MAPLEWOOD, NJ - On August 22, the Maplewood and South Orange School District Board of Education recognized several students from Columbia High School for their achievements.

Two Columbia High School students, Junior Jordan Avello and recent graduate Orgason Sagaille, won awards in the William Patterson Poetry Contest for World Languages. According to the Board, “more than 700 students entered the competition from across the state.”  Jordan Avello took second place in the Italian Beginner category. Orgason Sagaille received an honorable mention in the ELL Advanced category. 

In addition to the outstanding achievements of the poetry students, students in Columbia High School’s film and animation classes taught by Boris Gavrilovic won several awards.

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At the Trenton Film Festival, in the seventh annual Not Quite Legal Film Festival--a category for 21 year olds and under,  The “Best Production Award” went to Zoe Pulley, Annie Epstein, and Ethan Oberman “for their short 16mm film entry A Sedated Seat.” According to the board, “the CHS film competed against twenty-three other entries created by young filmmakers throughout New Jersey.”

At the Westport Youth Film Festival, CHS students Lydia Watson-Lewis and Sam Skoller were awarded the “Official Selection” for their experimental film Lucid Dreams.

At the New Jersey Young Film and Videomakers Festival A Sedated Seat and Lucid Dreams, as well as an animated film by CHS students William Tutino and Andrew Adams titled Jurassic Park 4 won “Jury Awards.”

At the Kent Place Film Festival the “Audience Award” was presented to Danielle Lee and Joseph Osie for their animated film Orange and Cat.

The Athletics department at CHS boasts five more All-American athletes.  In addition to being recognized by the New Jersey State Legislature as previously reported by The Alternative Press, following their extraordinary accomplishments at the New Balance Nationals competition in North Carolina, CHS Girls Track Team members Olivia Baker, Ambur Ballew, Maya Hinton, Whitney Jackson, and Kiana Winston placed fourth in the Championship 800m Sprint Medley Relay with at time of 1:45:60 and the Championship 1600m Sprint Medley Relay in a time of 4:02:36. The Girls Track Team’s Head Coach, Lisa Morgan, received a “national coaching appointment naming her the Distance Coach for Team USA for the 2011 IAAF World Youth Track and Field Championships, this summer, in Lille, France” according to the Board.

Coach Morgan stated, “Team USA won and had the highest medal count ever.” She went on to say, “the experience was incredible. My goal is in two years at least two of my current athletes can make that team. It is something that any athlete that aspires to go to the Olympics should experience.”  Coach Morgan stated, “being able to represent my country was incredible and to have been selected and appointed to this position was quite an honor.”

The Alternative Press' previous coverage of the CHS Girls Track Team can be found here: