BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The TREND Executive Board was honored at the Berkeley Heights Board of Education meeting on Thursday, March 12, for its efforts in the Days of Realization program. The 15 juniors and seniors who are on the executive board of the club were recognized for their commitment to making the program such a success by attending over 20 lunch meetings starting in April 2019 to prepare for the event. 

Superintendent Dr. Melissa Varley began the meeting by telling the Board of Education about the TREND club and what the program was about. She talked about how 21 students were chosen to take part in the simulation to get students to see the dangers of distracted driving. Each student was wheeled out of class while their staged deaths were read on the loudspeaker. During the two days the simulation took place, students were not allowed to talk to anyone outside of the program to mimic the loss of their presence due to death, and they were required to write goodbye letters to their friends and family. 

On the last day of the program, the junior and senior classes attended an assembly about the real consequences of distracted driving. They heard from a mother who lost both her husband and 5 year old daughter because of a driver who was under the influence. Dr. Varley mentioned how heartbreaking it was to hear the speaker during the assembly. “The biggest aspect was how impactful these two days were for our students and also for myself as an administrator,” she said. 

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President of the Board of Education Doug Reinstein was equally thankful for the efforts of the students. Reinstein said, “This is my fifth or sixth time attending the event. Every year, I walk away thinking and hoping that this message will sink in for one, two, twenty-five, fifty, more than one hundred students.” On behalf of the district, he thanked club advisor Bob Segear for his hard work and dedication. 

Segear talked about the investment all his members made to the program and how grateful he was for their commitment. “Out of the ten years I have been running the program, this year was the best one yet.” 

He said he could not have done it without his executive board members. He thanked each of them for taking the opportunity to make a difference in their school and then individually called up each member to award them with a certificate. 

Junior Matt Ronga was proud to be recognized at the meeting and found the certificates a thoughtful gesture. For Ronga, who has been a member of the executive board since sophomore year, the Days of Realization was the largest program he had taken part in with the club. He said, “It was really nice to see all of my hard work in the program be honored. It made me see the importance of what we do as a club.” 

Overall, it was meaningful for the participating seniors and juniors to receive recognition for their hard work in the Days of Realization program. The TREND Executive Board is extremely proud of how the program turned out this year, and they are excited to prepare for upcoming events in the future