Mayor Bob Conley often says Madison is a giving town, and it seems the same is true for its young students.
PJ Giglio’s giving nature can be traced back to two special people: his parents. As student council president at Madison Junior School, this eighth-grader has had a hand in almost every activity, fundraiser and school initiative.
Giglio’s efforts grabbed the attention of Madison’s faculty and administrators, who wanted to commend him for his efforts and service. On May 1 at a dinner ceremony, they did just that, honoring Giglio with the Morris County Superintendent’s Middle School Leadership Award.
After a short speech, Giglio received a personalized plaque and snapped group photos with fellow award winners at the event. “I don’t need recognition for all that I do, but it’s just so cool that there’s an award (that states that),” Giglio said.
The leadership award is presented each year to one graduating student from each middle school in the county “whose actions and deeds represent a model of citizenship and leadership in their respective school community,” according to leadership award program organizers, “a student whose academic, extracurricular and community leadership has had a positive impact on his/her environment and who serves as a role model for others.”
Throughout his three years at Madison Junior School, Giglio has given back again and again. He has increased student participation in spirit days, acted as a sports announcer for basketball games and helped organize and run numerous school events.
Giglio was also “instrumental” in developing a student survey that provided feedback for administrators on how to improve the school cafeteria, according to Madison Junior School Principal Lou Caruso.
Of all the things he has done, Giglio said his favorite community service project is the school’s biannual trips to ECLC in Chatham, which provides “education, careers and lifelong community” for children and adults with special needs. Each year, the student council organizes and attends Valentine’s Day and Halloween dances at this local school for the disabled.
“All that they’ve been through is just insane,” he said of the students at ECLC. “It’s nothing they did, they were just born that way. But if you can make it better for one day, that’s awesome.”
Madison Superintendent Mark Schwarz, who was there with Caruso on May 1 to congratulate the 13-year-old student, said he was “honored” to be in the presence of such a “fine young man.”
“He’s on his way to great things,” Schwarz said.
Giglio said he is excited to enter high school, an experience he believes will help him grow. He looks forward to helping others and continuing to give back to his school and community in the coming years.
“We’re going to miss PJ when he goes,” Caruso said. “He’s a big part of the building.”
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