Giving Back

In Their Own Words; REF's Randolph Rock Star Winners Speak Out


RANDOLPH, NJ- The Randolph Education Foundation ( REF ) held their sixth annual “Randolph Rock Stars” event on Thursday Nov. 3.  The event, which is hosted in partnership with the Randolph Rotary Club, honors Randolph teachers, administrators, and community members.

REF President Margaret Clark described the honorees as, “Twelve individuals whose contributions make a difference in the lives of our kids, and in our community.”

The “Rock Stars” celebration honors six educators of the year ( One from each of the six schools in town ) and six community members who through their business or volunteer work, have contributed to the Township in a positive way.

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The REF provides funds for non-traditional, innovative ways to teach and learn, and also to support students in need.  Clark further stated, “All of you here in this room, and many others who are not here tonight, are the reason for our success; you have enabled us to invest in these successful programs for our teachers and students.”

Randolph Rotary President Larry Schuffman stated, “Rotary’s commitment to our community is one of our highest priorities, and we are honored to partner with the REF to ensure this annual tradition of celebrating our “Rock Stars” continues.

All twelve honorees were asked “How does it feel to have been selected as a “Randolph Rock Star”?  Here are their answers:

Rob Schneiderman, business person of the year: I am humbled and very proud to have been chosen.  I could not have had a better community to raise my children, and to have my business in.  This is a great town with loyal people, our business has thrived because of them, and I am incredibly grateful.

Alfredo Matos, school board member of the year: The REF does a lot of great work with our schools here in Randolph.  For me it is a great honor to be named as a rock star by the foundation.  But more important than me being a rock star, is the teachers in our district who work hard day in and day out, they are the true rock stars.

Natalie Ernstes, Shongum Elementary School: It was quite a surprise for me when I heard I was selected, as I didn't even know I was nominated. I am very honored and humbled to receive this award, it will be one of those fond memories I will have forever.

Janice Sgalia-Friedland, Ironia Elementary School:  It's truly an honor. The REF has put on a beautiful evening for that really makes us all feel wonderful.  It's nice to know, when you pour your heart and soul into working with the children every day, that somebody recognizes that.

Marissa Caruso, Center Grove Elementary School: Being honored at this event is beyond my wildest dreams. I've been a teacher in Randolph for five years now.  Every year I grow from my students, it's an amazing feeling to know that they all grow with me also. I am lucky and proud to be part of this school district

Kristen Sisco, student volunteer of the year: I was honored that I was considered and chosen for this award.  One of my teachers, and my class adviser for student council nominated me.  It was really nice to be thought of in that way by the staff.  I am happy and thankful for that.

Dave Nicholais, Rotarian of the year: It is an honor to be recognized by my peers with this award.  It's nice to be noticed for my years of service, I have enjoyed it very much, and it has been my privilege to serve the community.

Walter Curioni, Administrator of the year:  This really is an amazing feeling and I am certainly humbled by it. I work with so many great people who are deserving of something like this. I am glad I can play a part in this special community of Randolph

Maureen Frio, Fernbrook Elementary School: I have been teaching in this district for almost 20 years and it is amazing to be honored in this way.  I love how community-based it is here.  For me, tonight is an example of that, as some of my coworkers surprised me by coming, some family members came out, and I even had a student from 15 years ago came to support me tonight.  That is what Randolph is all about.

Martel Roberts, Randolph High School: It really means a lot to have been honored by receiving the award of a Randolph Rockstar.  This is the type of thing that helps to continue to motivate me to work hard to meet the needs of all of my students.

Rio Clemente, Randolph Middle School: It's very special, and it's always nice to be at acknowledged.  I work with a very supportive administration and very good and humble teachers. They all provide me the opportunity to learn from them and be as good as I can be.  I consider myself very fortunate for that.

Evelyn Hammaren, Community volunteer of the year: This was unexpected, and of course was a very pleasant surprise.  I'm grateful to have lived in Randolph. I think it's a wonderful community and I am glad that I have been able to contribute to it.

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