus’ accounts, but those things were also quickly rectified. Everybody ate and had lunch, so that’s greats. Considering 6,000 different students with all of their needs, we’re really appreciative of the excellent opening.”
The superintendent also acknowledged the presence of the police department and thanked the officers for prioritizing the first days of school.
“When I arrived in just about every school, the principals and the office staff would tell me, ‘You just missed the Livingston Police Department,’ so I want to really thank them,” he said. “They’ve been very present helping us with the traffic issues that come along with the first couple days of school. They really make our opening of school a priority and they did a great job of being everywhere on opening day.”
Beginning his day at LHS, Block he got a glimpse of the senior parking lot on Madonna Drive, where hundreds of seniors gather in the early hours of the first day every year.
Block noted that he heard what goes on in the parking lot is “legendary,” but what he found instead was “a group of seniors who were just being incredibly positive, having great school spirit…yelling and cheering and enjoying themselves, but in a way that was very, very positive and a nice way to start the year.”
“Miraculously, they all come into the building with a lot of energy and you know you’re in a great school district because, as excited as they are, the minute that bell rings, they go right into class,” said Block.
He also spoke about his first LHS home football game experience on Friday, stating that there was a big crowd on both sides of the field, but that “everybody handled themselves beautifully.” Block said he was “glad to be part of it” despite Livingston’s loss to Randolph.
“I was also able to witness [the seniors] at the football game this past Friday night in the bleachers really cheering on our football team, and while the score didn’t go in our direction, I would say that Friday night was a big win for the Livingston community, for our football team, for the seniors, for the fans, for the marching band,” said Block. “I really got a sense on Friday night of the special place that Livingston is.”
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