The June 12 meeting of Rahway’s City Council proved especially memorable for a number of high school students invited to attend so that they could be honored with mayoral proclamations for their noteworthy accomplishments. The athletes of Rahway High School’s boys’ Winter Track Team, along with members of its “Leading By Example” leadership program, were recognized for having brought pride not only to their school but to their community as well.
The track team, headed by Coach Leon Bunion and assistant coaches Lashelle Bunion, Daniel Johnson, and Gary Mobley, were celebrated for their February 2017 win of ‘Central Jersey Group 2 State Sectional Title’ over 25 other Central Jersey high schools. This marks the seventh win enjoyed by the team in the past ten years. Coach Bunion was especially pleased for his team members, citing, “Often athletes put in so much work and feel the community doesn’t notice. These proclamations prove how involved and committed the city of Rahway is to see our students achieve and flourish.” Senior Nasir Velez definitely agrees that it was “a great compliment to be recognized by the community for our team effort.” On a more personal note, Nasir offers, “As a senior, this reassures me that I have achieved everything I set out to do in high school. I stepped up as an individual to help my team win.” RHS vice principal Patricia Volino-Reinoso reflects poignantly, “I was beaming with pride that the four coaches standing and announcing the names of our athletes were all former Rahway High School Track athletes and graduates.”
The evening’s Council meeting was also a significant and rewarding closing to a special day for the 19 high school student leaders who spent the earlier part of their day either in City Hall or in district schools. After participating in monthly seminars in leadership beginning in January led by such notable community, government, and education leaders as the mayor, the president of the City Council, and the superintendent of Schools, each student was able to ‘shadow’ a different community or school official to receive hands-on experience with the responsibilities and challenges faced by each. For his or her dedication and contribution to the success of this new program, every student was recognized with a mayoral proclamation.
Sophomore Jessmary Lora was particularly moved by the mayor’s citation. “It felt amazing to be acknowledged for being a leader by my community. I didn’t just feel acknowledged, I felt supported and encouraged to keep pushing myself to be as strong and successful a leader as those who recognized me.” Instrumental in the realization of this special leadership program, Vice Principal Volino-Reinoso praises the success of the union of school and community. “The Mayor’s Office issuing proclamations to our young leaders is evidence of the strong relationships being built between the Board of Education and the city. This project was fully supported by many various leaders of the community at large. Coordinating a project on this level is a compliment to the city of Rahway as a whole.”