RANDOLPH, NJ- Educators of the year, outstanding community members and the outgoing president of the Randolph Education Foundation (REF) were honored at the 9th annual Randolph “Rock Stars” Celebration on June 13. The event, that also commemorated the REF’s tenth anniversary, was co-hosted by the REF and the Rotary Club of Randolph.
The educators of the year who were honored are:
Christina Grott – Center Grove Elementary School
Viviana Serna – Fernbrook Elementary School
Jill Shirkey – Ironia Elementary School
Jennifer Leach – Shongum Elementary School
Stacy Wess – Randolph Middle School
Michelle Lonie – Randolph High School
The community members who were honored are:
John “JT” Tompkins – Business Person of the Year
Elizabeth Ritter – Community Volunteer of the Year
Andrew Shaw – Rotarian of the Year
Hannah Boyer – Student Volunteer of the Year
“The Randolph Rock Stars are testimony to the wonderful community in which we live,” said Monica O’Meara and Elizabeth Olechowski, event co-chairs. “It is an honor to be able to celebrate and acknowledge the amazing talent and dedication of outstanding educators and leaders in our community.”
A record 220 attendees gathered at the Randolph High School Commons to celebrate the “Rock Stars” Class of 2019. Administrators from each of the schools presented the award to the Randolph Township Educators of the Year. They described the impact that these educators have on their colleagues and their students, and even talked about how they challenge them to be better administrators. Dr. Dennis Copeland, Principal of the Randolph Middle School, summed up the caliber of the educators in the schools when he said - referring to Mrs. Wess, “she is the teacher you want your child to have.”
Margaret Clark, REF President, and Kathy Kremins, President of the Rotary Club of Randolph, presented the awards to the outstanding community members who were honored. The common theme in their remarks was the meaningful ways in which these remarkable individuals give back to the Randolph community.
REF president Margaret Clark highlighted the REF accomplishments in its first decade, including the donation of more than $300,000 to the district in support of innovative grants for teachers and assistance for students in need. She also acknowledged the role that the community has played in the success of the REF and thanked the audience for it. Finally, Clark announced that is stepping down as president and introduced her successor, Paola Heincke, Randolph resident and member of the REF board.
In one of the most emotive moments of the evening, Heincke surprised Clark by presenting her with the Randolph Rock Star Lifetime Achievement Award. The audience leapt to its feet to give Clark a standing ovation. Heincke explained that the REF board instituted the award for Clark given her commitment of more than 10 years to the organization, the students, the teachers, and the Randolph community.
The event was planned and executed by an outstanding committee, chaired by O’Meara and Olechowski, and an incredible group of young volunteers. Among the highlights of the night were a video about the accomplishment of the REF created by Joseph Schilp, Associate Director of the Media Center at the County College of Morris; buffet dinner catered by Sergio & Co.; and live music by Alan LeBoeuf.
In addition, attendees had the opportunity to support the REF’s initiatives by purchasing “Star Cards” to honor teachers or staff members John Herold Jewelers also generously donated a custom diamond and sapphire “Rockstar” necklace for an additional raffle that raised funds for the REF’s efforts. This past year, the REF awarded more than $82,000 to students and teachers in the Randolph Township school district.
To learn more about the REF and how to get involved, visit www.randolpheducationfoundation.org.