WEST ORANGE, NJ — Livingston High School (LHS) senior Lindsay Haaker was recently among the 27 Essex County students who were honored during the Essex County School Boards Association’s (ECSBA) annual "Unsung Heroes Student Recognition Program" held at Liberty Middle School in West Orange.

"In my role as president of the ECSBA, we brought the Student Recognition Program ‘Unsung Heroines/Heroes’ event to Essex County three years ago," said Sandra Mordecai, who is also the vice president of the West Orange Board of Education. "Each year, Essex SBA recognizes a senior from each of the county's high schools. These students make outstanding contributions to their schools and communities, but are often overlooked by traditional student recognition guidelines; they have distinguished themselves in unique ways, model good citizenship, possess a quiet strength that inspires others in the spirit of volunteerism."

In explanation of why Haaker was selected as this year's award recipient, LHS assistant principal Bronawyn O’Leary highlighted the senior's accomplishments and service as follows: 

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“Lindsay is quietly confident, respectful, compassionate, insightful, and hardworking. Lindsay’s main interests are in the areas of child development and psychology. She envisions that her potential career paths will include elementary education, psychology, or public policy related to both of those areas. She knows she wants to work with children and families in some capacity.

"Lindsay is an active member of National Honor Society, English Honor Society, and Spanish Honor Society. Lindsay has been a stellar student while also working part-time jobs, playing field hockey, volunteering, and being a part of the costume crew for the school musical.

"During the school year, Lindsay is often found babysitting on a Saturday evening and during the summers since 2015, she has worked as a camp counselor at Willow Lake Day Camp. The parents of the campers adore Lindsay and feel completely comfortable leaving their children in her care. Even more importantly, the children love Lindsay as well.

"Lindsay has been a member of Livingston High School’s field hockey team throughout her years here and she has learned about commitment and time management as a result. She is a reliable team member and a competitive yet respectful athlete.

"During sophomore year, Lindsay decided that she wanted to try working with the costume crew for the school’s musical. She ended up loving it as she enjoyed working with other crew members on design and creation of costumes. Her involvement with this activity often required long nights working at the sewing machine; Lindsay discovered that she has a true passion for clothing design.

"Last year, Lindsay and a friend of hers decided they wanted to start a club called Cards for Kids. They sought out a faculty advisor and were able to get the club up and running in a short amount of time. The group meets around holidays throughout the year and members put together cards and care packages for young children who are in a local hospital for extended stays.

"Finally, Lindsay has been a volunteer with the Friendship Circle since she was in eighth grade. This is an organization that pairs teenagers and children with autism to connect socially, play games and work on projects together. This has been a perfect fit for Lindsay as she demonstrates tremendous compassion for others and has a strong interest in working with young children.”

Along with the recognition at the Unsung Heroes event, each student received a gift card to be used as he or she heads off to college or a career, provided by board members, superintendents and Babb Insurance Company in West Orange.

“I feel very honored and humbled to receive this award," said Haaker. "I am so thankful for all of the opportunities I have had in high school and this award made me appreciate them even more."